The government has pledged that it will not send any Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) jobs abroad, but it remains unclear if this includes those with subcontractor HP.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has said that up to 200 jobs at HP on the DWP Adams 2 systems contract are to be moved to Bangalore, India by November. Under the contract extension, HP provides the core computer systems for pensions and benefit payments to the DWP's customers, the job vacancies and job searches system, Labour Market Systems and the operational support for a range of applications.
DWP minister Chris Grayling insisted in a recent parliamentary written answer to Labour MP for Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Chi Onwurah: "We will not offshore any DWP jobs."
"I share the hon. Lady's concerns regarding work being done offshore by suppliers. Many of the department's subcontractors began using some offshore staff under the previous government. The department is exploring how future offshoring can be minimised and whether jobs currently offshored could potentially be moved back to the UK in future."
However, Grayling added that discussions were ongoing with HP on the matter, and ministers have said some decisions are still to be reached. In a letter to Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside, prime minister David Cameron wrote: "The existing contract makes provision for the delivery of some services from outside the United Kingdom."
It is expected that a decision will be made shortly.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "The government says they are not offshoring but they are privatising more and more jobs to firms that will transfer work to the cheapest labour markets they can find - without any concern for the people and communities hit in the UK, or the employment rights of workers overseas."