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Defra jobs threat is "madness", says MP
PLANS to move York civil service jobs overseas have been labelled “madness” by one of the city’s MPs.
York Central MP Hugh Bayley has now held talks with the staff over the proposals to hive off many of their duties to the private sector - including a preferred French bidder.
He has been told by the civil servants that 170 local posts could be in jeopardy because of the new approach, which would involve creating five Independent centres to handle the work.
Towards the end of the year, they are expected take over services such as HR, payroll, procurement, and finance and two of them would be completely independent of the civil service.
Steria UK (a French multinational) has been announced as the preferred bidder.
Mr Bayley has written to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, calling for guarantees that civil service work will not be transferred to other countries.
He said: “The staff have had very little information about what is happening to their jobs. They believe they could be transferred to a private company within days and have not been given any information about their pay or conditions.
“It does not make any sense at all for the Government to make people in the UK redundant and then sending the work to other countries. We should put our country and British jobs first.
“It is incredible that the Coalition Government is thinking that work carried out for the British Government should be auctioned off to other countries. ”
His letter underlines that many of the people who work for Defra have worked for the Civil Service for many years. It continues: “They are proud of the contribution they make and do not want the service to be privatised or to lose their civil service status.”
Mr Bayley is concerned they have not been given the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy.
“There does not appear to have been any meaningful consultation,” he added.
“The people employed by Defra in York contribute to the local and national economy. I do not see what the long term benefit would be if these people lost their jobs to create jobs in other countries.”
The Government has defended the changes as a package of reforms, which aims to consolidate and deliver Government back office functions more efficiently.
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