John Lewis Partnership is transferring hundreds of its staff to a third-party technology company leaving many to worry about future job security.
John Lewis has announced a new partnership with Indian tech giant Wipro, to which it will outsource a range of rolls including internal IT supports for its 80,000 staff members for 18 months.
The department stores says outsourcing the management of its IT infrastructure to Wipro means it will “always have access to up-to-date technologies and specialist expertise” and forms a major part of its new strategy.
To support this new strategy, John Lewis is transferring 244 of its non-customer facing staff to Wipro under the ‘Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment regulations (TUPE).
According to the Evening Standard many of these staff, who were informed of their new roles via videocall this morning, are now concerned about their future with the company.
“This has been on the cards for a while but comes at a very uncertain time,” a staff member told the Evening Standard.
“Wipro have promised to keep our jobs for 12 months but what happens after that?”
The staff, based in Bracknell and Berkshire, will be transferred to Wipro in November and retain the same salary, sick pay and service terms of their current contract under TUPE guidelines.
However, staff will no longer have access to store discount and fuel cards, while key benefits for which the retailer is famous including its partner bonus and long-term leave are now under consultation.
Under the terms of the deal, Wipro will adhere to TUPE regulations which preserve an employees’ terms and conditions. Crucially for John Lewis partners, a consultation will now begin on whether these will include its prized bonus or entitlements to long-term leave.
It is understood employees will still be entitled to the same salary, sick pay and continuous service terms but entitlements like a partnership discount and fuel cards won’t be replicated.
John Lewis’ chief information officer Mike Sackman said: “Consumer behaviour is changing and in a post COVID-19 world we need to be more agile, adapting more quickly to change. Wipro will support us in the delivery of that ambition, ensuring that we always have access to up-to-date technologies and specialist expertise.
“Partners transferring to this new supplier – like those who continue to be directly employed by the Partnership – will remain fundamental to the success of our Technology and Change activity and to the future success of our business.”