Abbey to move 400 call centre jobs to India

Abbey to move 400 call centre jobs to India

Banking giant Abbey is closing its offices in Warrington and Derby and is shifting 400 call centre jobs to India as part of a major overhaul of its UK operations.

Staff at Abbey's Bradford office will also be affected by the shift of jobs overseas.

The bank announced a pilot programme to outsource back office jobs to India in October last year and contracted with US-based MsourcE - which provides transaction processing, accounting and pay roll services in Bangalore and Pune - for the transfer of data input jobs for its protection business.

Abbey says this pilot was completed successfully in December 2003 and MsourcE will also handle the banking enquiries work being transferred under the plans announced today.

Furthermore, Abbey is closing its Scottish Provident offices in Edinburgh but will transfer the 900 jobs there to its site in Glasgow. In a statement, the bank says: "Every effort will be made to redeploy people affected before redundancies are made." Staff affected by the move to Edinburgh will have the option of voluntary redundancy.

The bank says it has reached an agreement with its staff union ANGU concerning the move to Glasgow and that employees will be given at least six months warning of site closures. But Hugh Scullion, regional officer of finance workers union Amicus has condemned the move, saying Abbey is forcing the workers to either move to Glasgow or quit.

"Abbey workers are having a gun put to their heads in pursuit of cost savings," says Scullion.

The site closures are part of a major overhaul at the bank. Abbey currently has more than 40 sites in the UK, excluding branches, and says it wants to consolidate operations in five locations - Bradford, Glasgow, Milton Keynes and Sheffield - and is investing £25m in IT and training over the next three years. Abbey's head office in London and its branch network will be unaffected by the overhaul.

Luqman Arnold, chief executive, Abbey, says: "We recognise that this will not be welcome news to the people affected, but we have also been able to take away uncertainty for others, and give reassurance that we are investing in our key locations."

Separately, Abbey had appointed Adrian Guttridge as director, solutions delivery.

He joins Abbey from Marlborough Stirling where he was managing director of mortgages and banking. Before to this role, he was software director, responsible for 650 staff.

Prior to this Gutteridge was a director in Accenture's insurance practice specialising in outsourcing. He has also held technical roles at Logica, Data Logic and BOC.

At Abbey, Gutteridge will manage 950 IT staff and report to Yasmin Jetha, executive director, IT.

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