Newport workers strike over privatisation threat

South Wales Argus: Ministry of Justice workers at a picket line protest about possible job losses (7662573) Ministry of Justice workers at a picket line protest about possible job losses (7662573)

STAFF who fear their jobs maybe under threat as part of a potential government privatisation plan went on strike yesterday.

Workers at the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Shared Service centre at Celtic Springs Business Park were told last week that their jobs could be privatised if a deal is done with French outsourcing company Steria in August.

Of about 1,000 workers at the centre, 300 PCS (Public and Commercial Services) union members were on strike while about 60 workers attended a picket line which was visited by Newport MPs Paul Flynn and Jessica Morden.

The centre undertakes administrative work for government for the prison services, the court service, probation service and has recently taken work for the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

The PCS said the UK Government favours Steria’s plan to offshore jobs to India where one of the company’s subsidiaries, Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL), runs an NHS call-centre.

SSCL is 75 per cent owned by Steria. The UK Government owns the further 25 per cent.

Keith Johnston from the PCS said: “We think it is the second or third largest employer behind the hospital and the council and it would be a massive blow to the economy if it was shut down.

“The employment make up of this city cannot take that hit.”

While Mr Flynn said the centre had saved the government £32 million in two years after it opened in 2006.

He said: “They have multiplied that surplus every years taking on new contracts. Why penalize success? Why savage the Newport economy to offshore jobs to other countries?”

Mark and Sarah McCool, who both work at the centre, married two months ago and have two children, said they were worried their jobs would be insecure if Steria take control of the centre

Mrs McCool said of Steria: “They are a French company who have no loyalty to keep British jobs. They have no loyalty to Britain.

“They have facilities to just start up and move it to India. That is what they did with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) in Cardiff.”

The DWP announced in January that their were to close their one of their offices and move work across the city.

Other strikes around the country were held to protest over the MOJ’s plans. At a sister site in Bootle, Liverpool from 120 workers there, 118 decided to strike. Only one worker turned up for work.

And Ms Morden said: “What I found amazing is the people who have never been on strike (are striking). It shows how strongly they feel.”

She said she will be asking a question about the Shared Service Centre in Parliament today.

Of the centre’s workers, the Argus understands there are 700 people employed full-time and 300 others are on temporary contracts.

In a statement, the MOJ said: "The vast majority of our shared services staff went to work as normal and no problems have been reported.

"Contingency plans are in place and we have been able to continue providing services to all staff."

Comments (6)

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6:41pm Mon 30 Jun 14

anigel says...

Funnily enough, no one ever seeks to privatise or outsource well run efficient and economical services. If the service is however bloated, poor quality and expensive then it is always worth considering.
Funnily enough, no one ever seeks to privatise or outsource well run efficient and economical services. If the service is however bloated, poor quality and expensive then it is always worth considering. anigel
  • Score: -16

1:58am Tue 1 Jul 14

Howie' says...

Hang on to your hats – here’s an example of government incompetence and downright corruption that’s so extreme it’s bordering on the surreal.

In 2011, the coalition government asked French firm STERIA to set up a £116m IT programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants.

But now the coalition government has decided to write off £56m of taxpayers’ money after the project was deemed to be late, over budget and obsolete.

Another IT project has been set up in its place outsourced to another private firm called Shared Services Connected Limited.

Which is 75% owned by STERIA.

In other words. The government have written off a failed project run by a private firm (STERIA) and decided to hand it over to another company (STERIA) owned by the same firm (STERIA).

And on top of that – STERIA have decided to outsource British jobs to India, Poland and Morocco.

Obviously, this shipping of British jobs abroad should be a big scandal. But it won’t be.

It should also be something both the Right and Left are united in condemning. But it won’t be.

It won’t be for the simple fact that – with the exception of the unions involved – very few people seem to know anything at all about it.

Obviously, if Cameron and co outsourcing British jobs abroad at taxpayers’ expense were ever to become front page news – it could be extremely damaging for the governing parties at the next election.

So better keep it to ourselves then.
Hang on to your hats – here’s an example of government incompetence and downright corruption that’s so extreme it’s bordering on the surreal. In 2011, the coalition government asked French firm STERIA to set up a £116m IT programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants. But now the coalition government has decided to write off £56m of taxpayers’ money after the project was deemed to be late, over budget and obsolete. Another IT project has been set up in its place outsourced to another private firm called Shared Services Connected Limited. Which is 75% owned by STERIA. In other words. The government have written off a failed project run by a private firm (STERIA) and decided to hand it over to another company (STERIA) owned by the same firm (STERIA). And on top of that – STERIA have decided to outsource British jobs to India, Poland and Morocco. Obviously, this shipping of British jobs abroad should be a big scandal. But it won’t be. It should also be something both the Right and Left are united in condemning. But it won’t be. It won’t be for the simple fact that – with the exception of the unions involved – very few people seem to know anything at all about it. Obviously, if Cameron and co outsourcing British jobs abroad at taxpayers’ expense were ever to become front page news – it could be extremely damaging for the governing parties at the next election. So better keep it to ourselves then. Howie'
  • Score: 18

8:47am Tue 1 Jul 14

Mr Angry says...

Howie' wrote:
Hang on to your hats – here’s an example of government incompetence and downright corruption that’s so extreme it’s bordering on the surreal. In 2011, the coalition government asked French firm STERIA to set up a £116m IT programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants. But now the coalition government has decided to write off £56m of taxpayers’ money after the project was deemed to be late, over budget and obsolete. Another IT project has been set up in its place outsourced to another private firm called Shared Services Connected Limited. Which is 75% owned by STERIA. In other words. The government have written off a failed project run by a private firm (STERIA) and decided to hand it over to another company (STERIA) owned by the same firm (STERIA). And on top of that – STERIA have decided to outsource British jobs to India, Poland and Morocco. Obviously, this shipping of British jobs abroad should be a big scandal. But it won’t be. It should also be something both the Right and Left are united in condemning. But it won’t be. It won’t be for the simple fact that – with the exception of the unions involved – very few people seem to know anything at all about it. Obviously, if Cameron and co outsourcing British jobs abroad at taxpayers’ expense were ever to become front page news – it could be extremely damaging for the governing parties at the next election. So better keep it to ourselves then.
That is a well reserched, written post, backed up by facts and statistics and does not rant or insult anyone.

It clearly has no place on an Argus comments thread.
[quote][p][bold]Howie'[/bold] wrote: Hang on to your hats – here’s an example of government incompetence and downright corruption that’s so extreme it’s bordering on the surreal. In 2011, the coalition government asked French firm STERIA to set up a £116m IT programme to help run staffing, procurement and payroll services for 90,000 civil servants. But now the coalition government has decided to write off £56m of taxpayers’ money after the project was deemed to be late, over budget and obsolete. Another IT project has been set up in its place outsourced to another private firm called Shared Services Connected Limited. Which is 75% owned by STERIA. In other words. The government have written off a failed project run by a private firm (STERIA) and decided to hand it over to another company (STERIA) owned by the same firm (STERIA). And on top of that – STERIA have decided to outsource British jobs to India, Poland and Morocco. Obviously, this shipping of British jobs abroad should be a big scandal. But it won’t be. It should also be something both the Right and Left are united in condemning. But it won’t be. It won’t be for the simple fact that – with the exception of the unions involved – very few people seem to know anything at all about it. Obviously, if Cameron and co outsourcing British jobs abroad at taxpayers’ expense were ever to become front page news – it could be extremely damaging for the governing parties at the next election. So better keep it to ourselves then.[/p][/quote]That is a well reserched, written post, backed up by facts and statistics and does not rant or insult anyone. It clearly has no place on an Argus comments thread. Mr Angry
  • Score: 15

11:04am Tue 1 Jul 14

Howie' says...

I see none of the 'Private good, Public bad' mob have tried to justify this Mr A. Strange how the right wing press don't obsess over this type of thing rather than the usual drip, drip of false indignation against the worst of in Society and migrants.
I see none of the 'Private good, Public bad' mob have tried to justify this Mr A. Strange how the right wing press don't obsess over this type of thing rather than the usual drip, drip of false indignation against the worst of in Society and migrants. Howie'
  • Score: 5

4:33pm Tue 1 Jul 14

-trigg- says...

Excellence and innovation within the public sector should be rewarded, not outsourced to the private sector. Otherwise you are simply left with all the worst stafff working for the government with all the inefficiency and bloated costs that brings, so I am broadly in favour of the aims of this strike.

However, with 1000 jobs on the line and 300 members of the particular union organising the strike, I would expect far more than 60 people on the picket line. Were the other 240 union members taking advantage of having an extra day off (albeit unpaid)?
Excellence and innovation within the public sector should be rewarded, not outsourced to the private sector. Otherwise you are simply left with all the worst stafff working for the government with all the inefficiency and bloated costs that brings, so I am broadly in favour of the aims of this strike. However, with 1000 jobs on the line and 300 members of the particular union organising the strike, I would expect far more than 60 people on the picket line. Were the other 240 union members taking advantage of having an extra day off (albeit unpaid)? -trigg-
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Newportg says...

-trigg- wrote:
Excellence and innovation within the public sector should be rewarded, not outsourced to the private sector. Otherwise you are simply left with all the worst stafff working for the government with all the inefficiency and bloated costs that brings, so I am broadly in favour of the aims of this strike.

However, with 1000 jobs on the line and 300 members of the particular union organising the strike, I would expect far more than 60 people on the picket line. Were the other 240 union members taking advantage of having an extra day off (albeit unpaid)?
I would imagine that there's a limit on the amount of pickets you're allowed.
[quote][p][bold]-trigg-[/bold] wrote: Excellence and innovation within the public sector should be rewarded, not outsourced to the private sector. Otherwise you are simply left with all the worst stafff working for the government with all the inefficiency and bloated costs that brings, so I am broadly in favour of the aims of this strike. However, with 1000 jobs on the line and 300 members of the particular union organising the strike, I would expect far more than 60 people on the picket line. Were the other 240 union members taking advantage of having an extra day off (albeit unpaid)?[/p][/quote]I would imagine that there's a limit on the amount of pickets you're allowed. Newportg
  • Score: 1

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