The National Australia Bank yesterday met union representatives to discuss the future of IT staff who might still be needed at the bank following its decision to suspend work with Indian IT outsourcer Satyam.
This, unfortunately, is what happens when you offshore jobs
FSU spokesperson Leanne Shingles
"The core systems payments and payment support (banking), core systems account services (banking), Siebel (banking) and mainframe systems (MLC) functions were due to go to India next month, and many Financial Sector Union (FSU) members had made plans for their future," the union said in a statement yesterday.
The ongoing negotiations with the bank are taking place as NAB decides its next offshoring move. The decision last week to suspend Satyam has caused uncertainty for the bank's IT staff who had made plans based on NAB's intention to offshore 177 roles by next month. NAB's Indian operations are jointly run by Satyam and Infosys.
The economic downturn combined with NAB's Satyam woes had left the bank's IT staff in "limbo", the FSU said.
FSU spokesperson, Leanne Shingles told ZDNet.com.au that NAB's Satyam problems were predictable. "This, unfortunately, is what happens when you offshore jobs — you lose direct control and we'd be telling employers in the financial sector that they would be better off investing in skills in Australia and maintaining direct control of their operations," she said.
Unionised IT staff at NAB had five requests on the bargaining table — many of which were at odds with the bank's effort to cut technology costs.
Demands by staff to be negotiated over the coming weeks are "across the board pay increases", more relief staff and a "fix to chronic under-staffing", according to the FSU. Staff also said they wanted a greater say over performance targets, "genuine" work-life balance and more job security.
Although NAB suspended future work with Satyam, it has kept the door open by not cancelling contracts made with it between 2007 and 2008. NAB had already sent 264 maintenance and support roles to India in March 2008, with the 171 set to go next month bringing the total to 435.
NAB this week denied rumours that Accenture had been pressuring the bank to award it the work Satyam had been suspended from. NAB has had in place an Indian Bangalore offshore agreement with Accenture for the past three years, covering back office roles within its finance department. The bank did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.