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Date: 29 March 2011

UNISON considers legal action over transfer of 300 staff on critical ScottishPower contract

UNISON, the union for power industry staff, is considering legal action over the proposed transfer this Friday of 300 vital IT staff who provide support to critical IT systems for ScottishPower.

The union has urged ScottishPower and its owners, Spanish conglomerate Iberdrola, to reconsider its shock announcement terminating their IT support contract with major supplier Accenture with effect from Friday 1st April - just 12 months after signing a 10 year deal – and award the contract to IBM without consultation.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser said:

“Not only does this impact on the 307 workers - but the practicalities of transferring the support of critical national infrastructure from one employer to another in just three days could put major systems at risk, threatening the operations of a major national energy supplier.

“UNISON will be taking all necessary steps to urge decision makers to reconsider the timetable for the transfer. We want to ensure that the continuity of energy supply and the future of critical IT support workers are not subject to risk in a contractual spat between suppliers.”

UNISON represents the majority of the 307 workers employed by Accenture to carry out the IT support contract at East Kilbride in Scotland and at Queensferry in North Wales. UNISON reps at both sites expressed astonishment on being told that Accenture has not been granted any extension by ScottishPower to carry out its legal obligations under TUPE to consult the workforce on the transfer to new supplier IBM.


Notes to editors

1.ScottishPower, which is owned by Spanish company Iberdrola, signed a 10 year contract with Accenture 12 months ago covering the IT support contract. Around 200 work on this contract at East Kilbride in Scotland and around 100 work at Queensferry in North Wales. In November 2010, a proposal to cut large numbers of staff on the Accenture contract was withdrawn after months of negotiations between trade unions, Accenture, ScottishPower and parent company Iberdrola.

Further information

Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409
Malcolm Burns, Information Development officer on 0141 342 2855