Majority of outsourced IT workers won't go to IBM

The majority of Nova Scotia's provincial information technology workers will not follow their outsourced jobs to IBM Canada when the company takes over the administration of the computer information system on March 4.

According to figures released by the province on Thursday, 28 out of 72 employees — roughly 39 per cent — are opting to join IBM Canada when it takes over management of the Nova Scotia government's computer system that contains provincial budget, procurement and payroll information.

Of the workers who accepted IBM Canada's offer, 14 are unionized and 14 are with the Health Administrative Services Program.

The remaining 44 employees have been told they can try to find placement within the government, take a layoff or resign with severance.

"The government is pleased that everyone affected received a job offer from IBM. They are also eligible to pursue other options with government," said Michelle Lucas, a spokeswoman for the Department of Finance.

In November, Nova Scotia's NDP government announced a 10-year data outsourcing deal with IBM Canada that will see the information technology giant open a global data centre in Halifax. In return, IBM Canada will be paid $8.4 million a year to take over the provincial government's SAP computer system.

In addition to the 72 civil servants offered permanent positions with IBM Canada, Nova Scotia is keeping 21 people in the government to help oversee the outsourced work.

Lucas said of those 21 people being retained by the government, 11 are unionized and 10 are not.

Sources have told CBC News the province's contract with IBM Canada includes a provision that for every worker who stays in government, the province will pay IBM Canada $27,000 to train other people who take the jobs.

With 44 workers staying with the provincial government, IBM Canada stands to be paid $1.18 million.

IBM Canada would not comment on the matter. The Nova Scotia government said it's making transition payments to the company to avoid disruption as the company takes over of the internal computer system.

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