Barclays and unions sign outsourcing pact

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The Independent Online

Barclays yesterday reached an agreement with the banking trade union UNIFI over moving jobs overseas in something of an admission that outsourcing to cheaper countries seems inevitable.

The agreement - the first of its kind in the sector - was designed to "minimise job losses" and applies to all projects that involve offshore outsourcing, Barclays said.

Nigel Fretwell, Barclays Employee Relations Director said: "If globalisation is an inevitability we cannot and should not ignore the responsibilities that are attached. This agreement gives us a solid framework to sensitively manage that change over the next few years, to keep job losses to a minimum and improve staff employability."

The bank has agreed with the union that workers will be given three months' notice of any potential changes as well as three months' salary once they lost their job. Furthermore, Barclays pledged to help workers find different jobs within the organisation and, where that was unsuccessful, to provide funding of up to £2,000 in training for a job outside the company.

Ed Sweeney, UNIFI's General Secretary, said: "All across the service sector we are seeing possible and actual job migration to areas where labour is significantly cheaper. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon, others have made rational strategic decisions. A positive agreement is the only constructive way forward and will set a measure against which other companies looking to outsource from the finance sector will have to be tested."

Barclays has about 59,000 workers in the UK including around 9,500 in call centres. It created 500 jobs in India last year at a cost of 250 UK jobs.