Union warns of strike over £1.5bn outsourcing deal at Royal Mail

Fresh doubts were raised this week over Royal Mail's plans for a £1.5bn IT outsourcing deal after unions threatened industrial...

Fresh doubts were raised this week over Royal Mail's plans for a £1.5bn IT outsourcing deal after unions threatened industrial action unless concerns over pensions and job security were addressed.

The proposed 10-year outsourcing deal between Royal Mail group and a consortium led by CSCwould be one of the largest deals of its kind in the UK.

Announced last year, it would see about 2,000 IT staff transfer to the Prism consortium, which also comprises BT and Xansa. The deal is expected to include professional services, and desktop computer and server maintenance.

However, a number of sticking points have emerged. Union leaders at the Communication Managers Association, which is part of Amicus MSF, have asked Royal Mail management to guarantee equivalent pension rights for staff transferring to the consortium as well as an assurance that there will be no compulsory redundancies during the contract.

"We hope that it will be possible to resolve the outstanding matters [without taking industrial action]," said Peter Skyte, national secretary for Amicus MSF. "To date we have not received adequate assurances on these issues."

A Royal Mail spokesman said it and Prism had agreed "broad comparability" on pensions, and added that the Prism consortium has said there would be no compulsory redundancies within a year of the outsourcing deal.

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