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Privatisation: Companies Blasted For Job Losses

Police contractors Steria and G4S, which are both reducing police staff numbers, are criticised at Unison event

Two private contractors in the Police Service have been slammed at a trade union conference after announcing further job losses to police staff.

G4S is still carrying out a consultation with former Lincolnshire Police staff – with assets, fleet and support service departments facing a decision over the latest cuts, it was heard.

Meanwhile, members criticised Cleveland Police partner, Steria, which may have to make compulsory redundancies as it looks to get rid of 30 posts.

The company, which entered a 10-year agreement with the police authority to provide services including ICT, finance, and control room support , had included provision in its contract to avoid compulsory redundancies “for the duration of the agreement”.

But it has been forced to backtrack after the police authority failed to transfer as many services into its remit as it originally promised – meaning additional savings must be made.

Welfare Officer for Cleveland Police branch at Unison, Sue Lech, said the future looked “bleak” with Steria.

She told Unison’s Police and Justice Conference: “The company are actually haemorrhaging cash.

“They have started voluntary redundancy and compulsory redundancy negotiations.

“Take heed – privatisation is not the way forward.”

More than 500 police staff transferred into the employment of each company after contracts were signed with their respective police authorities. Around 400 staff, meanwhile, remained in the employment of the forces.

The conference heard that G4S had taken to consulting individual departments – as part of an all round consultation process – and focusing on the savings needed for each one.

Secretary for Lincolnshire Police branch at Unison, Deborah Parker said: “We have just gone out and briefed staff about the proposals.

“The decision then needs to go to the command group to be signed off – that hasn’t happened yet.”

Previously it had been announced that around 60 posts across all organisational support departments would be lost at Lincolnshire Police.

However a G4S spokesman said “no decisions had been made”.
He added: “We have always been clear that as part of the efficiency savings that we are making at Lincolnshire Police, a number of roles would be at risk.

“As part of this reorganisation, we are likely to lose a number of jobs but some will be offset by the creation of newly created roles.

“Where reductions are made, we will looking to natural wastage or deploying people elsewhere in the first instance.

“We continue to consult with Lincolnshire Police and Unison about the progress of the proposed changes.”

A joint statement from Steria and Cleveland Police Authority added: “We do not underestimate the impact that this decision will have on those affected, some of whom have worked within the police family for many years.

“The decision is not a reflection of their work or the contribution they have made to the success of Cleveland Police.

“Discussions and formal consultation with both the staff affected and union representatives are currently taking place.”

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