Swansea IT staff put their case for secondment

The threat of council-wide industrial action at Swansea Council, triggered by an eight-week strike by 100 IT workers, has been...

The threat of council-wide industrial action at Swansea Council, triggered by an eight-week strike by 100 IT workers, has been lifted.

The IT staff walked out over plans for a £150m IT outsourcing contract. The dispute escalated with the council facing three one-day strikes by 5,000 staff.

Following assurances from the council that there are no plans for redundancies or further outsourcing, the IT workers' union Unison shelved the strikes.

The council will still award the £150m contract for its [email protected] project to either ITNet or Capgemini in December.

Employment arrangements will not be confirmed until February 2005, although it was originally due to be decided at the time the contract was awarded.

Swansea's IT staff launched the strike after claiming they were not allowed to properly put their case for secondment, instead of their employment being transferred to the outsourcer. The union will be given more time to put its case for secondment to the council and the two bidders.

Robert Morgan, director of outsourcing consultancy Morgan Chambers, said "Looking at signing a deal in December but only 'sorting out' the staff issues in February 2005 is courting disaster. The affected IT people deliver support for critical services. Without clarity on their future, how can Swansea expect anything but further issues?

"The council will be forced into signing for much more commercial risk and any contract withdrawal or early termination will carry a heavy price for the taxpayer," he said.

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