Unions fear more bank jobs will go to India

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Trade unions yesterday warned that tens of thousands of UK jobs were at risk through outsourcing to India, as Goldman Sachs confirmed that it was shifting operations to Asia.

The US investment bank said it was outsourcing 250 jobs to India over the next 18 months. "We employ 20,000 people around the world, so the jobs in India are not very significant," a spokesman for Goldman Sachs said. The jobs moving to India will be in Goldman's administrative and IT departments.

The bank said it hoped to make no compulsory redundancies and there would be no reduction to its overall headcount. "We employ 8,000 people in administration and IT and around 800 people leave of their own accord every year," the spokesman continued but he was unable to specify whether any jobs would be lost in London, where one sixth of Goldman's workforce is based.

However, Amicus, which represents workers in the financial services sector, warned that the move by Goldman Sachs would lead to a flood of further outsourcing deals and severe job losses. It believes many UK companies are keen to embark on substantial outsourcing operations, and are only held back by fears that their image will be damaged.

"Britain's major companies are teetering on the brink of outsourcing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Once one major company goes they all will but no one wants to go first. Our experience indicates that where one company goes the rest are sure to follow," Roger Lyons, the joint general secretary of Amicus said.

BT, Prudential, Aviva and Asda have already moved back office functions to India in a drive to cut costs. Companies making the move enjoy a 75 per cent cut in their wage bill.

The union yesterday announced a major survey to measure public attitudes to companies who export jobs out of Britain.