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Most provincial SAP workers turn down job offers from IBM

These workers will be offered other government positions.


Part of the agreement between the provincial government and IBM for outsourcing the province's SAP program included the stipulation that government workers be offered offered jobs at IBM, at their current rate of pay.

Some 72 provincial SAP workers were offered such jobs, but only 28 have accepted employment at the company. That leaves 44 remaining provincial employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements that protect their government employment. These 44 employees were sent a letter today, outlining their options, as follows:

1. "Placement displacement." This seemingly oxymoronic term means that the employees will be put on a list, and when jobs comes open that fits their skills, they'll be moved to those positions. Finance department spokesperson Michelle Lucas says the turnover of SAP work to IBM is effective March 4, and she expects that most workers will be placed before that date. There is "no chance," she says, that any worker will be idle, sitting at home with no job to go to, waiting to be placed.

2. Lay-off and recall. This means exactly what it says: employees who take this option will be laid off, and when a job becomes available, will be re-hired. Lucas did not know if the employees could collect EI if they take this option.

3. Resigning with severance. Some employees may be nearing retirement, or may be looking for entirely new jobs, and so might take this option. Their severance pay is outlined in the collective agreement, depending on how many years they've worked.

Lucas says that most employees will probably take option #1. She cautions, however, that as employees consider their options, some may decide to take the job offered at IBM after all, so the 44/28 split may change.

Those workers who have seniority and keep their government jobs may eventually "bump" currently employed government workers with less seniority, but "that's a long ways off, and is covered by the collective agreement," says Lucas.

Relatedly, CBC reported last month that for each worker who did not take the job at IBM, the company would be paid $27,000 for training a new employee. If that number is correct, the company will be paid $1,188,000 for the 44 new workers.

However, Lucas would not confirm the $27,000 figure, saying that that information is in the agreement with IBM, which is currently being requested through the Freedom of Information Act process by several media organizations, including by The Coast. Lucas declines to give details until that process plays out, but she says the "transition costs" paid to IBM reflect not just training, but acquisition of new software and other cost that would ordinarily be charged to a company or government setting up a contract with IBM.

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