Fears for 250 jobs

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union
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Hundreds of civil service jobs in Blackpool are under threat from government cost-saving measures, union bosses have claimed.

Almost 250 workers at the Department for Work and Pensions in Blackpool face an uncertain future as part of privatisation plans, according to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

The Cabinet Office has singled out a French firm, Steria, which it hopes will take over responsibility for human resources and finance services – handling sensitive personal information.

But the PCS has said it has “grave concerns” over the plans to offshore these shared services – which involves a number of Government departments, including the DWP.

It claims 1,200 UK workers are immediately affected, more than a fifth of them based in Blackpool.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We have grave concerns, not only about the security of people’s jobs, but also about work going overseas. Now we know why the Cabinet Office was unwilling to rule out offshoring but we are not going to allow this to go unchallenged.”

A cabinet office spokesman said: “The Civil Service is moving to be faster, smaller and more unified and sharing services is a central part of this.

“The Next Generation Shared Services Strategy sets out a new model to share HR, procurement, finance and payroll functions with five centres instead of the current eight in order to deliver more efficient and cost-effective services.

“We can confirm that Steria Ltd has been selected as the preferred bidder to be the joint venture private sector partner of Shared Services Connected Ltd. This does not mean that a contract has been awarded as negotiations are continuing and details remain confidential for commercial reasons.

“An announcement will be made in due course.”