PCS and Prospect say proposals will create more problems than solutions

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Unions have condemned government plans to privatise the UK’s defence equipment and support organisations.

The PCS says the pursuit of private profit has no place in the provision of such important services in the MoD, while Prospect says the move will cause more problems than it solves.

Defence secretary Philip Hammond yesterday announced a consultation into privatising the organisation and, as part of that, agreed to talk to unions – a claim met with cynicism by the PCS who pointed out he had not once met unions since taking over from Liam Fox in October.

The PCS says there are also risks of a conflict of interest because the eventual contract holder is likely to already be a major supplier to the MoD, and it could lead to other suppliers being unwilling to share their technical knowledge and specifications.

The high costs identified by the government of providing defence support are largely down to a previous decision by the MoD to abandon its evaluation of contracts and contractors, but this will not be solved by allowing a private company to run the services in their entirety.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Once again this Tory-led government has fallen back on its default position that the private sector knows best. The G4S Olympics fiasco is a timely reminder that the pursuit of private profit is incompatible with providing essential public services.”

Prospect national secretary Steve Jary said: “Industry is not convinced by the approach and does not understand why MoD cannot reform the procurement process from within.  It would be better if DE&S was allowed to nurture its own talent and pay staff appropriately, rather than being instructed to cut its staff by 30%, which has been its main focus for the past two years.”

 


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