CSC bows to pressure on compulsory layoffs – Unite

By Chris Middleton
16 May 2012 View Comments
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The Unite union says that IT services company CSC has “bowed to pressure” on its UK redundancy programme and delayed compulsory layoffs until as many at-risk staff as possible can be found jobs elsewhere.

"The company has bowed to pressure – much attributable to Computing's coverage – and delayed any compulsory redundancies pending a proper job matching process,” said Unite national officer Kevin O'Gallagher.

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"It has also now embarked on an undertaking to invite other IT companies to share job vacancies with a view to finding other employment for redundant employees."

CSC announced two tranches of cuts this year, totalling an estimated 1,100 jobs. Computing broke the story of the second round of 640 UK-based cuts in an exclusive on 20 April.

O'Gallagher told Computing he hopes that several hundred jobs might be saved by transferring staff to other companies that require similar skills.

"This was because Unite was able to show where these companies were struggling to find staff of a similar skill set – such as Atos, for example, who may be able to take up to 600 workers to fill their vacancy lists,” claimed O'Gallagher.

Atos has not commented on whether any discussions between CSC, Unite and itself might be taking place.

In January, the French IT services company won a Department of Health desktop support contract from CSC, and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) [TUPE] discussions began between the two companies. However, CSC says that those negotiations are unrelated to the rounds of cuts announced by CSC this year, including those in its Lorenzo deal with the NHS.

CSC has confirmed that there has been a shift away from compulsory layoffs.

"We are still in the early days of the formal 90-day consultation process in relation to the reduction of an anticipated 640 jobs from across our UK business," the company told Computing – referring to the second of the two rounds of cuts.

"Through voluntary redundancies and redeploying people within other parts of our business, we hope to achieve a significant reduction without the need for compulsory redundancies,” said CSC's spokesperson.

This confirms a statement the company made to similar effect last month.

"Where this is not possible, we will provide support to help ensure that anyone leaving the business does so in the best possible position," said CSC. "These job reductions will come from roles based in the UK."

Of the earlier round of layoffs in CSC's NHS business, the company said: “Our consultation process with the unions regarding the job reduction programme on the NHS is now complete, and through voluntary redundancies, attrition and redeploying people within other parts of our business, only a relatively small proportion of employees will potentially leave through compulsory redundancy.”

The company has yet to release figures.

CSC's first announcement of compulsory layoffs prompted a national protest of Unite's CSC members on 19 April, and it was in that fraught atmosphere that the company announced its second wave of cuts.

The company added: “CSC remains fully committed to the UK market. We are confident that these carefully targeted and managed reductions will not impact the overall quality of service we provide to our customers."

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