Unite has branded the Ministry of Defence’s privatisation of its firefighter service ‘a complete shambles’ and vowed to ensure its members are fully protected, after the MoD agreed a last minute deal with Serco which will allow the outsourcing of the service to Capita.
Despite warnings about the safety of military bases, equipment and concerns over the ever increasing costs of the process, the MoD has driven ahead with the privatisation of its firefighters and defence workers.
In June last year, the outsourced contract for the firefighting service was awarded in highly controversial circumstances to troubled outsourcer Capita, despite the company experiencing severe financial difficulties.
However the privatisation process was halted after another outsourcer Serco, which lost out to Capita, tabled a legal challenge.
The MoD was due to challenge the decision to delay the awarding of the contract in the High Court tomorrow (May 8), but the hearing was cancelled after a last minute deal was agreed with Serco.
As a result Capita has now been given the green light to take over the management of 2,000 personnel based at 53 bases in the UK and overseas.
However, since the contract was awarded there have been no discussions between Unite which represents the workforce and Capita about the transfer and the implementation of the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment (TUPE) regulations.
Unite will ensure that its members are fully protected throughout the transfer process.
“The entire MoD firefighter privatisation process has been a costly shambles from beginning to end and as a result thousands and probably millions is going to be spent in compensation to private outsourcers,” said Unite regional officer Caren Evans.
“The decision to privatise the MoD firefighters was completely without operational merit and is a result of the government’s ideological obsession with selling off vital public services,” she added.
“This is a further example of Bandit Capitalism and yet again demonstrates the government has learnt nothing from the Carillion and Interserve fiascos and remains entirely wedded to the broken outsourcing model which benefits nobody.
“Unite will now ensure that our members whose working lives have been in limbo, throughout this entire sordid process, are fully protected.
“Unite will not allow the MoD and Capita to rush through this botched privatisation if that is to the detriment of our members in any shape or form.”