Bradford settlement could affect Swansea deal

An outsourcing deal between Bradford and IBM that lets staff choose their employer could complicate one at Swansea City Council with Capgemini, which was due to be signed by the beginning of July.

An outsourcing deal between Bradford and IBM that lets staff choose their employer could complicate one at Swansea City Council with Capgemini, which was due to be signed by the beginning of July.

The council said it has now delayed signing the deal until September while it reviews the contract specifications.

Last year plans to outsource IT at the Welsh authority provoked a two-month strike by IT staff, which threatened to escalate to other council workers.

Council IT staff had proposed they be seconded to the outsourcing partner, but this was rejected by the council in April this year. Bradford's success in negotiating a flexible deal showed what could be done, said Jeff Baker, Unison regional official for Swansea.

"The attitude of Swansea council leads us to suspect they put our members out to tender in July 2003 and had no intention to do anything other than what they eventually did."

Rory Murphy, director at outsourcing consultancy Morgan Chambers, said many of the problems at Swansea were the responsibility of the council and due to its failure to communicate with employees.

The Bradford deal was likely to affect the outcome of ongoing negotiations at Swansea, Murphy said. "Bradford shows that when employers get it right, outsourcing deals can be thrashed out. It shows the issue is not with outsourcing itself but with the attendant issues.

"People are worried about their jobs: if people work for a public sector body, they trade off greater job security and pension rights against lower pay."

The council said it has been working closely with IT staff on the issue.

Bradford deal >>

Outstanding issues at Swansea

  • Will staff transferred to Capgemini retain council terms and conditions and receive any future pay rises awarded to council staff?
  • Will new Capgemini recruits working on the council contract be entitled to the same terms as former council staff?
  • Will guarantees be made of no compulsory redundancies?

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