– By Tim Lezard A new private company part-owned by the government and set up to run civil service back office functions has announced more than 500 redundancies, the PCS says. Shared Services Connected Ltd was established in November to take over the …

Walton Pantland Europe, UK, PCS,

– By Tim Lezard

A new private company part-owned by the government and set up to run civil service back office functions has announced more than 500 redundancies, the PCS says.

Shared Services Connected Ltd was established in November to take over the running of services that handle the sensitive personal data of tens of thousands of civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency.

It also includes handling commercially sensitive information relating to government contracts and tendering.

In a move wholly opposed by the union, Steria – which owns a 75% stake in the new firm – has already stated it will look to send some of the work overseas.

Now it has announced that three of its sites – Cardiff, Leeds and Sheffield – will close later this year and more than 500 jobs from these offices and others will go. The company has refused to rule out further cuts and office closures in future.

SSCL is the second initiative under government plans for ‘shared services’ – the provision of back office functions such as human resources, payroll, procurement and IT.

The first saw the Department for Transport’s shared services centre sold off to contractor Arvato last year.

The Ministry of Justice recently announced it plans to join one of these two contracts, despite a previous commitment to keeping its shared services centre – which includes the Home Office – in-house.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Not only is this devastating for the individuals who face being thrown out of work, it will be a major blow for local economies losing hundreds more jobs.

“Despite the government’s recent claim that it wants businesses to bring jobs back to the UK, ministers appear happy to send civil service work overseas in a cynical move to exploit the inferior pay and employment conditions that workers abroad face.”

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Walton Pantland

South African trade unionist living in Glasgow. Loves whisky, wine, running and the great outdoors. Walton did an MA in Industrial Relations at Ruskin, Oxford, and is interested in how trade unions use new technology to organise.

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