IBM to offshore 150 jobs, says union

The Australian Services Union claimed today that IT giant IBM is planning to offshore jobs from a number of its operations centres to China and India.

The Australian Services Union (ASU) claimed today that IT giant IBM is planning to offshore jobs from a number of its operations centres to China and India.

IBM outsources

Sally McManus

(Credit: ZDNet.com.au)

The union had been contacted by a number of employees who informed it of the move, according to the union's branch secretary Sally McManus. The workers had said the changes will affect around 150 jobs from systems operation centres located in Baulkham Hills and Cumberland Forest in Sydney, as well as Clayton in Melbourne. The positions would be moving to offshore centres located in Bangalore, India and Shen zhen, China, McManus said.

McManus said she believed that IBM was preparing to make an announcement to employees about the plan, which had not yet been made at the time of writing. The union has contacted IBM demanding to be consulted before the announcement was made. IBM had yet to respond, according to McManus.

"We're very concerned that IBM haven't followed obligations to its workers and taken steps to mitigate adverse outcomes," McManus said.

ZDNet.com.au contacted IBM on the truth of the allegations. "There have been no announcements in the areas put forward, but IBM continues to rebalance its skills and capabilities to meet the changing needs of our clients," IBM spokesperson Matt Mollett said, but would not comment further on the issue.

The Baulkham Hills centre the union believed to be affected was involved in strike action just over a year ago, which attempted to obtain better conditions. Workers were now in the midst of negotiating a collective agreement with the company, McManus said.

"It's pretty low of [IBM] to make these people redundant after they've been negotiating a collective agreement," she said.

McManus believed IBM has been using lawyers to delay the hearings in order to finalise deals with the offshore companies. "They employed very expensive legal representatives who have been using technicalities to delay the hearings," she said.

ASU does not know how many IBM accounts would be affected if the centres were offshored, but McManus believed that the quality of service would decrease.

"It's proven that local support centres are better," she said. "More misunderstandings can arise when support isn't local, since things can be lost in translation."

IBM provides services for a bevy of companies, including Qantas and Westpac, although the contract with Westpac is coming up for renewal this year.

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