Up to 70 Deeside IT jobs 'under threat'

Hand on computer mouse More than 180 jobs could be lost at two sites in the UK

Up to 70 Flintshire jobs could face the axe at a company which provides IT support services for Scottish Power.

Global outsourcing group Accenture was recently awarded the 10-year $200m contract.

But the firm has announced it is now reviewing operations in a bid to cut costs. The job cuts will be made from Accenture employees at the Scottish Power office in Queensferry.

The professionals union, Prospect, has condemned the move.

The union said Accenture plans to outsource the work to India.

More than 180 posts have been earmarked for closure between two sites in north Wales and East Kilbride.

Prospect negotiator Malcolm Currie said: "Members are angry and disappointed at the decision to outsource this work to India, which came as a surprise to Prospect, given earlier discussions we had held with Scottish Power.

"This is not the consequence of UK skills shortages, but an attempt to save money by getting the work done more cheaply overseas.

"It makes no sense to lose vital skills and a loyal workforce in areas that have already been hard hit by the recession, yet these measures will take around £10m a year out of the UK economy."

'Betrayal'

The decision was also criticised by Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami, who called it a "betrayal" of the workforce.

"The chief executive told me this comes as a result of changes to workloads and contracts and that there needs to be a major down-sizing of the workforce," he said.

"At first they will be looking for volunteers but I think that may be difficult with the numbers they are looking for.

"I consider it a betrayal of the hard working and highly skilled employees that their jobs could be lost to India.

"I would like Accenture to reassess their decision and fight to keep the work in the UK.

"Outsourcing to India may look good on paper but losing skilled jobs for the sake of marginal improvement on vast profits is wrong for the local economy."

Accenture would not confirm that the work was being outsourced but said the group was considering how best to provide the services to Scottish Power.

In a statement the company said: "Accenture is currently engaged in an employee consultation process with trade union and employee representatives to discuss proposed reductions to staff requirements on its outsourced engagement with Scottish Power.

"We have communicated with these employees and the trade unions about planned changes to staffing requirements based on changing business needs since they were transferred to Accenture in April."

Accenture said it expected the jobs cuts to be completed by the end of December 2010.

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