Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) could be the first of several services houses to feel the pinch from Year 2000.
CSC will lay off up to 150 UK staff after a millennium related slowdown in work. CSC said up to 50 jobs are at risk in its banking business and in software product support. Up to 100 jobs are at risk in its consultancy business in the UK.
Tony Lewis, executive director of the Computing Services and Software Association (CSSA), said more computer services companies are expected to report redundancies in the coming months.
Companies are reluctant to make changes to their IT systems over the date change period, he said. The euro is also generating less work than expected in the UK, and is not taking up the shortfall.
"This has caught out a few companies which are staffed to do work that isn't there," he said. "If there's a flattening out in a people based business, you have problems."
Steve Thomas, marketing director for CSC UK, said the firm expects to make 70 compulsory redundancies and at least 30 to 40 voluntary redundancies in the UK.
"Obviously we are concerned about the individuals, but this has to be seen in context - CSC employs 6,600 people in the UK," he said.
Industry analyst Richard Holway said services companies with a high proportion of short term orders will be vulnerable to the date change job freeze.
"There are a few other companies around that will go through similar problems, and have not yet come clean," he said.
Not all services houses are suffering. Logica, CMG, Cap Gemini and Sema recently shrugged off millennium fears. (see Newswire 8 September)
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