SAP outsourcing decision to come within a week

Union expects that 113 government jobs will be lost.

About 50 NSGEU members picketed province house Thursday, chanting "outsource the NDP."
About 50 NSGEU members picketed province house Thursday, chanting "outsource the NDP."
The union representing provincial SAP workers has been told that a decision about outsourcing SAP jobs will be announced by the end of the month, and the union is pessimistic.

"I don't think we're going to win this one," NSGEU president Joan Jessome told The Coast this afternoon, as about 50 union members picketed Province House, chanting "outsource the NDP."

"I believe that 'creating jobs' is going to trump 'securing jobs,'" continued Jessome.

SAP is shorthand for Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung, a German company that sells the ubiquitous SAP software system, which companies, organizations and governments use for planning and managing finances.

The province's SAP department manages SAP operations for provincial departments, but also for Nova Scotia Business, Inc., most municipalities, school boards, the NSLC, Halifax Water, housing authorities and other agencies. It consists of 73 union members, but an additional 40 non-union employees working for the provincial health authorities will also be affected.

Provincial authorities have been mum on the outsourcing matter—spokespersons for the Finance Department did not immediately return a call for comment for this article—but Jessome says that she met with minister Maureen MacDonald last week, and came away feeling that the situation was probably hopeless.

Jessome says that Nova Scotia Business, Inc. has been in negotiation with a multi-national corporation to establish an operation in Halifax, and the deal is dependent upon outsourcing the province's SAP operation. Jessome says she is sworn to not disclosing the name of the company, but published reports say it is IBM.

Nova Scotia Business, Inc. did not immediately return a call for comment.

"The premier has stated that this is an opportunity, for people in the IT world to work for a company of this magnitude is an opportunity, but there's no job security," said Jessome.

Jessome said she was assured by premier Darrell Dexter that the company will honour the existing contract with NSGEU. "I don't believe that's even possible," said Jessome. "This company, they boast about not being union."

IBM is well-known for being antagonistic to unions.

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