BT faces strike over back-office outsourcing

Communications Workers Union opposes plan to send paperwork overseas

British Telecommunications could face a strike action if it does not call off plans to outsource some back-office processes to an Indian joint-venture partner, according to reports.

BT recently began a 10-week trial within its BT-SME group that sends the paperwork of 25 sales staff in Sheffield to Mahindra-BT, based in Mumbai, for processing. While BT argues that such outsourcing will allow staff to concentrate on customer satisfaction, the Communications Workers Union told the newspaper The Guardian that it will take action if BT does not halt the trials.

"This union is opposed to BT's plans to outsource work outside the UK and will take all appropriate measures, up to and including strike action, unless the company withdraws from the current trial in India," CWU deputy general secretary Jeannie Drake told the paper.

BT says that if the current trial is successful, more paperwork will be outsourced.

Most large companies are looking to cut costs, with the economy beginning to slow in the US and Europe. British Airways recently laid off 100 IT workers, about one-third of its external IT contractors.

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