Friday, 9 October 2009

TCS caught in PR fall-out over National Grid deal

(By Anthony Miller – Friday 9th October 2009 5:45pm). GMB, the union representing workers at the UK National Grid, has vowed to step up its fight against the proposed 300 job losses resulting from National Grid’s decision, announced yesterday, to outsource some of its shared services to TCS. The value of the contract was not disclosed. The GMB said “(it) will not accept that this company (i.e. National Grid) which makes multi billions profits as a monopoly supplier has the right to export these jobs from (the) UK at a time of very high unemployment across the land.” Interestingly, the GMB press release does not mention TCS specifically.

Now, we’ve all heard this sort of thing before, but it has typically been associated with the ‘usual suspect’ public sector outsourcing players such as Capita, the late EDS, et al. This time it’s the leading India-based SI that is ‘enjoying’ the PR fall-out that inevitably accompanies a foray into the UK public sector. This is not the first such contract for TCS; earlier this year it won a major deal with the UK Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (see TCS wins Child Maintenance SI contract).

This is of course a very sensitive issue coming at a very sensitive time. TCS, like its peers, is going to have to develop a very thick skin – and a very effective PR machine – if it is to fend off the flak from this and future public sector deals. When you dance with the devil ...

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