Sunday, 5 June 2011

British Jobs for Indian Workers – Birmingham Council’s Plan to Cut Costs

Birmingham City Council has become the first in Britain to outsource posts to India, as part of its huge cost-cutting exercise to shed £213 million from its budget over the next four years.

Around 100 jobs will be transferred to the city of Pune in India as part of the plan by the end of the year, and it is believed thousands more will follow.

Indian employees have already been recruited to ‘shadow’ workers in Birmingham, who will effectively train them up as their replacements.

The outsourcing is being conducted by Service Birmingham, a joint venture between Birmingham City Council and Capita, which is transferring back office roles such as IT, human resources, payroll and finance posts.

Service Birmingham is understood to have already brought over managers from an Indian firm to see which council jobs they could take over.

But while lower-paid staff face redundancies, Birmingham Council’s bosses continue to rake in millions.

The Council’s 47 senior officers earn a combined £4.6 million a year.

Chief Executive Stephen Hughes is the Council’s top earner, on £180,000–£184,999 a year, followed by another eleven senior members who earn over £100,000 a year.

They include Peter Hay, Strategic Director (£140,000–£144,999); Elaine Elkington, Strategic Director (£140,000–£144,999); Mirza Ahmad, Director, Corporate Governance (£105,000–£109,999); and Andrew Albon, Director, Equalities and Human Resources (£105,000–£109,999).

Pro-immigration unions Unite and UNISON have reacted with shock that yet more British jobs are to be given to foreign workers.

Peter Allenson, national officer of Unite, said: 'It beggars belief that council workers will be forced to train workers from overseas to do their jobs so Capita and Birmingham Council can lift and shift them abroad.

‘We fear this could be just the tip of the iceberg and other councils could follow suit.

‘Thousands of public sector jobs could go. Once these jobs go they will not come back.’

India is the leading country for outsourcing, with the industry currently worth an estimated £28.7 billion.

Most major UK banks now outsource abroad, many of them to Pune. In 2002, HSBC began by relocating 30 jobs there, which rapidly grew to 2,500.

Other foreign companies to set up facilities in Pune include IBM, Panasonic, Sharp and Symantec.

Birmingham Council already announced in March that it is to axe £213 million from its public services budget. By 2015, it plans to shed 7,116 jobs, a 37 per cent cut to the workforce.

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