Unisys backtracks on service staff shift

Staff member lays into company over process. Rob O'Neill reports

Unisys New Zealand has reconsidered plans to shift 20 service staff from its Kapiti centre into Wellington.

Brett Hodgson, managing director of Unisys New Zealand, says the company had considered relocating 20 service desk roles currently based in Kapiti to Wellington where it was easier to recruit for new staff.

“After in-depth consultation with the impacted employees we have decided not to relocate current staff from Kapiti to Wellington," he says.

As new service desk staff are recruited they will be based in Wellington, to gradually move the team from Kapiti, Hodgson says.

"This will ensure minimal impact to our employees and the continuity of service to our clients,” he says.

However, a staff member at the facility tells a different tale.

Sam Campbell, a helpdesk analyst at the Kapiti centre who recently resigned, says it is only after a large number of employees accepted a redundancy offer from Unisys that the company reversed its plan.

Campbell says the relocation process has been going on for four months.

"We were told we'd be made redundant or relocated in mid-October. Last month eight employees were offered redundancy or relocation and seven accepted," he says.

Campbell says today those offers were rescinded, but another three staff have resigned, meaning 10 out of the 20 staff were prepared to walk rather than accept the company's plan.

"They figured they would roll over staff. They didn't realise almost all of them would take redundancy," he says. "They thought they could roll the dice and get people to move, with no incentive, into town."

Campbell says the process has been long and stressful.

The original business driver of the shift is unchanged, Hodgson says, with increased demand from clients abroad and in New Zealand, basing the roles in Wellington provides access to a larger resource pool to recruit from.

Unisys recently expanded its datacentre in Kapiti, doubling capacity of the facility.

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