Bookham expects to make the savings by cutting overtime payments and headcount. It will source all of its second-level support staff from Indian IT services company Ontrack.
Ontrack, which has a base in the UK, supplies IT staff from the UK and India to Bookham. Bookham has management control over the workers, although they remain employees of Ontrack.
John Barton, vice-president for information systems at Bookham, said, besides cost savings, he has seen changes in the culture of IT support. "The Indian staff work at a phenomenal rate and put in a lot of hours. They work because they like it and they are keen to show their technical prowess. The enthusiasm they have brought has created a great deal of healthy competition in the team," he said.
Because some Indian employees are among those being used, the deal will come under scrutiny from trade unions and IT staff representative bodies.
Peter Skyte, national secretary at trade union Amicus, said, "Given the downturn in the IT sector, I would be surprised if the skills were not available in the UK.
Manik Dey Ontrack's UK representative of Ontrack, said the company goes through a rigorous procedure to ensure that work permit regulations are not contravened.
"We employ people locally and bring in experts from India. Our lawyers go through skills requirements on a case-by-case basis and if the skills are available in the local market we take people from there." he said.