South West Wales

Transport staff in Swansea in privatisation protest

Civil servants at a government office in Swansea held a protest against plans to privatise their work.

There are plans to sell The Department for Transport service centre which employs 260 staff at Llansamlet.

Unions said the move opposed by workers was "completely unjustified" and would lead to job losses in the future.

UK Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said it would reduce costs, secure the centre's future in the city and could lead to more jobs at the site.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) protested on Friday.

The centre at Sandringham Park provides back office services for the department such as HR, payroll and finance.

A notice has been issued to alert potential bidders.

New owner

PCS industrial officer Mike Hallinan said the protest sends a "clear message" staff are strongly opposed to the planned sell-off.

"Privatisation is completely unjustified in terms of efficiency, as shared services staff have consistently provided a reliable and effective service in-house," he said.

"Privatisation would remove these services from any democratic accountability and could mean the loss of valuable jobs from Swansea in the longer term."

But, announcing the plans, Mr Hammond said in the private sector the centre would continue to work for government departments and could end up employing more staff.

He said it was part of the UK Government's plans to simplify and standardise back office services.

"A fully utilised centre would help reduce costs to the department as well as bringing greater job opportunities to Swansea and Wales as a whole."

"Once sold [it] will become one of a small number of centres that will provide back office services to government departments."

He expects the new owner to take over in late 2012.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites