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India calling: Westpac, Qantas to outsource jobs

Despite opposition from labour unions, Australian carrier Qantas has said it will go ahead with the plan to move at least 300 IT jobs to India, saying skills needed to upgrade its systems are no longer available in Australia.

Despite opposition from labour unions, Australian carrier Qantas has said it will go ahead with the plan to move at least 300 IT jobs to India, saying skills needed to upgrade its systems are no longer available in Australia.

Two Indian companies have been shortlisted to take over the airline’s IT development, maintenance and support services, Qantas chief information officer John Willett said. “The providers involved in the tender process have the capabilities and depth of expertise that we can no longer source in Australia,” he said.

“If people want Qantas to be competitive and successful, and to continue to employ tens of thousands of Australians as we currently do, we need to be able to have the greatest possible flexibility in all areas of our business — IT no exception,” Willett said.

The company said Tata Consulting Services and Satyam Computer Services, have been short-listed to take over the technology work.

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“Qantas is finalising a review of its information-technology development, maintenance and support services,” the airline said in a statement. The review to be completed within three weeks, involves between 300 and 400 workers providing services such as Internet bookings, frequent-flier programs, financial systems and operational logistics, a media reports said.

Qantas plans to terminate more than 1,500 staff, including management, administration and maintenance workers by December 31. The company’s profit fell 58 per cent in the six months to June 30 from a year earlier on employee retrenchment costs and record jet fuel prices.

Westpac Banking Corp is also considering to send 485 call centre jobs to the sub-continent. Australian Services Union (ASU) has dismissed claims by Qantas that it has to outsource IT work to India because there are not enough qualified people in Australia.

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Close on the heels of Qantas announcing outsourcing of its IT operations, Australia’s St George Bank is also planning to transfer jobs to India. St George is following the lead of Westpac, ANZ, National Australia Bank and Qantas in shifting as many Aussie jobs as it can overseas, media reports said.

The bank has already told 80 workers at its Kogarah collections office that their jobs will be moved to India and more jobs are expected to be axed. Many in the financial services industry are now trying to cut costs by outsourcing back office operations to India.

First published on: 02-10-2006 at 11:35:19 pm
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