British Gas to outsource 2,000 jobs to India
Friday, 15 July , 2005, 23:00 London: Energy group Centrica confirmed plans on Friday to outsource about 2,000 back-office jobs from its British Gas unit to India.
"Centrica confirms that as part of its ongoing transformation programme in British Gas and continued drive for cost efficiencies, it is reviewing the future of its back-office operations," it said in a statement.
"As progress with the transformation programme continues, the company will have a requirement for fewer back-office staff... it is now proposed that these roles be transferred to India.
"In total around 2,000 roles could be lost from the organisation," Centrica said, adding they would not go until after 2005.
The group's statement was published shortly after British Gas said it was considering the transfer of non-customer-facing clerical work to outsourced agencies in Britain and India, which could impact jobs at the company's offices in Manchester, Oldham and Solihull.
That led to fierce criticism from unions, who had forecast 2,000 job cuts.
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National officer of the GMB union Brian Strutton said following the British Gas statement: "This is a devastating blow... British Gas makes big profits from British customers and they should support British jobs or the British people will not support them. We have already told the company not to go ahead with this decision.
"We will join forces with local communities and fight this proposal and, if necessary, I think our members will want to take strike action," he added.
The Unison union said the plans would hit one office in Oldham and two in Manchester, northwest England, and one in Solihull in the country's West Midlands.
"If our members want to be balloted for strike action then that is what we will do," said Unison's head of utilities Steve Bloomfield.
British Gas, the former state-owned monopoly gas supplier, employs about 26,000 staff across Britain. It said it expected to recruit more than 2,500 customer service and sales staff, as well as service engineers this year.
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