Tesco outsources IT to India, but Britain gets 3,500 low-tech jobs

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The Independent Online

Tesco announced the creation of 3,500 shop-floor jobs in the UK and also said that it will transfer 350 more highly skilled positions in IT to India.

The supermarket chain is joining a growing movement of call centre and IT jobs to India and other countries that can offer skilled workers at a fraction of UK pay rates.

While unions here welcomed the jobs being created in this country, they voiced concern about the India move.

Earlier this week, unions protested outside British Telecoms' annual general meeting about its plan to have 2,200 jobs at Indian call centres. However, while BT insists that it is not transferring any UK jobs to Asia, Tesco said it was moving positions to India.

The new IT centre in Bangalore will be staffed by Tesco employees, not contractors. It will mean the loss of positions at some of the company's group management sites at Dundee, Welwyn Garden City and Cardiff.

Sir Bill Connor, General secretary of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, said: "We will need to consult with our members and express any concerns they may have regarding this development."

Tesco said the India move was necessary to ensure its competitiveness and it would try to find alternative jobs for those affected in this country.

"Although 350 roles will transfer to the new service centre from Tesco UK operations over the next 12 months, decisions like this make UK jobs more secure because the Tesco business will be stronger and more able to grow," the supermarket group said

The news yesterday of 3,500 new positions being created in the UK comes on top of the 10,000 jobs announced in April. The jobs will become available over the next 12 months.

Tesco said the expansion of its convenience store format and general good trading had led to the latest jobs. Also included are 50 new positions at its new telecoms venture, which will offer fixed line and mobile services to consumers.

The supermarket giant will add 1,400 positions as part of the conversion of 870 small convenience stores bought from T&S last year. It will create an extra 2,000 jobs at existing stores on the back of buoyant trading.

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