The challenge of TUPE

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Last week Barclays announced that it will not be renewing its BPO contract with Siemens, which ends this year.

Barclays has hinted at a possible extension of the contract for a 12-month period for a smoother transition process, and says it will work closely with Siemens to minimise any potential job losses, of which there is a potential of 500.

Secondary TUPE will be one of the main challenges that both parties have to negotiate during this transition. Basically TUPE is a piece of legislation that deals with what happens to employees after they have been transferred from an end user organisation (like Barclays) to work for a supplier (like Siemens), when the contract comes to an end. Do they go back to work for their old employer? Or do they carry on working with the supplier company that has employed them for the last eight years?

And that’s just the start of it. When employees are TUPE’d from one organisation to another, a whole host of things come in to play – for example, their salary scale and benefits package, their pensions and working hours have to be brought in line with all their new colleagues. So what happens when they go back?

As in the Barclays/ Siemens case, it might be that when an organisation in-sources the operation after the end of an outsourcing, they don’t conduct the operation in the same geographical location where the employees are based. This brings issues, like relocation, into the fray.

Barclays and Siemens are both approaching this issue carefully and seriously and are consulting with all relevant parties. Factors like natural churn and redeployment will all be under consideration, enabling Barclays to make as few compulsory redundancies as possible. The likelihood is the conclusion will be as unsettling for all concerned as it can be.

 
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