Union expresses anger over British Council outsourcing jobs to India

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London, July 29 (ANI): A decision to recruit at least 100 Indian workers, if not more, to fill finance and IT posts at the British Council in New Delhi and other parts of India has infuriated unions, who fear that this could be the blueprint for Whitehall.

Final decisions about which jobs will go to India will be taken in the next few weeks, but they are expected to include 58 finance posts, up to 40 IT posts and 15 posts for a new centre of excellence, The Times reports.

About half the jobs to be cut will be in education and teaching. Some of these areas will have to be contracted out to voluntary groups or local authorities. his is first time that the Civil Service or a quango has directly exported jobs to save costs. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which funds the British Council, is exploring similar options.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents civil servants, said that the British Council decision went against Gordon Brown's stated principle of "British jobs for British people" and could not be justified during a recession.

The council, which promotes British culture and language abroad, said that 500 of its 1,300 British workers would have to go in the next 18 months to save 45 million pounds.

More than a fifth of these posts are to be filled in India and the body plans to bring some of the Indian recruits over to "shadow" finance staff in Manchester.

The proposals coincide with the Treasury's review of quangos, which cost the taxpayer 64 billion pounds a year. The Treasury wants to cut or merge as many as possible.

The PCS is furious that jobs are to go to India.

Its spokesman, Dave Cliff, said: "We think it is an absolute disgrace. The British Council is an educational and cultural organisation to support British culture, but a big part of this organisation is now going to be based abroad."

The union is considering lodging a tribunal application because management failed to consult them over the job changes.

It claims that staffs at the British Council are civil servants since they belong to the Civil Service Pension scheme. (ANI)

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