British bank contemplating moving jobs to India

Tuesday, 23 September 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: Leading bank Abbey National is among a fresh crop of British businesses planning to relocate several of its activities and jobs to India.

The bank's staff fear hundreds of jobs could be under threat at telephony and processing centres in Bradford, Teesside and the Solent.

One concerned employee told the local media: "We are very worried. We've heard rumours that we may be out of a job by the end of the year."

The bank's India-born chief executive Luqman Arnold admitted in July he was "considering" relocating staff jobs to India in "selective" locations to slash millions of pounds from wage costs.

But employees believe Arnold's ideas were at an advanced stage and want the bank to come clean with its plans.

Abbey last week refused to guarantee jobs at the three centres.

Its spokesperson said: "We have made no announcements to staff about the next phase of our offshore plans. We need to talk to our union first and then tell staff directly before we can comment any further."

The bank added: "We said in July we had taken the decision in principle to relocate and selectively move offshore some telephone and processing operations to India.

"We believe that will complement our investment in British staff and training."

Said Linda Rolph, general secretary of the Abbey National Group Union: "We are opposed to the idea, but we want to be involved in negotiations to get the best deal for our staff. People are uneasy about it all."

About 300 employees work in the Bradford office, which is reported to be the test-bed for Abbey's India idea. Up to 600 people work in the Solent and as many as 500 at Teesside.

If it presses ahead with the relocation, Abbey would follow in the footsteps of insurance giant Prudential, telecom firm BT and investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Source: IANS
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