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

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 …

  1. Maximum Delfango
    Unhappy

    Poor sods...

    First COVID then this.

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Poor sods...

      “Never Knowingly Under-fucked”.

      I see Sharon White has continued her disastrous record at Ofcom with a seamless transition to JLP who must have been smoking some strong skunk to want to hire a complete non-retailer to run things.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Poor sods...

      "Capgemini itself, however, insisted it would be "the strategic application delivery partner" for the retailer."

      "Click here" to take you through the John Lewis Partner online redundancy process...

      It looks like Capgemini will be providing the new way to 'check out' in more ways than one.

  2. TheProf Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Howdy Partner

    I was under the impression that John Lewis had 'partners' not 'employees'. As in 'we all own the company and have a say in the running and the responsibility and share of the profits.'

    I guess that all goes out the window when the takings are down.

    1. Halfmad Silver badge

      Re: Howdy Partner

      One of my friends use to do electrical maintenance for John Lewis, few years ago they got punted to a private company, "same contract".

      Within 6 months most of his team had left due to shift changes, ever every 2 people who quit 1 would be hired. Before the turn of the year his patch was 5x larger than it was previously and he ended up off sick with stress.

      This is a guy who prided himself on never being off work ill in 20+ years..

    2. Chromanin
      FAIL

      Re: Howdy Partner

      Worked in JL 4 years ago. Let alone that there were already 2 companies, the old-timers, in middle-to-high managment, productivity close to zero and full privileges, and the newcomers, doing most of the actual heavy-lifting, and to all extend being marginally affected by the benefits scheme,(pension scheme changed at some point and was at best on-line with the market, versus the old scheme that was veeery generous), the so call "partnership" is a buzzword only used when bad news were presented...Missing the people, not the job.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Howdy Partner

      From what I've read then JL is taking the line that they are a shop selling to the public therefore the only people who need to be JL staff and have the JL "ethos" are the direct selling shop staff ... everyone else is just supplying a service to enable their shop staff to sell to the public and there's no reason why they should be employed directly by JL.

      1. Gaius

        Re: Howdy Partner

        ... and that’s why the quality of their own-brand products has taken a nosedive.

    4. idiottaxpayerhere previously ishtiaq/theghostdeejay

      Re: Howdy Partner

      @TheProf

      You have not got clue have you? You can not run a business and act on your employees whim's. Don't believe me? Try it then

      Cheers.. Ishy

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Howdy Partner

        He's just quoting John Lewis.

      2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Howdy Partner

        @idiottaxpayer

        There is a major difference between acting on employees whims and positively using the proven link between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction.

        But dont let facts get in the way of your crusade against the communism of workers rights

  3. MiguelC Silver badge

    "(...)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."

    Funny how the part about "protection of employment" doesn't seem to mean what it says...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Funny how the part about "protection of employment" doesn't seem to mean what it says..."

      Redundancy isn't always a bad thing

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Redundancy isn't always a bad thing"

        I know someone who worked in part of JLP that was outsourced in recent years. All the senior management were told that as the JL job grades didn't match the new employers job grades at the top levels their posts would all be made redundant on day 1 of the transfer and they would be invite to apply for (a reduced number of) new jobs in the new company's grading structure .... or take redundancy. Since the redundancy was, I gather, done on the basis of JL historic practice (possibly this was a requirement of TUPE) then it was quite generous and the senior management most of whom had been at JL all their working lives were able to take the redundancy route with a couple of years salary as compensation - and in some cases knowing that in not long after that they'd be able to claim their JL pension which would restore all their partnership privileges and discounts etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "and in some cases knowing that in not long after that they'd be able to claim their JL pension which would restore all their partnership privileges and discounts etc."

          Partners going to WiPro won't be able restore their 'partnership privileges and discounts etc.'

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Redundancy isn't always a bad thing

        But it probably is in a global pandemic where everyone's cutting back.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "But it probably is in a global pandemic where everyone's cutting back."

          very true, But if you've accrued many years service, suddenly find you've been TUPE'd and then the other firm messes you around so you leave, suddenly you've missed out on a potential redundancy payment of x weeks per year of service. Thats enough for some to relocate for a new job or setup a new business etc.

          At the moment, for some, redundancy is far better than retaining a job in a company they never applied to work for doing a role with & for people they had no intention of being involved with.

          At some point those TUPE'd will be invited to join other accounts & sign new contracts forfeiting their TUPE'd t's&c's, or make changes to their daily routines, wholly compliant with their contracts, but potentially awkward enough for people to seek and pursue opportunities elsewhere & giving up their redundancy entitlements.

      3. Charles Calthrop

        Voluntary redundancy, no

        Forced reduncancy is not necessarily a bad thing but you only figure that out afterards.

        I've been made redundant twice and the second time was the most stressful time of my life, by an absolute country mile. I got a better job 50% more salary etc but if I could I would still go back to that job and not go through it. It's mentally scarred me for life.

      4. nematoad Silver badge
        Facepalm

        "Redundancy isn't always a bad thing"

        Well it was for me and from what I can gather it was for the place I was working at. I got pushed out of job that I loved with people I enjoyed working with in a country where I was planning on settling down and applying for citizenship.

        As for the workplace it apparently went down hill in a very short time and in the end thay had to recruit new sysadmins. So disruption for them and the cost of hiring new hands.

        So a lose/lose situation all round and for what? Presumably to keep the bloody accountants happy.

        Penny wise pound foolish and this was a top tier company who you probably have had dealings with.

        Oh, and it was compulsory and we left with bad grace and feelings.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing protects your job, only your rights

      There is no protection from being made redundant anywhere in the world AFAIK (except perhaps communism) - this would be extraordinarily detrimental and damaging to job creation. every employer would be scared sick to hire someone. It cannot conceptually exist - every job cannot last forever.

      Employment terms are what is protected under TUPE. TUPE is designed to protect the employee's contract terms, so that employers don't create new legal entities each time they want to arbritarily change something and say that the contract with the current company ceases to apply as the company does not exist.

      JLP can offer what are called compromise agreement or voluntary agreements, where the redundancy payment is typically higher, i.e. enough for them to sign the dotted line.

      Also the full version of TUPE is "Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014"

      1. Potemkine!

        Re: Nothing protects your job, only your rights

        this would be extraordinarily detrimental and damaging to job creation. every employer would be scared sick to hire someone

        You pretend that protecting workers from redundancy would impact employment. I think this a mantra, not a fact. For instance, see the example of Montana in the US, where there are laws more restrictive on redundancy than in the other states. Unemployment rate in Montana is among the lowest in the US. See the study of Ewing, North and Taylor, The employment effects of a "good cause" discharge standard in Montana

        It cannot conceptually exist - every job cannot last forever

        When you're a public servant in France, it's for life. You can't be fired except for a very severe fault.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nothing protects your job, only your rights

          No @Potemkine!

          your answer is for a completely different point - *stronger* redundancy protection is not the same as not having *any* redundancy provisions. The original poster implied there TUPE laws ought to prevent redundancy completely (i.e protect your job no matter the non-individual circumstances). Not being to fire *ever* due to external circumstances, because there are laws called TUPE, is going to very dangerous to employment creation. The employer has to absorb any and all outcomes possible - they'd simple have to shut the company down to be able to cope - you'd be in a scenario of 100% "redundancy" as soon as a change is needed.

          This is not the same as your argument that it can be better to have strong laws.

          I;d argue by having the law, Montana gave confidence and a clear legally supported path for employers to secure redundancies without worrying about employee lawsuits.

          The point remains that the legal framework must support fair redundacy processes (fair to *BOTH* the employer and employee)

          JLP is f**cked here, I don't get the sentiment here that jobs should *always* be protected.

          >> When you're a public servant in France, it's for life.

          I don;t think this is secured by law, just by what happens in practice. And I mean real jobs (i.e. where there is a tracking realtionship between the work you do and the renumeration). In any case the French tax payer is being exploited here, so is not a realistic or interesting answer anymore than a dictators or drug lord some where in the world who are "employed" "for life".

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Squrimy words, look at the detail

    interesting that they are chopping and slicing between 2 outsourcers. Also interesting that 80 of those off to Cap are possibly offered redundancy while that isn't mentioned for Western India Palm Refined Oil.

    Do they really think that they will be able to manage 2 outsourcers that will just blame each other for issues and up costs?

    Cap appear to be offering the best deal to "Partners" here, as for the lifers redundancy could be a game changer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Squrimy words, look at the detail

      Could be different parts of the "IT business" transferred to each supplier. Wipro doing the mainframe and Capgemini doing the Wintel server (or some other split). Doesn't necessarily mean that they work in the same areas.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

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

    No. No it won't. Never has done, never will do. I have been through the 'KT' process more times than I care to count (both sides of the equation), and despite numerous attempts it just never seems to work.

    On the one side, I have provided documentation, done live sessions, had people shadow me - only for the documentation to get 'lost', people leave, and the sessions no-one ever bothers to watch.

    On the other, I have taken KT that turned out to be incorrect, outdated, or omitted as a requirement altogether. Some aspects of that caught in time (the "oh yeah, we forgot about that bit" syndrome), other aspects not caught until much later when something fails.

    1. Graham 32

      That's because people learn how to do stuff by doing. Knowledge transfer is just the theory.

      When I turned 17 I already knew how to operate a car. Wheel, pedals, stick, quite easy really. I knew most of the rules of the road too. Then I got my provisional license and discovered just how tricky it all is. Takes quite a bit of practise to get it right.

    2. nematoad Silver badge
      Happy

      "No. No it won't. Never has done, never will do."

      You hit the nail on the head there.

      When we were bundled out of our jobs the place we worked at wanted us to train up the new people. The company we worked for would have none of it and we were told "Show them where the loos are and leave it at that." So we did.

      Ha!

  6. Potemkine!

    Capgemini is just another meat renter

    As are all similar companies. 'How many kg of IT engineer do you want Sir'?

    I really hope John Lewis IT will collapse, bringing with it all the dividends the shareholders hope to gain with these disguised layoffs. Dream on...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Capgemini is just another meat renter

      There are no shareholders, it’s Partner owned. And the annual bonus has been declining year on year partly as a result of spiralling IT costs and a decline in profit across their general merchandising business. Outsourcing ADAM and Infra to Cap and Wipro respectively is saving them circa. 30% year on year off their IT Opex, allowing them to invest more capital in their online business which accounts for >40% of sales at JL (10% at Waitrose but now growing exponentially thanks to COVID). The business case stacks up whether people like it or not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Capgemini is just another meat renter

        Might add up on some accountant's spreadsheet - it won't when the service gets moved over.

        Been there, seen it, done it.

        The question should be more around *why* are the IT costs "spiralling" (if that truly is the case)?

        Because it sounds to me more like someone has just said "Oh, Wipro/Cap can do that function cheaper" rather than "Oh, our costs are spiralling out of control and Wipro/Cap can help/stop that".... a subtle but none-the-less important distinction.

  7. Gaius

    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.johnlewis.com

    The old John Lewis is long gone, I'm sorry to say

    1. Deft

      It's a shame

      Those Trustpilot reviews, even with a pinch of salt, are quite worrying.

      John Lewis still trades on its previous image, and if you'd asked me even 5 yrs ago I would generally try buying largish expensive items there as I liked the company ethos and customer service reputation. Seems to have gone wrong, and all these IT shenanigans are an obvious marker for that.

      We're re-doing our kitchen soon and I've made a conscious decision to avoid John Lewis for all the appliances.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's a shame

        "Those Trustpilot reviews, even with a pinch of salt, are quite worrying."

        Yes. For a company that prides itself on customer service, outsourcing your contact centre to Capita is an interesting decision. In my experience, the in-store staff are still very good, but there aren't enough of them, and they are starting to suffer from having various company reps in (the TV area seems to be entirely populated by TV company reps).

      2. HarryBarry2020

        Re: It's a shame

        It’s a shame a prosperous Waitrose is being dragged down by a failing department store. WR and JL Partners we’re stuck together right before this for a reason. There could well be 31 unlucky sods kept on and many attempts to make their life hell to make them jump. 31 when then probably be wittled down to a few. IT at the heart of a modern JL, my arse.

    2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      I have to say of all the retailers I've ever bought from, all of my worst experiences have been John Lewis. And I haven't even lived in the UK for the last six years, either.

  8. s. pam
    Megaphone

    Never beaten...

    The staff so much as with this insane outsourcing maneuver....

  9. boltar Silver badge

    Ah yes, outsource your IT to cut costs when in trouble

    That always works so well. They should go have a chat with Alex Cruz over at British Airways to find out how to really nail it.

  10. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    they blew the cleaners out a few years ago, always a dead giveaway. then the genius move of outsourcing customer service to crapita!

    eventually the "partners" will be those sitting round the boardroom table, squeezing every last drop out of the suppliers.

  11. TWB

    Sad

    I like the JLP idea/principle call-it-what-you will, but sadly think this is definitely the beginning of the end and JLP will become JL soon and just another company competing by being the same.

    I think the fact that JLP are now making a big thing of the 'partnership' is a clue, a bit like countries with descriptive words like 'democratic' in their names, rarely are.

  12. Mr Dogshit

    Weird place

    Their tills were running on token ring as late as 2003.

    1. JaffaBoy

      Re: Weird place

      Yeah cheers for reminding me of that,

      1. That's 17 years ago, bit dated there

      2. It was only in old branches that were a nightmare to re-cable. Token ring lengths could be longer than ethernet supported so rewiring was required. It was a nightmare.

      Glad to say by 2004 it was all ethernet.

      There endeth my history lesson.

  13. The singer

    A Reversal in Fortunes

    Working for the John Lewis Partnership is supposed to be different, not anymore; being a co-owner is supposed to mean something; not anymore; employees are just cannon fodder to be bought and sold like any other commodity. 244 jettisoned to Wipro but at least Capgemini showed some honesty when they said 110 TUPE’d in, 80 redundant on the first day as the work is exported to India. The other 30 are redundant in March 2021. I know you will find this a bit strange but I didn't see that in the press release.

    Our new leader doesn't know what 'and Partners' means in the adverts, it mean us stupid, and she is the chairwoman of a partnership. The terminology they use is also a bit strange we have all been split into 'lots' and have ‘town-hall meetings’ each 'lot' goes to a different trader. There is certainly a strange whiff here as the staff are sold off.

    John Spedan Lewis, who created the partnership all those years ago, in his book first published in 1948 the same year the National Health Service come was born, "Partnership for All" wrote about his Thirty-Four Year Old Experiment in Industrial Democracy. Sadly the experiment has failed. Some of the management proudly stand up in front of partners, yes we are partners and co-owners not employees, and proudly tell us they have never read the book. A Chairwoman who does know what it means to be a partner and managers who cant be arsed to read the founders book; no idea what industrial democracy means and too busy evading their responsibilities to their fellow co-owners. You couldn't make this stuff up. The book is on Amazon (a PLC who are employing staff unlike the oxymoron's at the Partnership, who are selling off their staff) and listed at £252. Perhaps someone might want to let the board know so they can buy the book and God forbid, actually read it.

    The Chairwoman has already said not all branches will reopen, 8 closures have been announced so far, more likely to follow. A reduction in selling space across the estate is expected later in the year; a guarantee of more staff to be jettisoned.

    In a time of national emergency and make no mistake the COVID-19 pandemic has created a national emergency we all have to ask who can be trusted and relied upon. The John Lewis Partnership jettisons it’s staff, soon to be offshored and Morrisons finds a way of supporting its staff through difficult times. - bit of a no-brainer.

    Of course if you are management things are different, two MDs recently left with £1M pay offs. Why cant I have the same; what makes me different, this after all is a partnership of co-owners. Seems we are all equal but some are more equal than others. Read a book about that once, watched the move as well. How thing never change. Boardroom parasites with their snouts in the trough.

    There were two other MDs who left in previous years and each one got a pay off, you don’t need me to tell you how much do you? No, of course not you already know. One became Mayor of the West Midland, now you may not know this but one of the John Lewis branches to close is the landmark Birmingham store. Schadenfreude is alive and well in the boardroom.

    Tuesday, 14 July 2020 the day The John Lewis Partnership and Industrial Democracy died.

    Yours

    I’m not bitter, honest guv, not me!

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