Unions have called for an immediate meeting with management after Abbey National announced a pilot programme to outsource back office jobs to Bangalore in India.
The UK bank has begun negotiations with US based MsourcE which offers transaction processing, accounting and pay roll services based in Bangalore and Pune.
Abbey is joining a growing band of UK financial institutions that are looking to cut costs by outsourcing back office jobs to cheaper offshore centres, such as India and South Africa. Trade unions Amicus and Unifi have warned the financial sector that they will hold strikes at banks that fire home-grown staff to move jobs abroad.
The UK bank is the latest to have its outsourcing plans effectively outed by unions. Barclays is considering outsourcing up to 1750 computer software and systems-building jobs to India, while Lloyds TSB has outlined plans to employ 1500 workers in India by the end of next year. Both banks are negotiating with unions in an effort minimise job losses in the UK and to avert potential industrial action.
Research from Deloitte & Touche suggests that two million jobs will be outsourced from Western economies to India by 2008 because of labour cost savings of up to 40%. Amicus belives some 200,000 UK jobs are at risk in call centres, computer support and legal services.