More UK IT jobs have beencut after Marks & Spencer (M&S) reducedits in-house IT support team by 76 people through a combination of redundancies and transferring workers to a supplier.
M&S hired Indian offshore service provider Cognizant Technology Solutions as part of a project to consolidate its supplier base for infrastructure and application support.
A total of 20 people were made redundant and a further56 transferred to Cognizant under TUPE regulations. These people were technicians based in the Stockley Park business park office.
The consultation period for these workers ended last month.
"Cognizant is going to provide technical support for M&S staff," said an M&S spokesperson. "This was a project to consolidate our supplier base for infrastructure and application support. We did it to improve IT service quality and make it more efficient for the business."
As a result of employee concerns, the company was asked at its AGM "whether it was satisfied that [it] acted with integrity and moral justification when IT staff at Stockley Park were transferred to Cognizant."
M&S replied,"This is a very serious issue. M&S is very satisfied that it completed this transfer in a rigorous and appropriate way and employees were consulted fully. It must be stressed that M&S is not importing labour at all, but isworking to ensure that it istransferring these skills in the right way to a new supplier. We are satisfied that the TUPE transfer regulations have been applied appropriately. M&S has a very good reputation in relation to these types of TUPE transfer and has acted with real propriety."
Under TUPE, workers automatically transfer to the supplier from the customer under the same pay and conditions. But there are ways for thecustomer and supplier to make redundanciesbefore or after TUPE.This is possible if there is an economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reason for making them redundant.
Mark Lewis, partner and head of outsourcing at law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, said,"This is regularly seen in the context of TUPE."