The Birmingham City Council led by the Conservative party has become the first council or local authority in Britain to cut jobs and outsource them to India, sparking protests from employee unions. Reacting to the council’s move, Unite union national officer Peter Allenson said: “This is an outrageous decision and Unite will fight tooth and nail to stop this Tory-led council from exporting valuable jobs overseas. “We fear that this could be just the beginning and other councils could follow suit. Thousands of public sector jobs could go. Once these jobs go they will not come back.”

Reports from Birmingham said that up to 100 posts are to be transferred to India by the end of the year.

The posts to be outsourced to India are with Service Birmingham, a joint venture between Birmingham City Council and the management firm Capita .

A redundancy notice has already been served which will see more than 70 Birmingham-based IT jobs go. The first tranche will see 18 roles move to India. A further 37 will go by the end of the summer. A total of 100 are likely to go by the end of the year. Service Birmingham has confirmed that employees have already been recruited in the Indian city of Pune.

Offshoring jobs to India is common in the IT and financial services sectors, but this is the first time a council is moving posts abroad.

The Local Government Association said it was not aware of any other local authorities who have outsourced any part of their direct workforce overseas.

“It is a matter for local authorities as individual employers to decide in consultation with their workforce,” said Sarah Messenger of the Local Government Employers organisation.

A Service Birmingham spokesman said: “We need to offer the council the best combination of operating models to deliver cost savings and efficiency gains while maintaining our existing service levels”.

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February 2024