Brit retailer John Lewis to catapult 111 tech bods over to Capgemini weeks after dumping 244 on Wipro

80 among newly TUPE'd workforce may face redundancy, say insiders


UK retailer the John Lewis Partnership continued its "digital transformation" this week by confirming another batch of staff are to be ejected into the arms of outsourcing giant Capgemini.

Having already directed a herd of 244 Partners toward Wipro, it is now the turn of another 111 who will transfer to Capgemini under the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations.

The Register understands that of the 111, 80 former Partners could be made redundant. Fifteen roles will be created to support the relationship with Capgemini.

Other than confirming the 111 non-customer facing Partners heading to Capgemini under TUPE, John Lewis was unable to provide an exact number of potential redundancies in response to a question from The Register.

While the terms and conditions are under review, the spokesperson told us "some changes will be live from November and then fully completed by March 2021."

"Capgemini is proposing a new operating model where 111 non-customer facing Partners are expected to transfer to Capgemini under TUPE. Due to the formal nature of this process... we are unable, at this stage, to provide more exact information about the numbers or types of roles impacted on transfer," a spokesperson for John Lewis told us.

The agreement goes across both the grocery arm, Waitrose, and those working behind the scenes at the John Lewis department stores.

From the perspective of the John Lewis Partnership, Capgemini will be there to dole out IT application services and, perhaps more importantly, support the processes of a business somewhat buffeted by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Capgemini itself, however, insisted it would be the "the strategic application delivery partner" for the retailer.

Cap will also be helping the venerable UK retailer to "continue to delight its customers", although that could be tricky if a swathe of IT staff knowledgeable in the business are indeed for the chop.

John Lewis told us that a "thorough and comprehensive knowledge transfer process" would be undertaken before Capgemini formally takes over the service.

The Register understands that some expectation management might have been in play. While the number due to be slapped with the TUPE stick (if one includes the earlier Wipro announcement) is approaching 360, mutterings that as many as 500 employees could be hit were circulating within the bowels of the partnership earlier this year.

This is, apparently, the last announcement expected from the retailer as far as its IT operations are concerned. Then again, its new motto seems ever more like "never knowingly under-outsourced", so never say never.

Capgemini reported modest growth for the first quarter of 2020 as revenue climbed 3.1 per cent year on year to reach €3.547bn. The UK and Ireland part (making up 12 per cent of the group's revenues) reported a 2.6 per cent decrease at constant exchange rates. The total headcount stood at 219,100, up 2.9 per cent year-on-year, with a 2.4 per cent increase in employees in offshore centres to 124,900. ®


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