500 ex-civil service jobs 'to go', PCS union warns

Office workers Image copyright AP
Image caption The back office staff were civil servants until the firm was formed in November

Five hundred former civil servants across England and Wales are to be made redundant as their new employer shifts the work overseas, claims a union.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said it expects Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL) to close offices in Cardiff, Sheffield and Leeds, with job losses elsewhere.

The firm is a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Steria UK.

SSCL said it was "entering a consultation period" with employees.

The firm was formed last November by a deal between the UK arm of French IT services group Steria and the Cabinet Office, with the aim of cutting the costs of the UK government's back office functions.

The joint venture handles commercially sensitive documents in procurement and tendering, as well as finance and personnel services for departments including the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Defra and the Environment Agency.

The PCS says all 105 former DWP staff in Cardiff will be made redundant as will the 239 former DWP staff at the firm's Sheffield office.

The office in Leeds will also close, with all 68 former Environment Agency workers being made redundant.

Job losses will also take place at SSCL offices in Blackpool, Newcastle, Peterborough and York, according to PCS.

'Cynical move '

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Not only is this devastating for the individuals who face being thrown out of work, it will be a major blow for local economies losing hundreds more jobs.

"Despite the government's recent claim that it wants businesses to bring jobs back to the UK, ministers appear happy to send civil service work overseas in a cynical move to exploit the inferior pay and employment conditions that workers abroad face."

PCS held a one-day strike outside the offices in October 2013 ahead of the announcement of the 10-year contract going to Steria.

Workers at the Cardiff office confirmed to BBC Wales that they had been told about its closure and the job losses, saying they were very upset about it.

In a statement, SSCL said: "We are entering a consultation period with our employees.

"We are looking at ways to mitigate job losses and the final number of job losses will not be confirmed until this process of consultation and exploration of redeployment opportunities has been concluded."

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