A UNION has expressed fears for the future of 1,000 civil service jobs in Newport, following confirmation that the posts could be sent off-shore to countries like India.

Staff at the UK Government-run Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Shared Services centre at Celtic Springs Business Park, Newport, were told today that their jobs could be privatised if a deal is done with French I.T. company Steria in August.

The Argus understands 700 people performing back-room functions like payroll and human resources are employed full-time at the centre, with 300 others doing the same jobs on temporary contracts.

They also have around 130 colleagues in Bootle, Merseyside, and do work for the likes of the probation service, the Home Office and the courts and prisons service.

Around half the workforce are members for the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union and plan to walk out all day on Monday, June 30, in protest against the plans.

PCS officials have told the Argus that, of three options available, the UK Government favours Steria's business plan which involves off-shoring the jobs to other countries, such as India where one of its subsidiaries, Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL), already runs an NHS call-centre.

SSCL is 75 per cent owned by Steria, with the UK Government retaining a quarter.

However, the deal has not officially been made and if the plans are finalised it will not take place until August, said full-time PCS official Keith Johnston.

The union will push for guarantees that the jobs will stay in Britain, he said.

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the department is considering options for the future delivery of back office admin services.

"All options will be evaluated to make sure they provide value for taxpayers' money," she said. "We will work with staff, trade unions and other stakeholders to assess any impacts on staff."