Union deal with Capgemini timely as HMRC contract faces break-up

The Public and Commercial Services union and Capgemini have agreed on a framework to aid good industrial relations

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and Capgemini have agreed on a framework to aid good industrial relations.

The agreement between the supplier and the union contains commitments to engage positively, grants recognition for bargaining, provides facilities for union representation and introduces a new dispute escalation process.

It is well timed because turmoil is expected when a massive IT services contract between government and Capgemini is broken up.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is planning to end its mega IT outsourcing contract with Capgemini, known as Aspire, in 2017. The PCS has about 800 members at Capgemini and many of them work at HMRC.

Aspire is one of the biggest IT outsourcing deals ever signed by the UK government, costing on average £813m per year over the past 10 years, according to the National Audit Office. By the time the deal ends in June 2017, prime contractor Capgemini will have received £10.4bn of taxpayers’ money.

HMRC will follow Cabinet Office rules which says contracts must remain below a lifetime value of £100m. This will potentially mean signing multiple deals with several suppliers to replace Aspire. Staff might be cut or transferred to other suppliers.

PCS Capgemini rep and national executive member Chris Morrison said the agreement comes at an oppurtune time because the potential break-up of the Aspire contract has serious implications for PCS union members. 

"On this basis we have some shared interests with the company so there is potential to work constructively with them to promote and protect our members' interests," he said.

Mark Serwotka added: "I'm pleased this agreement will allow our reps to work on behalf of members and will create an environment that fosters good industrial relations."

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