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Civil servants go on strike in York
CIVIL servants in York who claim some of their work will go overseas under privatisation plans have gone on strike.
About 100 members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working at Defra’s Kings Pool complex in Peasholme Green launched a day’s industrial action this morning. (fri) They were protesting against Government proposals for French multinational Steria to take over government support functions, including human resources and finance, in departments including Defra.
The union claimed that Steria and the Cabinet Office had confirmed that the move would mean some of the employee’s work – including sensitive payroll and procurement details – would be offshored.
The Press reported earlier this month that 171 employees at Kings Pool were affected by the change. Employees said they wanted to remain in the civil service and keep their work in Britain.
The PCS claimed today that the offshoring plan, which formed part of the bidding process, flew in the face of a previous ministerial commitment that existing employment would not go overseas and that contractors would be urged to invest in the UK.
General secretary Mark Serwotka said: "From day one, ministers have pushed for this work to go overseas, putting jobs at risk and threatening the security of sensitive financial information.
"We will not stand by and watch while yet another piece of the civil service is parcelled up and handed to a private company to make a profit."
A union spokesman said the strike was being held under a mandate from the union's ongoing national industrial action campaign over jobs, pay and pensions, and did not require a separate ballot.
Steria has declined to comment previously on the union claims, while the Cabinet Office has said: "The Civil Service is moving to be faster, smaller and more unified and sharing services is a central part of this.
“The Next Generation Shared Services Strategy sets out a new model to share HR, procurement, finance and payroll functions with five centres instead of the current eight in order to deliver more efficient and cost-effective services. The process of selecting a private sector joint venture partner for the second of the two independent centres has commenced and an announcement will be made in due course."
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