CIVIL servants in Newport are “fearful and uncertain” over the possibility their jobs might be privatised, one of the city’s MPs told the Commons yesterday.
Newport East MP Jessica Morden told the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, Francis Maude, that confirmation given that 1,000 jobs at the UK Government’s Shared Services centre at Celtic Springs Business Park could be taken over by an IT company had been unsettling.
Earlier this week Ms Morden called the move “a disgrace”.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which make up about half of the Newport workforce, are set to strike next Monday in protest of the move.
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith also asked Mr Maude to look again at the plans.
On Monday, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) told workers in Newport that their jobs could be privatised if the government strikes a deal with French company Steria.
But Mr Maude said the plans were “part of efficiency savings” and said that the shared service company the MOJ plans to use, Shared Services Connected Ltd, “will look carefully at all the facilities and will want to concentrate activity at the most effective and efficient ones”.
He added he saw “absolutely no reason why Newport’s should not be among those.”
Staff carry out work for the probation service, the Home Office and the courts and prison service in Newport. It is understood about 700 people work on payroll and human resources facilities on full-time contracts and another 300 are on temporary contracts.
But Ms Morden was rebuked for attacking what she said was David Cameron’s “hypocrisy” after he claimed the UK is becoming an “onshoring nation” when jobs currently based here might be lost to other countries. She withdrew the comment after being told by the Commons' Speaker that her claim could not be made against an individual minister.
In February, the Argus reported that Shared Serviced Connected Ltd, which is 25 per cent owned by the government, had committed to no compulsory redundancies in the first six months if its bid to take over the MOJ Shared Services was chosen.
PCS official Keith Johnston told the Argus earlier in the week that the UK Government favours Steria’s proposal, which includes off-shoring jobs. He said plans are unlikely to be finalised until August.