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Outsourcing body calls for multi-sourcing to defeat industrial action.

Last week Fujitsu workers at several government departments voted in favour of industrial action in relation to a pay dispute.

The HMRC, the Office of National Statistics and the DVLA are some of the government departments that could be hit as a ballot of 720 PCS union members at Fujitsu results in a vote to strike. 

This means that all these government departments might struggle to provide services while strikes are on.

But National Outsourcing Association chairman Martyn Hart is suggesting that businesses and public sector organisations should multi-source to overcome potential problems that arise when a supplier’s workers are unhappy through no fault of their own. 

He said: “It seems the current austerity measures may be leading to a period of discontent.  Some organisations deploying outsourcing or shared services may be concerned about industrial action within their suppliers.  One way to avoid interruptions in supply is to utilise multi-sourcing. This strategy involves splitting work between various companies. It helps mitigate the risks involved with interruptions in supply, including potential industrial action.”

“Multi-sourcing allows for more robust continuity of service than relying purely on one supplier. The companies chosen can be large or small – a joint contract between a group of SMEs can be an effective way to spread risk thinly. Diversifying location is also beneficial.”

Should outsourcing be used as a way of quashing a citizen’s right to conduct industrial action?

Here is one of the Fujitsu workers’ grievances:  Fujitsu has met or exceeded performance targets and senior managers are enjoying bonuses in excess of £14,000 in some cases. But Fujitsu it is only offering staff rises of between just 1.5% and 2.5%, well below the rate of inflation. The lowest paid staff earn just £13,500 a year.

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I think the original idea was to outsource public sector IT in order to reduce the 'Civil Servant' grip on power and the threat of industrial action. We have given away our public sector IT to a few 'IT Supermarkets' who have closed down or monopolised all the little SME shops. I Feel a Dilbert cartoon moment coming on involving senior Civil Service IT leadership.

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