Coun. Peter Demong — one of two councillors who sits on Enmax’s board of directors — told the Herald he understands why some Calgarians would be opposed to the idea of a taxpayer-owned company sending local jobs overseas. Enmax informed its employees last Friday that it will be outsourcing 38 back-end technology support jobs to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a massive multinational company headquartered in Mumbai, India.
But Demong said that as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of the Calgary, Enmax needs to have the ability to operate in the free market and generate profits.
“We can’t hamstring them by saying ‘You have to do this, you have to do that,’ ” Demong said. “We have to allow them the same freedom and ability to compete as any other competitor in that industry.”
TCS, with annual revenues of $13.4 billion and over 300,000 IT consultants working in 46 countries, is one of the world’s largest IT outsourcing firms. Enmax has said it is making the switch to improve efficiency and also to provide better data security for its customer service and billing operations.
Demong added TCS has much-needed expertise as Enmax looks to improve its technology applications.
“It’s very difficult to find that expertise in Canada or even North America,” he said. “There are very few corporations or companies that specialize in this kind of thing.”
The news of the outsourcing was met with dismay by some Enmax employees as well as the union that represents 17 of the affected workers.
“Good work gets you what? Your job sent offshore? There’s not a lot of loyalty there,” said CUPE Local 38 president Peter Marsden on Tuesday.
But an Enmax spokesperson said the majority of affected employees are being redeployed to other positions within the company, though a handful have chosen to take severance or retirement options. Enmax also emphasized that while the outsourced work will be done by TCS workers in both Canada and India, no “front-facing” positions are involved in the move. Customers who contact Enmax will still speak to a local customer service representative based in Calgary.
Coun. Brian Pincott, the second city councillor with a seat at Enmax’s board, said he was unaware of the outsourcing until contacted by the Herald this week. He said he doesn’t have a position yet, but will “undoubtedly” be seeking more information about the decision.
The outsourcing is expected to be complete by the end of November.