Outsourcing TV licensing to India: UK workers to strike | india | Hindustan Times
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Outsourcing TV licensing to India: UK workers to strike

TV licensing workers have backed industrial action following Capita's decision to outsource work to Mumbai.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2007 13:07 IST

Workers of TV Licensing, the body responsible for the collection and enforcement of a television licence in Britain, have voted overwhelmingly to strike against plans to move the work to Mumbai.

The majority of TV Licensing's administration is contracted to Capita Business Services Ltd. Workers in the TV licence headquarters have overwhelmingly backed industrial action following Capita's decision to outsource the work to Mumbai.

In a Communication Workers Union-organised ballot, 94.6 per cent of employees voted 'Yes' to action, according to assistant secretary Andy Furey. The decision to outsource to India with the support of the BBC will result in the loss of hundreds of jobs in Bristol, he warned.

Around 124 employees are expected to take part in the official action in the near future. The CWU is also launching a public campaign to increase awareness of the risk to the public caused by the alleged lack of security of customer bank details in Indian call centres.

Furey said: "CWU condemns the cynical decision by Capita to offshore UK TV licence jobs to India. This move, by a successful blue-chip company, is motivated entirely by greed.

"It will result not only in the loss of quality employment but will also leave customers' personal information and bank details open to abuse."

A licence is compulsory for the millions of television owners in Britain. A majority of the BBC's funding comes from the licence fee, which currently stands at 131.50 pounds every year for a colour television set and 44 pounds for a black and white one.

Capita, a BPO major, is also responsible for collecting the congestion charge from motorists in London, the Criminal Records Bureau and the teachers' pension scheme. The company plans to move television licensing work to Mumbai later this year.

CWU General Secretary Billy Hayes said: "This is the outsourcing of another British institution. The outsourcing of the TV licence administration will create unnecessary security fears for the British public and put hundreds of people in Bristol out of work."

CWU spokesman Kevin Slocombe said: "A lot of blue-chip companies are bringing work back to the UK from India because of concerns about security. But Capita is going in the opposite direction".

In a statement, the BBC said: "Capita's decision to move more back-office operations to India was made in the interest of providing the highest possible standards of service and value for money for licence fee payers."

A Capita spokesperson said: "All of our customer details are and will continue to be held in secure IT systems in the UK. There will be no immediate job losses."