CSC and Amicus agree offshoringdeal
In August 2005, the UK trade union Amicus announced an agreement with the information technology services company CSC on consultation procedures over the implementation of the company’s 'world sourcing' strategy and on employment security in the event of work relocation.
In August 2005, the UK trade union Amicus released details of an agreement it has reached with the US-owned information technology services group Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) setting out a framework for handling the transfer of work abroad where this affects the company’s 10,000 UK employees. The agreement forms an appendix to a broader 'partnership agreement' between the union and CSC.
The agreement notes that CSC is operating in a market which places a premium on having 'global capability'. In order for CSC to compete effectively, 'it may be necessary to resource work across a number of CSC locations in other countries'. Under the terms of the agreement, Amicus recognises that CSC has adopted a 'world sourcing' strategy 'in order to increase its service and cost efficiencies and to remain competitive in the market place'. For its part, CSC 'recognises that Amicus is seeking to safeguard the job security and maintain the skills and careers of its members and the workforce in general'.
A key aim of the agreement is to promote consultation over the implications for CSC’s UK workforce of any 'offshoring', i.e. the relocation of work or service-provision abroad (UK0405103F). CSC states it will consult with Amicus on its strategy proposals in relation to world sourcing 'in order to allow meaningful consultation to take place as early as possible in accordance with the CSC/Amicus consultation framework . . . before any decisions are made or communicated to employees'.
In terms of employment security, the agreement commits CSC to the principle of avoiding compulsory redundancy as a result of its world sourcing activity and the company will work with Amicus to avoid this. Where it is necessary to redeploy people as a result of work relocation, the stated aim is to maintain the careers as well as the terms and conditions of the employees affected. It is also provided that 'a share of continuing financial savings will be invested in skill development of the UK workforce towards the achievement of a higher place in the skill chain'.
Under the heading of 'ethical trading', the agreement states that, where CSC decides to move work to an 'offshore third-party supplier', CSC will encourage 'high standards of terms and conditions of employment', and that new contracts will include a clause committing the supplier to follow CSC’s own code of ethics and internationally recognised guidelines from the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations covering issues such as freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, wages and working conditions, child labour and non-discrimination.
According to Amicus national officer Peter Skyte, the deal represents 'a landmark agreement on offshoring, encompassing the respective interests of a major global company and its workforce in the UK. It aims to maintain competitiveness of the company and protect the future of the workforce by the continuation of investment in jobs, skills and careers of UK based employees, and is the first such agreement with an American company and in the IT sector anywhere in the world.'
A statement from the company said: 'CSC is continually investing to ensure that the skills of our staff keep pace with the change in demand in our global workplace. This allows us to up-skill staff and to give them career development. Over the past three years CSC has developed a strategic global 'world sourcing' programme, designed to optimise technical expertise to achieve savings.'
The deal was welcomed by Alan Johnson, the UK secretary of state for trade and industry, who commented that: 'Globalisation is here to stay - the crucial thing is to ensure that it works for the many and not the few. And Amicus is showing the way ahead, working in partnership with CSC to ensure that workers are fully consulted about off-shoring before it happens and that a share of any savings made are re-invested in skills for the benefit of the workforce.'
A Trades Union Congress working group on offshoring, established in 2004, has been monitoring union agreements on offshoring and is in the process of producing best practice guidance on the issue.
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