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Contractor UK: Shell to offshore over 3,000 IT jobs

Jan 11, 2008

Oil giant Shell plans to offshore more than 3,000 IT jobs worldwide following a financial review of its business.

Redundancy packages of £50,000 are being offered to the company’s IT staff, dwarfing the £200,000 packages it has pledged to its offshore oil rig workers.

Amicus is threatening to take legal action due to IT workers’ lower value redundancy packages, which are a quarter of the pay settlement Shell will give to its oil rig staff.

Experts fear the two-tier redundancy packages could undermine IT’s role within the company, which includes six ICT divisions dedicated to its specific business areas.

Martyn Hart, chairman of the National Outsourcing Association, said it is a “sign of the times” that unions object to the poor deal for IT members, rather than the offshoring of their jobs.

“What is of interest here is how Shell seems to treat its IT workers, in comparison to their oil rig workers,” he said. “Shaving 75 percent off their redundancy package looks like a fiscal kick in the teeth.”

Shell, which failed to return an immediate request for comment, is yet to offshore all of its IT personnel meaning some will remain in the UK, despite fears that up to 3,600 IT jobs could go.

But coupled with comparatively low redundancy pay, the effect on retained IT staff will be obvious.

“How will the remaining staff be feeling?” Mr Hart asked yesterday. “Not only will they feel undervalued, they could also feel a sense of uncertainty towards their future with Shell. Morale will be low.”

The first whispers of the outsourcing move came in December, when an internal e-mail from Shell’s vice president of IT infrastructure, Goh Swee Chen, was apparently leaked.

It reportedly stated that three partners had been selected for the outsourcing deal – EDS, AT&T and T-systems – with contracts expected to be signed in March 2008.

Although Shell hasn’t confirmed the contents of the e-mail, which warned staff of “uncertainty” while the new contracts are finalised, it did confirm the outsourcing will go ahead. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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