Tesco tells unions Indian IT centre will not lead to widespread job losses for UK staff

Tesco has moved to allay fears that the development of an IT support centre in India would lead to widespread job losses in the...

Tesco has moved to allay fears that the development of an IT support centre in India would lead to widespread job losses in the UK.

The announcement came a day after protests by BT staff over the telco's decision to transfer 2,200 call centre jobs to India, and heightened concerns that cheaper labour costs in the Indian sub-continent could undermine the UK's IT skills base in the long term.

However, the supermarket chain said over the next year it will, where possible, give those UK IT staff affected the option of taking on a new role elsewhere in the business. The company is in the process of consulting staff on the issue.

"Wherever possible, we will try to find jobs that are most relevant to them, although staff will have to be flexible regarding role and location," said a Tesco spokesman.

Although the retailer claimed that the creation of the Indian IT centre would make UK jobs more secure by helping to support the growth of its business, retail union Usdaw said it is "extremely concerned" about the move.

Usdaw, which is due to meet with Tesco management this week, said its members have expressed fears that the shift to India will be the "trickle before the flood", rather than a one-off move.

However, Tesco, which separately announced the creation of 3,500 new jobs last week, said the UK would always be the focus of its business.

"We have not traditionally done a lot of outsourcing as we prefer to do work in-house," said the Tesco spokesman. "We will always have a strong presence in the UK - we now employ about 220,000 people in this country."

Analysts say Tesco's move could set a precedent >>

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