John Lewis staff concerned about job security after outsourcing IT roles to India

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.

READ MORE: John Lewis and Waitrose launch free virtual health workshops for members

“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.”

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Ken Christy
    July 1, 2020 11:55 am

    Start thinking about all the other elements that could be outsourced in running A) Department Stores
    and B) Food Retailing. John Lewis In-store restaurants are possibly next in line.

    Interesting to see that the 244 partners directly effected are losing their staff discount and fuel cards.

  • That’s it, Waitrose IT and John Lewis are done, the ‘Partnership’ thing was a big lie, the posh British middle class institution has fallen to the feet of the Indians,our rights have eroded and now soon so shall our jobs.

  • Avatar
    Paul Montagu
    July 3, 2020 9:14 am

    This comes a year after John Lewis maintenance staff were TUPE’d out of the business, losing bonus and long leave entitlements. The thin end of the wedge.

  • Avatar
    Wally Waitrose
    August 22, 2020 6:43 am

    80 out of 109 redundant on transfer to CapGemini. I can see the Partner run sheds handed over to a 3PL next. Feel sorry for the Waitrose IT staff going given the fault lies squarely at the feet of the JL dept store team failings


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