Union has 'significant concerns' for IT jobs at Ministry of Defence

The Public and Commercial Services union is threatening industrial action over a CSC outsourcing deal with MoD.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has concerns about the job security of staff at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) pay and pensions administration after an IT contract shifted from HP to lowest bidder CSC.

The union also has concerns about CSC’s suitability for running the contract following its disastrous work on the NHS National Programme for IT.

CSC was named as preferred bidder for the MoD’s Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) earlier this month, and the PCS has expressed its concerns over how CSC will carry out the work at the cost it put forward in the bid. 

“It would be impossible for CSC to make the proposed cost savings without significantly reducing the associated staffing costs. PCS has significant concerns for members’ jobs and conditions if these costs saving are to be realised and delivered by CSC," said the union in a statement.

"If we are unable to secure guarantees on jobs and conditions for members in the short term, we will raise our issues politically and through the media, and industrial action cannot be ruled out at this stage."

PCS also highlighted a comment made by prime minister David Cameron in May last year, when he said, "There are no plans to sign any new contracts with CSC", following the problems on the NHS contract.CSC was forced to write off $1.5bn as a result of its involvement in the NHS IT programme.

“CSC does not appear to have any meaningful track record of delivering BPO [business process outsourcing] type work for central government in the UK so the difficulties CSC faced around the NHS contract will certainly be cause for concern for members,” said the PCS.

“If CSC is expected to bring in new IT systems to deliver a more efficient approach to our work then the track record of CSC in delivering such new IT systems is significantly in question and poses a significant risk for the MoD, especially in light of the problems from the NHS IT contract.”

The union will oppose the contract if it is not good for members, which could put the deal at risk of not being completed. In March last year Fujitsu withdrew from a £300m desktop contract with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) when it could not meet certain obligations.

Workers at CSC in the UK held a lunchtime protest  over the company’s redundancy policy this week. Members of the Unite union at CSC in Chesterfield, Chorley, Leeds and Solihull took to the streets in protest at CSC’s refusal to listen to proposals which will mitigate any compulsory redundancies related to its work at the NHS.

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