Westpac denies reports of jobs going to India

May 1st, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, May 1 (IANS) One of Australia’s leading banks, Westpac Banking Corporation Ltd., Thursday denied media reports that it is planning to move 3,000 back-office jobs to India though it does want to increase “offshoring”. A report in the Fairfax newspapers, the publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, among others, said Westpac is expected to send up to 3,000 back-room staff to overseas locations such as India over the next three years in an accelerated plan to cut costs.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly told analysts Thursday: “I haven’t seen any piece of paper with that kind of number… Will there be an increase in offshoring? Absolutely.”

The news of jobs going to India came as the bank announced an increase in its half year profits by 10 percent to $1.83 billion (US$ 1.71 billion).

In recent years, Australia’s leading banks including ANZ, National Australia Bank and St George Bank have outsourced jobs to India, despite much resentment at home about locals losing employment.

“Back-office workers are the backbone of Australia’s major banks, performing hundreds of important tasks such as handling customers’ sensitive banking information. Swiping out more than 3,000 of these jobs will mean that only the facade of an Australian bank would be left behind,” Finance Sector Union Secretary Leon Carter said in a statement.

Australian banks have been keen to outsource functions because of cheaper costs and greater technological efficiencies gained abroad.

Services being outsourced include information technology services, transaction work, and unsecured lending.

Westpac’s large operations centre in suburban Concord was the centre of a successful campaign 18 months ago by unions to prevent 300 administration jobs going to India.

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