AT least 500 highly skilled IT jobs are at risk in the Capital as part of a major bank’s restructuring plans, a union claims.
Members of the Lloyds Trade Union blame “cost-cutting” for a move by Lloyds Banking Group to outsource specialist programmer and data analyst roles.
The news is the latest blow to Edinburgh’s finance sector after the Standard Life merger, RBS branch closures and threats to the Green Investment bank.
“All of a sudden Edinburgh’s position as the second financial centre in a post-Brexit isolated UK looks very fragile,” said city Green economy spokesman Gavin Corbett.
“At the very least Lloyds TSB owe it to their staff to make clear what the impact of their future decisions might be and make a commitment to the highly trained, highly skilled staff they have right on their doorstep.”
The LTU union reports that the bank is poised to outsource nearly 2000 UK jobs to IT giant IBM in a seven-year, £1.3 billion deal.
At least 500 of the “highly paid” positions will be in Edinburgh with the remainder in Copley, West Yorkshire, and a handful in Peterborough and London, say the LTU.
“Staff who are forced to move to IBM will be retained for a minimum of one year post the transition and will then be made redundant and their jobs taken by staff based offshore,” said LTU general secretary Mark Brown.
The LTU pledged to oppose the “cynical” plans which were unveiled by Lloyds chief information officer Morteza Mahjour.
Mr Brown said: “This has nothing to do with Brexit, nothing to do with Indyref2, this is old-fashioned cost-cutting. Staff are being set up by the bank and IBM to save millions of pounds in staff costs. LTU will not accept circumstances where staff are made redundant merely because they can be replaced by staff paid a fraction of their salary on the other side of the world.”
Mr Brown said the most likely destination for the jobs would be India or the Philippines. “Quite simply, such an approach is unethical,” he added. The plans are aimed at saving the bank £759 million.
LTU said the move, codenamed Project Aurora, was due to be announced in January but was put off until negotiations were finalised with IBM.
Mr Brown claimed there were concerns within the bank about handing over customer account details for offshore management.
“One of the reasons the deal is being delayed is the mounting internal criticism of the bank’s proposals from senior managers and head of functions in IT,” he said. “Even the bank admits that the migration could ‘weaken existing security controls and adversely affect the confidentiality and integrity of bank data’”.
A Lloyds Banking Group spokeswoman said: “As we have said to our colleagues, we are considering options to extend use of Cloud technology in pursuit of the group’s aim to be the best bank for customers. We do not comment on speculation, and if any decisions are made they will be communicated to our colleagues first.”