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Techies Asked To Train Foreign Replacements

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the have-a-good-trip dept.

765

Makarand writes "David Lazarus of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Bank of America (BofA) is moving thousands of tech jobs to India and has asked its techies to train their Indian replacements or risk losing severance pay. Although there is nothing in writing that says precisely this, the employees have been made clear about this responsibility in their meetings. BofA is outsourcing tech work to Indian companies whose employees do the work at half the cost of what a U.S. worker gets paid. According to an estimate, outsourcing has allowed the bank to save about $100 million over the past five years."

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765 comments

Isn't that really... (1)

EotB (964562) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508423)

Salt in the wounds?

Re:Isn't that really... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508439)

Indians are true closet-homosexuals. They have a history full of homosexual leaders, for example Gandhi, Hitler, George Werner Bush etc.

But overall, they are a beautiful and fierce people, a true warrior race, who live to kill and die hard. This is why we US-American girls like them to father our children so very much.

Re:Isn't that really... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508469)

Gandi used to sleep naked with his niece [66.249.93.104] ! No, really!

Re:Isn't that really... (5, Funny)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508541)

Salt in the wounds?

vindaloo. stings more.

So dont do business with them (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508545)

Now all your personal data, including your ssn, password, and most importantly your cash flow, are coming across the desks of low-paid foreigners. They have no natural loyalties to our country, let alone their clients, and their low pay gives them incentive to abuse their power, to your personal detriment.

I am sure the bank claims it takes reasonable precaution against identity theft....but you just can't protect data from the techies that work on it. And when you can't trust the techs, you can't trust the company.

Just say No.

Re:So dont do business with them (1)

ginotech (816751) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508642)

God damn it, I just got a checking account with them. Oh well, I'll switch when it becomes convenient.

splitting semantic hairs (5, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508432)

From the article (regarding requiring training to receive severance): ""I know hat's parsing things a bit," Norton acknowledged. "What we ask associates to do as part of getting severance is that they stay on the job until the job is transitioned."

Norton (and BofA) is parsing employees in a more metaphorical sense, cutting them into tiny pieces. It's a violation of a tacit ethic.

Next: ""It's a common practice when your job is being transferred from one person to another that you train the new person," she added. "We expect our people to stay until their jobs are consolidated.""

Yes it is a common practice. What's not so common (though it's seemingly becoming so) is a scenario where the person you're training is transparently there to be trained because they're going to do the job on the cheap. What's not so common is the egregious in-your-face requirement to train someone to replace you when you had not been planning to leave!

I've trained replacements before. And, I KNEW I was expected to finish that work to consider my work satisfactory. But, it's always been when I was moving on. I'd like to be in a place where when faced with being required to train my cheap-suit replacement that I could refuse on principle alone.

It's unfortunate and worse, unethical, to require training your replacement to receive severance. As an aside did you ever wonder why severance packages max out at ten months, e.g., by some algorithm you get X months pay for each year served, with a cap at ten months? Ten months (actually, 300 days) is how long an employee has to file an action on discriminatory practices! Often times training cheaper replacements targets older and higher paid employees.

And finally and most offensive: "But BofA stands out because it acknowledged earlier this year that it understands how much the practice offends its U.S. employees.
Barbara Desoer, BofA's chief technology exec, told BusinessWeek magazine in January that she was aware how much grumbling it caused when workers at the bank's Concord technology center were told they'd have to bring their Indian replacements up to speed before being shown the door.
"

First of all, the bitch Desoer doesn't deserve the title CTO, she's a fucking hatchet man... she isn't managing technology, she's betraying her work force, I'm guessing for some pretty decent blood money... Fuck her.

So outsourcing and required replacement training is becoming common enough companies begin to admit it. The tipping point is here, they can all claim they do it with the rationale, "everyone ELSE is doing it." Posh!

This is legal but it's unhealthy. The return to the shareholders is short term and long term this practice stands to damage employee morale, and based on the kind of "replacement" results piss off the customers.

A global economy is coming. For some it's a speeding train coming right at them, and they've been tied to the railroad tracks by their employers.

Re:splitting semantic hairs (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508467)

"A global economy is coming."

As the current situation is, I wouldnt really call it a global economy. Something more like a segragated economy, where the main trick is to move work to one place, while keeping prices artificially high in another through legislation, then reaping the profits on the market discrepancy and allowing a rapid transfer of funds from the middle class.

A good step towards restoring a free market and getting something even remotely like a 'global economy' would be to reconstruct the intellectual 'property' monopoly legislation from scratch. Western, and american, labour would get a whole lot more competetive (maybe even maintain the current standard of living at half the pay!) if they didnt have to fund, directly, and indirectly, huge grotesquely inefficient copyright and patent taxation financed monopolies.

Re:splitting semantic hairs (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508596)

Arbitrage is bad, 'm-k?

Re:Short term epidemic (5, Insightful)

mcheu (646116) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508578)

>This is legal but it's unhealthy. The return to the shareholders is short term and long term this
>practice stands to damage employee morale...

That's one of the problems with the way performance is evaluated now. They're ALWAYS looking for the short term fix, because that's the timeframe used to gauge performance. If you institute a short term policy that looks good NOW, but hoses the country or the company later, by the time that happens, you'll have moved on, and it's someone else's problem. Further, there's absolutely no incentive to introduce stable long term solutions under these conditions, because all the credit for them will go to your successor, as he/she will be at the helm when the your decisions bear fruit. In the meantime, it's your fault for that great big hole in the budget (the cost of putting those solutions in motion).

I wish I had mod points right now. ^ Insightful (1)

Seng (697556) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508606)

The parant comment is SOOOO accurate!

Obligatory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508434)

I for one welcome our new Ind...

Actually... scratch that.

Re:Obligatory (1)

gobblez (659715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508452)

I know... There used to be a time when AMERICA mean't something. A time when people walked to school, up hill both ways.

More good news in 2006... (2, Funny)

Veetox (931340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508435)

Just great... Now I have to learn Hindi to challenge my bank errors...

Re:More good news in 2006... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508489)

Fuckin ignorant jerk. Tehy don't even speak hindi in bangalore

Re:More good news in 2006... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508509)

They obviously don't teach you guys how to write english, that's for sure.

Re:More good news in 2006... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508516)

Well, tell Tehy to learn it, Punjab!

Time to change banks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508436)

Didn't read the article, but that's pretty f'd up if it's true.

I've always banked with BoA, but the outsourcing and this are enough to make me consider switching. Can anyone suggest a well-established bank with a good online system and good spread of brick-and-mortar locations?

Re:Time to change banks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508460)

Can anyone suggest a well-established bank with a good online system and good spread of brick-and-mortar locations?

Wells Fargo has always been good to me.

Re:Time to change banks? (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508586)

Support your local credit union. Small business, live people, love to have you.

I ended up at BofA after a series of mergers and had always hated them long before
that. They kept trying to screw me on stupid shit, like a $50 fee to deposit a
foreign currency check, whereas my credit union did it for free. Guess which bank
got the boot?

Oblig. Quote (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508438)

Lisa, if you don't like your job, you don't strike--you just go in every day and do it really half-assed. That's the American way. - Homer Simpson

Time to change banks... (3, Informative)

brockbr (640130) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508440)

Sorry - But IndiaTech is not worth what you pay for it most times.

Re:Time to change banks... (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508475)

That must be because they're badly trained. Somehow.

Bert

Re:Time to change banks... (1)

soren42 (700305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508512)

Time to change banks?

And which bank would you change to? The one that's not outsourcing to India and Latin America? Every major bank in the US is outsourcing, offshoring, or expanding certain operations overseas. Tata (TCS) is one the largest firms all US companies are going with - because they have a pretty good track record in dealing with sensative, highly regulated transactions. Some of the top 10 are opening company-owned divisions overseas to ensure even better control. It all comes down to one thing: cost.

Now, I'm certain that comes as no surprise. But don't mistake what banks are offshoring with what technology companies are offshoring. I've yet to see a US bank offshore a customer support center and leave it there. Banks are typically offshoring software development, testing, quality assurance, and automated business processes (such as statement processing and generation). Even in these cases, every single process sent overseas is typically subject to a very critical eye - the bank in TFA, for example, employs the Six Sigma analysis method to evaluate the actual costs involved and ensure nothing changes for the customer.

Some banks are even taking novel approaches to lowering costs while not moving operations overseas. Several banks have moved customer support to rural areas in the US, where a lower cost of living and average wage allows the banks to employ more of the domestic workforce and still cut costs. Additionally, many banks are looking to emerging markets and growing cities for developers and knowledge workers. Take the example from TFA again - they are moving some technology operations from Concord, CA to Charlotte, NC. Do a little research on the cost of living differences in those two locations, and you'll see why many tech workers (myself included) would jump at the chance to work in a city where you can buy four to five times the home for your money.

Unfortunately, part the equation the article leaves unstated is that the particular bank in question was already planning on moving shop - when they were bought by a comptetior from the other coast. Certainly, some of the jobs are being offshored, but I suspect those jobs would have been relocated and then outsourced, anyway. Having existing employees train their replacements helps both the employee and the company, though. The employee remains employed for a longer period of time and, in this case, will receive a larger severance package. The company, of course, ensures a smooth transition managed by the people who know the processes and systems best. That also helps the employee in one important way - they are nearly all customers of the bank they work for. I, for one, would do anything I could to ensure those new folks new everything they needed - for my own financial security, if nothing else.

Re:Time to change banks... (1)

bishop186 (784357) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508544)

Fuck it, I'm just keeping all my money under the matress.

NO. Time to change to a CREDIT UNION (4, Informative)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508600)

Might I humbly suggest that the solution to this is maybe a large but local Credit Union?

Any services you know of that a bank can do a CU cant?

Didn't think so.

Plus, they are nicer, have better customer service and seem to do a better job hiring hot chicks to run the teller lines.

Re:Time to change banks... (4, Interesting)

djlowe (41723) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508644)

"And which bank would you change to?"

Why not join a Credit Union? They offer the same services, tend to be local and regional (which helps the local/regional economies) and in my experience their customer service is far better than that of commercial banks.

Best of all, they are non-profit, which eliminates the greed factor that drives outsourcing.

Re:Time to change banks... (4, Informative)

Zemran (3101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508585)

Lots of British companies that outsourced to India 5-10 years ago found that it cost more overall because the quality suffered and so much time was spent with managers flying backwards and forwards. Many of those companies returned to the UK because it is cheaper to pay for something to be done properly in the first place that to get a cheap job done that needs twice as much spent on fixing it.

Half the cost (5, Insightful)

DoctorBit (891714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508441)

Interesting that the article quotes the figure of half the cost. Five years ago, people were saying Indian companies could do the work for one-tenth the cost. If Indian salaries and other costs increase 20% a year for a few more years, the advantages of outsourcing will have largely disappeared. In the long run, good for India and good for U.S. I.T. workers.

Re:Half the cost (1, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508457)

If Indian salaries and other costs increase 20% a year for a few more years, the advantages of outsourcing will have largely disappeared. In the long run, good for India and good for U.S. I.T. workers.

You're assuming the cost of outsourcing have gone up.

But maybe it's that American salaries and benefits are on the decline.

(Of course, since CEO compensation is up, we can look forward to great jobs as valets and stable-boys on the lush estates of our masters.)

Re:Half the cost (1)

Ewan (5533) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508477)

Outsourcing costs have definitely gone up, for example a company I worked for a couple of years had it's entire Indian development centre walk out after they were offered a blanket 20% pay rise for them all. The staff considered 20% to be rubbish compared to the offers they were getting from other companies.

Re:Half the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508471)

It's not just cost, it's the quality. Many companies (Apple being the latest) have tried outsourcing because of the paper cost benefit and then reversed course when they realize the poor quality of work, high turnover, and difficulty of managing overseas projects with the time and cultural barriers make it not worth it.

An Indian colleague at work who has just returned from a 2-month stint trying to bring people at out Indian outsourcing center up to speed, returned saying how glad he was to be back in the US, and that he realized that he's been in the US too long to tolerate India any more - one major compaint being how dishonest everyone is.

Re:Half the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508663)

There are several factors in 'cost'.

1) The raw labour component costs, and
2) Hardware, licences and phones and stationary
3) Loss of goodwill
4) Loss of trade secrets
5) Loss of privacy, sale of client lists
6) How much business is lost and forgone when customers wake up.
7) Risk. What can one rouge do? - Barings bank anyone?

For cost, 1/2 is about right, its gone up, and still rising, but reliability has not. Just as many tech scewups. You have in theory, double degree graduates, but unwilling or unable to use initiative.

On Goodwill. Pissed off customers will yank their deposits. When hawking pension funds, that accent problem, means no new money, or worse, money flowing to rival banks.

On Trade secrets. From junk mail, someone is re-selling lists and prospects to rival banks, and sweet sounding European interests calling up high wealth individuals.

Now the call centre numbers do look impressive, and there are schmucks who still do business with banks that have a 'phone on the wall' non-service (and require leigions of human reminders to deal with a bad risk).

On training subcontinent hires, their training will be hopeless, as the employer is cheaping out on professional training. That 5% of knowledge that counts when the chips are down will not be going over.

That missing 5%, is the all important competitive advantage. To be a mentor, and show then how to slam callers, duck responsibility, and do mindless TPR cover pages.

Red Herring (2, Insightful)

bheer (633842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508449)

Training your replacement is standard operating procedure for many jobs. If you don't like it, the time to argue about it is when your work contract is being signed. The fact that the replacements are Indians is a red herring here -- it'd be the same if the jobs were being moved to the Appalachians.

Once upon a time autoworkers and shipbuilders were considered high-skill workers. Hell, look back far enough (1800s) and button-manufacturing was high tech. The commoditization of IT is happening faster than the commoditization of these old-line businesses. So we should get out of the notion that 'internal tech support' is somehow a 'high tech' job that requires local presence all the time. Yeah, a portion of tech support jobs will remain local (until the smart robots take over, heh) but most of the jobs will go to where the cheap smarts are.

Re:Red Herring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508599)

BS ! I have passed through this situation and can state that it is not only discriminatory but unethic and the last proof that you need to simply say NO to your employer. And if he threatens to not pay severance plans the court way is wide open for several accounts.

Also who said that in your job description there is something like train your replacement ? Training is not a task of the employee but rather an employer responsibility. If he is forcing you by the means of doing such practice it is a clear violation of your contract unless it is written in black ink and white paper and you signed it.

So wake up because it is not a problem being Indian, Chinese or whatever else. It is a problem being an unethic employer that does such things.

Tata Consultancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508454)

I wonder if they know that "tatas" are American slang for a woman's breasts? You know, as in "bodacious tatas"?

I'd sure want to hire a company named "Tata Consultancy": "I'm off to consult with Tata"... the mind boggles.

Trend will turn (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508463)

Definitely, indian tech workers will be demanding more in the future.

This is something new now, and they are making considerable money they have never dreamt of before for their country's standards, but when the standard of living rises, so the wage demands will.

But when ? I reckon not earlier than 2 years.

Re:Trend will turn (2, Insightful)

HateBreeder (656491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508481)

How about 20 Years?

You, literally, wouldn't believe, how far the American dollar goes in India.

Re:Trend will turn (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508562)

Technically while an indian worker may be paid 1/10th of an American worker currently outsourcing saves about 50% at BEST. This is because of taxes and many middlemen. It won't be long at all till you will be paying the same at all.

Another Silly Outsourcer....... (3, Insightful)

segedunum (883035) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508465)

I'll simply repeat another of my comments from the past about this.

I've been amused by many companies over the years who thought they could save a huge bundle of money, when in reality the staff employed in those functions they want to move makes up perhaps 20% of their organisation but makes the most impact. Do people in a foreign country answering your calls, where it is totally obvious they know not even the most basic things about where you live (and you have waste time and money repeating things twenty times), does that sound good and make you want to use that company? I'll quote Joel Spolsky and Pradeep Singh:

"(Here's something Pradeep Singh taught me today: if only 20% of your staff is programmers, and you can save 50% on salary by outsourcing programmers to India, well, how much of a competitive advantage are you really going to get out of that 10% savings?)"

You also have the additionally huge costs of training those new employees, or outsourcing organisations, up in the ways of the organisation, the products, the technology and you also spend huge amounts of wasted time and money on communication. I've known many banks who've had that experience. A poor call centre worker gets the warm ear treatment from a customer in Europe, US, Canada etc. because the website is throwing up errors and he/she can't complete a transaction. A call is logged and there is a series of frantic phone calls and e-mails to the outsourced programming company in India, who needless to say, haven't got the faintest idea what they're talking about. Also (and this happens even in outsourcing companies situated in the same country but in another part) because they are not physically located in the heat of battle, and within on-site reach, they just don't give a shit. They'll do it when they've got time.

"Because they don't actually work for Bank of America," the engineer replied. "They work for Infosys Technologies and Tata Consultancy Services, which are both in India. They do the work at half the cost of what a U.S. worker gets paid."

Would anyone like to guess how much time, money, effort and resources is going to be spent trying to communicate with these idiots, and actually get anything done?

In short, you need to have your support functions in your company with you completely, and they need to be as close to your paying customers as you can get. If there is a market in India for your products then by all means get close to your customers and open offices in India (and how many BofA customers are in India?). After all the diasters, and let's face it we know companies everywhere have had total outsourcing disasters, I can't beleiev anyone thinks they're still going to save money like this. Idiot CEOs and boards still have this ridiculously stupid fucking idea that the world is a place separated only by a common language - English. I think even British, American and Australian people can agree that that is most certainly not true. I suggest these idiot board members go and read the number one, definitive guide on running a multinational company properly - as well as making some serious profit.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/186197691 [amazon.co.uk] 7/sr=1-2/qid=1149421474/ref=pd_bowtega_2/202-73591 57-8712641?_encoding=UTF8&s=books&v=glance [amazon.co.uk]

Re:Another Silly Outsourcer....... (1, Flamebait)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508517)

Would anyone like to guess how much time, money, effort and resources is going to be spent trying to communicate with these idiots, and actually get anything done?
I was with you up to this point, but if you're referring to the folks in India as idiots, your argument gets drowned out by apparent bigotry. If you're referring to the Bank of America management as idiots, that doesn't upset me, but given the context of the quoted statement, I have to assume you're calling the Indian workers idiots.

Re:Another Silly Outsourcer....... (3, Informative)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508616)

No. "Idiots" is a descriptor that involves skill, worth, maybe experience.

"Curry smelling dot-head" is bigotry.

Idiots like you are what allows _real_ bigotry to flurish, you cant even recognize it when you see it.

I have met some quite skilled folks from India over the years. Mostly in telcos engineering departments... but they were in the US and either born here or on their way to US Citizens. The ones answering the phones while still in Bombay... chances are "idiot" is a pretty good description of their skill level and experience in whatever job they are doing. The GOOD ones get better jobs after a short time.

They do know how to make profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508625)

I suggest these idiot board members go and read the number one, definitive guide on running a multinational company properly - as well as making some serious profit.

I'm not sure which company's board you're a member of (one of the oil companies?), so I can't say how much profit you consider "serious".

However, seeing as how BofA made nearly $5 billion dollars in profit last quarter .. I think its board members too know one or two, or rather 4.98 BILLION things about making profit.

I'll tell ya that's serious enough for me.

since this is /. it is time for an analogy (1)

Dance_Dance_Karnov (793804) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508468)

this is like asking auto factory works to build the robots that will replace them (i dunno if that is shaky enough for a /. analogy)

Re:since this is /. it is time for an analogy (1)

Frightening (976489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508515)

How about the holocaust, where they made to put their mates' remains in the oven?

Wait, I'm siding with the Indians there..

Re:since this is /. it is time for an analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508583)

or being forcing at gun point to dig a grave for yourself fully knowing your fate at the end of the exercise.

Blue screen of death? Hit it with a hammer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508483)

Does the ultimatum say anything about training these replacements well?

my bank's indian call center. (1, Insightful)

nblender (741424) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508485)

My bank has a call center in India as part of its "travel agency" arm. Or maybe it's my credit card. Anyway, I was recently booking a trip and throughout the phone call, found myself becoming increasingly frustrated with the person on the other end of the phone. So while he was looking for flights, I was trying to figure out what it was that was making me angry. He was helping me in a competent fashion, seemed to be trying to get me the best fare and flight, I had no trouble understanding him. I couldn't figure it out. Later, after the call was over, I replayed the conversation in my head but couldn't pin point it. There was just something about his manner that was annoying. Then I went into the kitchen to get a coffee and a co-worker, who is from Bangaloor came in and started talking to me. That's when I figured it out. My co-worker has the same speech mannerisms as this guy. I've never paid attention to it before because my co-worker is 'just another guy' and since I can usually see his face when he speaks, everything's cool. But with this guy on the phone, there was a certain 'condescending' manner about him and the way he said certain things that really riled me up. I believe it's just the way their local language mannerisms translate to english.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508486)

lol

This is why you should have money saved (3, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508493)

Honestly, if you're counting on your employer (or anybody, for that matter) to look out for your interests and "play nice," you're just asking to get a situation like this dropped in your lap. It doesn't matter what your contract says, and it doesn't matter how nice you think your boss is. If somebody with enough power thinks they can save/make some extra money, expand their own influence, push their own agenda, etc., there are ways around contracts and nice lower managers. After all, if you can't pay your own expenses for a few months without a severance package, you can't afford to fight them in court, now can you?

This is why it really pays to have your own severance package set aside in a savings account. If I was given the choice these people have been given, and I had 3-6 months of expenses in my savings, I'd tell them to, "Train my replacement your own damn selves." I might even do it if I didn't have such savings, depending on how blatantly it was presented to me.

If you plan ahead, you give yourself the power to make a statement like that if it needs to be made (assuming it's worth making).

Quality (3, Insightful)

ernierubadue (172605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508494)

The replacement worker is always trained half ass in a layoff, can you imagine the quality of the training, when its a layoff, your replacement cant even speak english, and they are in India? how stupid

Rasism, here we come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508526)

You assume Indians can't "even" speak english? Well, they speak a heck lot better english than you speak Hindi.

Secondly, you sound like a nationalist. The american workers live in what they define as "democracy", however that can be very much doubted. But if they do, they can vote for better rights for the workers. In many (democratic) countries this would never be happening, so it's all up to you people to fix your country.
Until then, these things are just your own fault, and there is no one you can blame but yourself. A corporation is forced to act like this if it maximizes the win for the stock holders (which it probably will as claimed in the article). It's their only obligation by law. If there's no law against forcing some worker to train a cheaper one, then what are you people getting upset about? Sit back and enjoy the show, and expect a heck lot more of this.
To me, this is hilarious.

Re:Quality (1)

takeaslash (976090) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508588)

India is the largest english speaking country in the world. Ok their accent maybe different to yours, but that generally is only a problem if they were in a call center.

Re:Quality (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508630)

Plus "training a replacement" is not going to be a one time deal.

Say 5 Indians get trained by one guy in the States.

In 12 months, where are those 5 individuals going to be? It sounds to me like India is having a tech boom, and if it's like ours was people are hopping jobs to get 50% pay raises for no reason at all.

So in a year, the bank will be faced with not having the skilled long-timers around AND having to continually train replacements all the time.

Lesson 1: (1)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508496)

Most desktop computers fail because the chips work loose. Before calling hardware support please attempt the following. Carry your PC to the stairwell and drop it at least three floors. If the PC still doesn't work call support (by the way, don't tell support you dropped the PC - they don't like their job being done by others.)

Dear customers, please go away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508500)

I completely refuse to deal with Indian call centers. If a company can't give me a number to contact a native English speaker in my own country, I'll correspond by letter to said companies registered office. I'm not spending an hour of my time just to make myself understood to somebody who has difficulty with my language. Do as I do and take your business elsewhere.


How do the interviews for these places go?

Interviewer: Can you speak English?
Candidate: Sorry sir, you say I talk?
Interviewer: Congratualtions, you've got the job.
Candidate: Sorry sir, you say I have but I have not.
Interviewer: Well done, that's just won you an instant promotion to call center manager.

Welcome to the world America created (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508503)

Welcome to the free market. There is somebody in the world who will do your job for less than you. You will lose your job. Industry will move to whichever government offers the least protection to its workers, and the most incentives to business. Should workers begin to criticise their pay/working conditions/lack of human rights, then business will threaten to move. The vast majority of people (myself included) will take a pittance and a quiet life, rather than fight a well organised, well funded status quo. If we can eat and have a roof over our heads, we thank our lucky stars.

We're all third world now baby.

Re:Welcome to the world America created (4, Insightful)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508608)

In reality, those jobs, outsourced, never QUITE seem to produce the results they think they do.

They always cost more in time, opportunity costs, or actual cash.

Point in fact:

The contract job I'm doing has me writing a Linux system's wrapper library to make their drivers look more normal to Linux developers.
They also have a foreign contractor in India developing a similar interface as a kernel module.

I'm getting about 3 times what this guy's getting paid per hour.
The tasks in question are comparable in effort to do- and the guy's not an idiot.

I'm into testing on an alpha and trying to figure out where the performance bottlenecks are.
He's still not got anything properly working yet.

He started before me by several weeks.
I'm where I am in only 4 weeks of 50 hour work weeks- in another set of the same, it'll
very likely be a releasable product in the case of my work.

Offshoring doesn't always produce the results you think it will- and in many cases it causes
bad will. In a time where companies like Dell, who were one of the first to offshore work,
are publicly bringing the work back into the states because it was actually the same end
cost with better results to outsource it to places in Oklahoma and similar- the PHB types
at BofA are offshoring stuff to India, thinking it'll save them money. Short term, it might.
Long term, it's going to cost them all of that savings and possibly more. I'd not want to
use a bank that thinks it's okay to outsource any of it's functions to a foreign country
that's been known to have it's employees mis-use personal info for personal gain- good
thing I've been working on going elsewhere for my banking needs.

Like Digging Their Own Grave (3, Insightful)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508505)

before getting a bullet in the brain.

Re:Like Digging Their Own Grave (1)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508522)

Yep. The trick is to dig it under the executioner's feet.
Sure, "Train" the support. In such a way that they will BEG you to come back.

B of A SUCKS!! (4, Interesting)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508506)

I've been with B of A since the mid 1980's. The past couple of years they have begun making this loud sucking sound. They suck fees out of my account that lowers it below a threshold and then suck more fees out. On one single day after I screamed, they credited back over 200 dollars in fees into my account. They've been putting 5 business day holds on Govt. checks that used to go in as cash. They obviously have the fees dept. going full tilt, along with the bean counters. I'm moving soon and as soon as I'm settled, they're history. I've had it with them!

Re:B of A SUCKS!! (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508540)

Amen brother.

I used to live in California, and there was a BoA on main street. It was painted this horrid institution green and it was SO depressing in there. On top of that, the people were jerks and they got robbed at LEAST once a month for the entire year and a half I was there.

Right down the road from them, in EASY walking distance was a beautiful Union Bank of California. It was beatiful inside and out, the tellers were extremely friendly (they even OFFERED to fill out my deposit slip when I was too lazy, unlike every other bank that complains bitterly about it) and I think they were only robbed once in the time I was there.

It was a no-brainer which bank I'd choose then, and the BoAs where I live now aren't much better. I finally got my entire family switched away from them and good riddance.

Now to hear that they've stooped to new lows... I'm surprised that it was possible, but not that they managed it if it was.

As said above, requiring you to train someone when you are being fired is ridiculous. (I don't care what anyone says, 'laid off' is the same as fired. You aren't going to get to come back, and you don't have any money while you wait.)

I suspect if I was in that situation, I'd do the 'training' but it would be the worst training anyone ever got. I'd sit at my desk with the 'DnD' on my IM, answer emails only after a full day has passed, and only ever answer questions that were asked with as little information as possible. I'd suck them dry for every penny while training, and while on 'severance'.

I'm not usually a vengeful person, but some things are just overboard. This qualifies.

BofA's not the same bank you used to deal with. (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508622)

BofA's the "merger" of NationsBank and Bank of America. BofA before this merger was the entity that was the pioneering
bank that came up with MICR, etc. BofA after the merger started instituting the policies and practices that made
me leave NationsBank for BofA back when I got married and made a joint checking account back some 9 years ago- almost
immediately after the deal went down, the rules changed to be just like NationsBank's. You can see who was the top
in that merger- and it wasn't BofA. They're NationsBank, just not in name.

keeping quality is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508507)

Looking at the shift from Bank of America [bankofamerica.com] to Bank of India [bankofindia.com] , I feel it is a pretty tasteless and incompetent change for the worse.

I am pretty sure that most customers will probably vomit en masse and leave for another bank.

4 letters... (2, Funny)

Vo0k (760020) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508514)

4 letters define how the training should be conducted:
B. O. F. H.

Am I the only one ... (1)

sim82 (836928) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508521)

... who thinks that saving 100m$ over five years sounds rather i ridiculous for a (supposedly) large bank? I can not even imagine that it is worth the bad publicity they get through this.
If I were an American I would be extremely pissed off by this Bank of 'America'. What will they do with their next 100m$? Some TV commercials?

Re:Am I the only one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508653)

Good point. With all the outsourcing these days, they might do better to start an ad campaign saying that they're "All-American" and won't be outsourcing like everybody else.

One day in training (2, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508523)

US Geek "Ok, now once every 12 week we get this file called "master customer records" and copy it to /dev/nul.Then once every 8 weeks email this file called "CEO_pr0n_copy" to the Washington post.

Indian Geek "seems strange but you Americans are a stange lot". US Geek " now the last thing before I leave copy this file called "master_crdusr.pwd" from the main system to a nice gentleman called Ivan and his email is HAXr3d@owned.com.ru."
Indian Geek " I be thanking you very much for this help"
US Geek "yeah your welcome ya tea towel wearing bastard"

Re:One day in training (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508547)

They aren't Indian Geeks. If they were, training wouldn't be an issue in the first place.

Re:One day in training (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508584)

Ah, your job is so simple that no handover is required? What do you do - cook at a MickeyD?

Re:One day in training (1)

belg4mit (152620) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508603)

If the replacements are qualified, you don't need a 1:1 ratio of trainers to trainees.
When *you* start a new job, do you get a dedicated trainer for a significant period
of time? In the immortal words of Bob, "I doubt it."

Screw "em, Walk Out! (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508528)

At least, if I were working for BoA, and in any way could manage to do it without going bankrupt, I'd just tell them: "Fine...good luck with that...I'm outta here. Oh, and be prepeared to spend money, lawyers, and time when I sue you..whether I think I'll win or not, even if I have to represent myself!" hand them my employee badge, and walk straight out.

Maybe the workers could band together for a class-action, or at least organize to share legal costs.

I understand that many with families and in debt up to their eyeballs might not take that option, but a large subset of IT workers *are* single, and could handle the financial disruption.

I have walked out on employers before when they became completely unreasonable, and taken the financial hit. To me, without a family/kids to support, and having saved and otherwise acted financially responsible, it was worth it. Maybe I'm too "old-skool" as the phrase goes, but there are some principles a person should not hesitate to stand up for, if at all possible.

I wonder how they would react if a third or more of their IT staff refuses to cut their own throat and walks over this, and what would they tell angry customers?

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Screw "em, Walk Out! (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508643)

As long as Bush allows it to happen, you'll never win that.

Evil. (4, Funny)

numbski (515011) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508533)

Purely evil.

From a business standpoint, it's neccessary (the training, not the outsourcing), but it's still evil.

Kinda makes you want to have some fun with crontab and shell/perl scripts.

Like keep randomly changing posix group, ou, or dn info in the LDAP directory. ;)

There was a perl script I wanted to write a while back called "jackass-milter" for sendmail. (a take off of spamass-milter, for spamassassin).

All it was designed to do was take each message that passes through the exchanger, constrain to body text (not attachments, or headers), then run a series of regex's on the body based on what the author wants to do to the message.

Example? Regex searching for things like /[\w|\n]yours truly\n/i /[\w|\n]cordially,\n/, change it with "I find you strangely attractive".

A good regex that searches for nouns and verbs and randomly replaces it with the f-bomb. Another good one is to search for all instances of "the", but only randomly replace it with "teh". Spell-checkers be damned! ;)

What does this have to do with Indian-outsourcing? Sabotage. Make sure you do enough damage on the way out the door. Nobody gets out alive.

EVERYBODY GET DOWN!!!!111one one one

(here he comes....here comes speed ra-cer...)

If the Army staffed like IT does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508542)

If the Army staffed like IT does, they would have no training. They would only hire recruits with prior experience. Basically mercinaries. The problem is the usual pool of highly trained and highly paid ex military types wouldn't be there any more. They'd have to hire from former militia, paramilitary death squads, and gang members.


I think Rome in the not conincidentally latter stages of its empire outsourced its legions. Didn't work out too well from what I remember. There wasn't exactly a lot of loyalty in that set up.


I wonder what will the overpaid U.S. execs think when the Indian companies at some point realize they can do better taking over the business themselves and cutting out the overpaid parasites.

BOfA (1)

Ryz0r (849412) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508543)

Bastard Operator from Asia?

Layoff? (1)

bobstaff (313564) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508548)

I thought the definition of layoff was when they no longer needed someone to perform your job function (they're eliminating the position) and as such they can not replace you within some specified period (a year IIRC) without first offering you your job back.

How can BofA lay people off and ask them to train their replacements?

Re:Layoff? (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508649)

Their replacements don't work for BofA, they work for some Indian company. That's how outsourcing works - it's completely legal. (Not very wise, but still legal)

So BOFA gets the BOFH? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508551)

Quite seriously, if I was told to train my replacement, I'd go out of my way to make sure he is useless. I mean, what guts does it take to tell someone to dig his own grave?

Yes, I'd train him, but my working script would be every single antic from the BOFH archive. And I'd also hand him the dictionary from the infamous Monty Python sketch.

I am stealing your sig line (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508590)

Just wanted to let you know.

More Fuel for the Fire (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508570)

This is just more fuel for the fire. Next there will be an article about some CEO complaining about how there aren't enough skilled IT workers in the U.S. and how college students are not entering the field. I just don't understand how U.S. companies can continue to build up so much ill-will (or bad karma if you will) with practices that BoA at least acknowledges are offensive and yet continue said practices. A big price is going to be paid for these betrayals someday, a very big price.

Easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508572)

Do a bad job on the training. Do just enough to avoid getting canned early. No more.

standard practice (1)

gerrysteele (927030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508573)

when i worked for a certain big corporation that has been empoying heavily in india, china and russia, there was widespread training up of these new employees to do the exact same job in several areas. No one had been made redundant at that time, but the long term play was pretty obvious.


That company recently announced over 5000 job cuts. You can bet they weren't in India, China or Russia.

bunch of things (4, Insightful)

m874t232 (973431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508582)

First of all, many US companies derive disproportionately more revenue abroad than they create jobs abroad--that's an imbalance that must be corrected. From that point of view alone, outsourcing is inevitable.

Second, current employees have a choice: they can drop their pencils immediately and leave without severance pay, or they can do an unpleasant chore with severance pay.

Third, in training their replacements, they might also try to teach their foreign replacements about collective bargaining, US salary levels and benefits, and the kind of profits that their company will be making.

Well, those employees that still know about that sort of thing can. If you're part of the SUV-driving, Bible thumping, Republican voting crowd and don't remember why exactly people used to organize in unions and that sort of thing, then just think of the outsourcing as a free market mechanism for getting rid of inefficiencies--you in this case.

Half the cost? (1)

dotdevin (936747) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508593)

I recall just a short time ago when India based direct hire developers were 1/10th the cost of a US developer. Churn was high, analysis skills low to non existent, and it took at least 3-5 India developers to do the job of one good US hire. But, you could hire ~8 or so (with telcom and travel costs eating up the rest) for one US person so it saved money. Most of the time.

Times, for highly educated Indian's, are a chang'n! Wage rates are WAY up with 15%-25% increases expected per year and automatic increases after travel to the US, EU, etc.

If the the best BoA can do is 1/2 the labor rate of US hires they are going to be taken to the cleaners in short order. Soon you will see the consultants mucking through the BoA exec. offices offering to 'fix' all the issues and cost over-runs, bring in new staff (at much higher rates than their current US direct employees), and otherwise continue to clean them out.

vote with your money? (3, Insightful)

macguys (472025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508604)

I don't have a BoA account so I have nothing to close, but I wonder how many other techies are going to their local BoA branch and pulling out their money. What a great opportunity for the credit unions [cuna.org] . Imagine the advertising campaign: "Your Federal Credit Union, we don't send jobs overseas."

Regulation needed (1)

wireframe01 (981462) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508605)

Before this gets any crazier, some laws are needed to regulate outsourcing. I am law-challenged, so all I can suggest is, in the scenario that job(s) get severed because of outsourcing, the people getting replaced _have_ to be given other jobs within the organization. The idea of outsourcing is, the outsourcing entity goes on to do better/other work, not _stop_ doing work! For example, in this case, it would have been much better if at least some of the employees being replaced were given managerial positions over the Indian staff. Everyone needs to push for laws on stuff like this, not just the blokes being laid off.

Do it like this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508609)

So when you want to debit the account, you just click the transfer button and type in xxxxxx(U.S. Techie's account) and that's all there is to it!

Holy Old News Batman! (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508610)

(mod as you wish but..) While it's not a dupe per say, the whole "asked to train foreign replacements" has been discussed as TFA talks about. I can't quite remember the name but back in like 2003/2004 there was a large article in something like PC Word or Computing magazine where they interviewed dozens of people who were asked to do the whole "train your replacement" thing.

The real kicker that TFA didn't seem to mention was, alot of times the people "leaving", didn't know they were leaving. So while training a replacement when you know you're going to be fired is one thing. Training Abdul in MySQL database management only to get fired the same day his training is complete without warning or notice, is rather cold-fucking-hearted. I knew companies outsourced, when you notice large tech companies and even telecoms doing it (Dell, HP, Comcast, Time Warner etc) then it's a real kick to the gut to not just see replacement training for firees but not even telling the fired person what's going on.

You know in a movie or tv show when the bad guy and the good guy meet up for something and a situation occurs for say a hostage release or whatnot? And the good guy always hands over or does what the bad guy says cause he believes him at his word he'll let the hostage/bomb/whatever walk away unharmed? Yea what happens most of the time? The bad guy double crosses the good guy, gets what he wants then shoots the other guy in the back or goes aganist his word simply put. Thats what this feels like, yet you aren't even aware of it. Sure some, maybe half the companies based on what interviewed people said, do let you know in advance. Even thats kinda of lowball, but still not knowing is a pretty scum like move.

America lost production, now support? (1)

invader_allan (583758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508612)

This is pretty bold and unacceptable. There is no reason why someone should be required to train someone taking their livelihood away from them, and there is no way that any ethical argument can be made in favor of this. This is plain and simple greed, and this is simply the way business is done. The way to handle something like this is to hire people on as training consultants. The job is finished before any sort of training, and anyone wanting to stay to train the newcomers gets a raise and further severance. The fact that the jobs are going away at all is asinine, but if they are going to go the jobs left in America will be the training and management. Unfortunately, they will not create those jobs but rather heap those responsibilities on the lower ranked employees for no extra compensation, which is the American way. I can't believe anyone would accept a job from a company like that overseas anyway. I guess the exploitation by American companies is worth a wait in line now, in this country and others. What a strange world we live in...

Pulling Out (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508613)

Apple pulling out of India was funny, but if BofA ends up doing it, I'm going to be taking a good hard look at every single transaction I & everyone I know has made from last year, untill then.

Can't be fukin wit mah money bishes...

Am I Supposed to Care About This? (1)

rmckeethen (130580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508617)

Golly! Well, what do you know -- the fine folks at the SF Chronicle have suddenly discovered that major companies like Bank of America are outsourcing technical jobs to India. Imagine that! Years after the fact, the SF Chronicle finally picks up on this disturbing new trend in American business. Wow! I am just amazed at the stellar reporting guys, just splendid work, just splendid.

Anyway, all razing of the Chronicle aside, I'm not sure why anyone should get their knickers in a knot over the fact that Bank of America's management expects their employees to stay on the job until the Indian replacements come up to speed. The same thing happened to me over 10 years ago, when my job flew south to Texas. At the time, a few conversations with the Texan's replacing my group revealed that they made about 1/3 of the money in Texas compared to what we made in the Bay Area. We certainly had plenty of opportunity to compare notes with these folks; the company flew the Texans in and had them stay for about three months while we trained them on our jobs. Was it irritating to train my replacement? Well, sure, yah... duh. But, considering that the company had already decided to replace me, what good would it have done to complain? Who would care? At least I had money coming in, and I knew exactly when my job would end. I'm no big proponent of outsourcing jobs overseas, but I'm realistic too. It's better to take the money and start looking for another job instead of grousing about why companies treat you like crap when they know they're going to get rid of you.

As long as Bank of America thinks that they can save a buck or two by moving jobs to India, they're going to do it, no two ways about it. This is what the global market is all about. Reporters from the SF Chronicle bitching about it isn't going to make one whit of difference, except perhaps to convince Bank of America's management that they need to hire a few temporary PR agents to handle the negative publicity.

Personally, I'm waiting for the time when US firms start shipping off management positions to India. In a few years, when the bulk of the workforce is in India, this might start to look attractive...

Or maybe not.

Techies can fight back (1)

aralin (107264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508618)

If all the techies in US would close their BoA accounts and transfered balance on their BoA credit cards to other banks, they would notice. If they outsource to India, we should save 20% too and outsource to some credit union or other bank. Maybe Indian one? I know I will close it this very month.

Need changes to employment contract (1)

ColdBoot (89397) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508621)

I have no problem training my replacement when I am getting a promotion or transfer within the company. I have a problem training my replacement when I'm going to get laid off. Next job, I'll insist on a clause in the employment contract stating I will only train my replacement if I am retained within the company in a better position.

That was the last straw. (1)

tamrood (821829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508631)

I am going to close my account on Monday, and move to a local bank.

Banking alternatives? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508639)

Anyone know a bank in the US that still banks in the US? I'll be pulling my savings out of bofa and going somewhere else. Please elaborate on where that 100 million in savings went also. I'm curious if the bofa board of directors put it all up their nose during a business meeting in costa rica, or if they did something like put up a homeless shelter with it.

Not that simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508641)

Posted anonymously because I (still) work for BoA...

I'm not going to debate the fairness/unfairness of the situation, but what most employers fail to realize is that training a replacement is not that easy. Sure, if you're a techie type, you can explain how the systems are set up, where all the J2EE servers are located and all the other bits of information that a replacement would need. But, in order to operate efficiently, your replacement needs to know how the *business* operates, not simply where the bits and pieces are. And that's the problem - how do you summarize (in my case) over 10 years of experience working for financial institutions? How do you succintly explain the difference between broker/dealer and direct accounts, for example? Or how broker commisions are calculated and distributed? Or mutual fund pricing fund versus equity pricing? I could go on, but you get the idea.

Coding errors are one thing - the more subtle errors occur when some arcane piece of business practice is misunderstood. Even worse, it can take a long time before these errors are discovered, by which time substantial errors in client accounts have accumulated - a nightmare scenario for a financial institution.

Bottom line is that if you want to keep your job, it's not enough to simply be a code jockey. Invest in your future, and take active steps to go above and beyond you job description - become intimately familiar with the business that you're in.

God Bless America... er... India! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15508657)

I cannot imagine the humiliation of being forced to train an Indian hired at half your wages to do your job. Bad enough to have to train a local replacement but usually circumstances there are that you're quitting or something. But to be laid off then forced to train some other nationality sweatshop worker to do your job - that just takes the cake. And how ironic - Bank of *AMERICA* - this so classically illuminates the state of our nation. While unemployment here is rising, our corporations are getting fat and rich by using foreign labor at half the price. While I have always had the opinion that labor unions were not needed anymore thanks to US labor policies - methinks that has changed - we need an upswell of unions to force our jobs back onto *OUR* soil!

Outsourcing is great! (0, Troll)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508658)

Here's how I tried to explain to my congressional representative why it is better to outsource than to raise the H-1b cap:

When you outsource, you don't import a bunch of guys who engage in ethnic nepotism to import other Indians for the huge increases in dowery ($50k frequently) they can enjoy from a green card, as well as minting MBAs and lawyers from the corporate education benefits. That way, when the company finally goes tits up, the way Sun did, you haven't left a mafia in the USA.

Train your successor before getting fired.. (1)

Nagilum23 (656991) | more than 8 years ago | (#15508665)

I'm sure they'll do an outstanding training job with all that extra motivation and the new workers will outperform the worn out US workers twofold. The cost saving will be titanic and isnt that great for all of us?
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