Ousted IT blogger speaks out

With stories all over the IT press about UK IT workers losing their jobs to offshore staff we thought it would be good to hear the story from the horse’s as it were.

An IT worker who lost his job at a major financial services business has agreed to do a series of blogs for us describing life during and after an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) changed his life.

From earning over £40,000 a year he gets just over £64 a week.  And his skills are idle.

Here is the first blog in a series:

1 – Situation vacant

By IT Jobseeker

Like Karl Flinders I was glad to see the recent report in The Times highlighting the loophole in the inter-company transfer system that allows Indian IT workers into the UK, at the expense of their local counterparts. I speak from the heart, as well as the wallet: I am just one of many who have lost their jobs as a result of this abuse. 
 
 I was happily working for a well-known UK insurance company until they outsourced their IT to a well-known Indian BPO provider. Usual story.
 
Adding insult to injury, my former colleagues and I were required to train our Indian replacements before being made redundant. I remember one as saying that it was ‘rather like being forced to dig your own grave, kneel in front of it, then take a bullet in the back of the head…’.  A tad over dramatic perhaps, but apt nonetheless.
 
According to The Times report, Phil Woolas, the Immigration Minister, defended the ICT system. He is quoted as saying that the system ‘made Britain an attractive place in which to do business’.  This may be true for  Tata and Infosys, but not so for UK Plc. Six months ago I was paying tax and National Insurance on my £40k + salary; now I receive £64.30 a week Jobseeker’s allowance. Do the sums, Phil.  

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I too had the same thing happen to me. They were quite up front about it as well, the manager taking us over told us we had a year to find ourselves another job.

He wasn't wrong! Phil Woolas has hid head in the sand if he thinks this is good for the UK.

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I totally understand IT Jobseeker's predicament.

My story is near identical to IT Jobseeker (we probably sat opposite each other).

The company that took over (let's call them "ZAZA") claimed they were not replacing any UK workers, but are simply obligated to use their own operating model (which is roughly translated as off-shoring).

It is hurting the UK economy and sadly this will feed the far-right organizations, even though the overseas staff are little more than slaves and serfs and were never the decision makers in shedding all these British jobs.

It doesn't work on an operational level, but may do on a financial spreadsheet.

The nature of these contracts usually mean that the off-shoring company will cut corners in any way they see fit to get as much cash as possible.

Talk of quality is just that, talk.

Still, spare a thought for the poor UK workers who are working for companies like "ZAZA", who are still digging their own graves - only the soil is getting heavier because they are taking on more work due "cuts"!

When this recession ends, it will be because there's void, not because there's any geniune economic growth.

New Labour's Immigration Ministry has been a disaster but rest assured, these off-shoring decisions are made in a boardroom whose occupants are overwhelmingly Rich Tories, so don't expect any changes any time soon.

Now, I'd better get ready for my job club meeting tomorrow.

Who knows, I might finally pluck up the courage to wear that Hooded Top I got for Xmas!

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There is something deeply flawed in our system that allows companies to bring in thousands of icts into the uk while they are making UK workers redundant.

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Maybe the blogger (and others affected by the issue) could look at:

http://www.ictabuse.org.uk/cms/index.php

and send information to policy@pcg.org.uk.

Or even attend the ICT Abuse workshop on 29th January.

http://pcg.org.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6101:pcg-to-host-workshop-on-ict-abuse&catid=745:pcg-news&Itemid=1053

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Now the blog is up and running all those affected can tell their stories.

How is your job hunting going?

Karl Flinders

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ArgieBee

Thanks for the information and the links. I want the blog to be a place for people to tell their stories and share information.

Karl Flinders

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Thanks for your comments.

Yes outsourcing should never be to cut costs. For a start the offshore workers should be paid the same as onshore workers but are clearly not.

I have spoken to many IT managers that tell me standards drop if a deal is about cost cutting.

Karl Flinders

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Thanks

Yes outsourcing should never be about cost cutting. But usually is.

If standards fall the argument for offshoring falls apart. If the services were better and workers were paid the same then it would not be half as controversial to offshore.

Also they should pay the offshore workers the same as onshore workers.

karl

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This is an interesting perspective from the USA:

Furor in Britain over Tier-2 Visa

http://blog.vdare.com/archives/2010/01/20/furor-in-britain-over-tier-2-visa/

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Thank for that. Please share information here.

Karl Flinders

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The Governments position is quite frankly ludicrous, the MAC's attitude is this is "making British businesses more competative" and it doesn't just apply to IT, last year I was in Germany watching the BBC international service and they ran a piece on the British Embassy in Vietnam (of all places) organising trips for British businessmen to visit Vietnamese factories to see how they could make their businesses more cost efficient!

I guess the increased unemployment benefits and lawlessness due to an entire countries population being betrayed don't enter into the calculations!

[paragraph removed to comply with editorial policy]

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Thanks BobF

Sorry had to take a bit out of that but your thoughts are much appreciated.

Karl Flinders

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The government had me locked up in a mental ward for five months for complaining that this was happening. Labour Party supporting doctors under instruction from the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre (FTAC) said that my belief that the things described in this blog were delusions.

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A comment I saw in a newspaper response to a similar article to this gave me some thought the other day.

Basically the poster said that governments often blame globalisation for this kind of thing, however globalisation only works because of the agreements, laws and regulations governing international trade that they sign up to (basically anything agreed at meetings prefaced by a G followed by a number).

Germany has for many years been the World's biggest exporter (by value), largely as they have retained their industrial, engineering and science skills and delivered better quality than the far eastern outfits.

Most European governments put their country first before the desires of multinationals in stark contrast to the UK and USA.

It's time whichever Government ends up in control of the UK looks to the economic well being of the country as a whole, rather than trying to be popular with global businesses and other countries.

Once you have a thriving local economy based on private enterprise you can then afford luxuries like a large public service and world wide military intervention, not before.

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Thanks BobF

If there was real globalisation everything would be equal and therefore it would not be cheaper to offshore. Instead having regions with different political, economic and social environments makes it possible.

There must be a better way.

If workers in offshore destinations were paid as much as their UK counterparts it would be fairer for all. UK workers could compete on price and offshore workers would get fair pay, which they would spend in their home country, which would increase demand for products and services, which would increase employment and wage levels. There would be demand for the offshore workers within their own countries.

I know this is wishful thinking.

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I wonder what would happen if all the workers in a company affected by this situation were to group together and act together:

"Since you intend to make us redundant at the end of this training period, we demand the following:

i. Redundancy now, with a redundancy payment of one months salary for every commenced year, with a minimum of three months salary.

ii. Rehire us immediately on a contract basis for a minimum period of 6 months, to both prepare training materials and carry out the training. The rate will be £100 per hour.

Without this arrangement, I cannot see how we can perform our existing duties AND train the new people, and so we shall just continue our existing duties."

Wishful thinking? At least you'd have a lump sum to carry you through the 6-12 months of finding a new job.

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Tell your MP we have plenty of IT skills already here.

Tell Dr Vince Cable.

http://www.writetothem.com/

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