The concern follows a company decision to transfer some 800 staff out of a technical centre which served all the company’s operations into the company’s client businesses.
Some 500 staff are to remain in the technical centre. However, there are fears that the dispersals are being made to avoid mass redundancies at the centre and will merely be followed by a series of staggered redundancies in the client businesses.
According to an inside source, the decision to cut staffing at the centre is part of a drive to cut costs at the behest of ICL’s parent company Fujitsu. The establishment of the technical centre two years ago is said to have been part of former chief executive Keith Todd’s vision of turning ICL into an e-business.
The aim of the technical centre was to provide resources for external and internal projects, with specific roles at customer sites being cut back.
However, ICL is said to have failed to win as much business as it had forecast and many staff at the technical centre have been left on the bench awaiting assignments.
The source claims that at the same time as some staff were left on the bench, the company was employing hundreds of contractors at a significantly higher cost. The number of contractors has now been cut back.
A spokesperson for ICL said, The technical center was set up two years ago but it was not cost effective and people did not feel part of the company. The staff are now being moved to businesses spread around the country.
ICL rejected the claims that the staff dispersals would be followed by a series of staggered redundancies.
A spokesperson said, These people are being moved out into the businesses because that is where the work is. They are being taken onto head counts and cannot then just be dismissed willy nilly.
He said staff may be made redundant at the end of a six month contract in any business but that does not prove the existence of a preordained plan.
The staff transfers were announced in two phases, even though some employees were told after the first phase that this was the end of the transfers.