Consultation urged over fate of 2,200 jobs at RAF bases
AS thousands of Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) staff at RAF Wyton and Brampton await news of the fate of their jobs late next month, local MPs have urged the Armed Forces Minister to meet trade unions. Employees, who are angry at what they say is ba
AS thousands of Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) staff at RAF Wyton and Brampton await news of the fate of their jobs late next month, local MPs have urged the Armed Forces Minister to meet trade unions.
Employees, who are angry at what they say is barely a token consultation, already know that 700 jobs will be transferred to the Bristol area over the next five years and that RAF Brampton will close.
But the fate of the remaining 2,200 posts hangs in the balance as RAF chiefs decide how to implement the DLO's merger with the Defence Procurement Agency. DLO chief, Air Vice-Marshal David Rennison, last month promised a decision by the end of September.
Now four MPs have agreed to write to Ministers urging proper consultation on what the unions say is a suspect business case for the move to the south-west.
MPs Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon), Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire), James Paice (Cambridgeshire South East), and Malcolm Moss (North East Cambridgeshire) have all promised to ask the Minister for the Armed Forces, Adam Ingram, to meet trades union officials from RAF Wyton.
"We are not trying to stop this proposal from going ahead simply because our jobs are at stake," said Angela Powell, chairman of the local branch of the Public and Commercial Services. "We are trying to stop this because it is not right. It is not right to hoodwink the taxpayers in this way, and pretend that defence costs will be kept under control as a result of these plans."
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In his letter to Mr Ingram, Mr Djanogly said the original capital cost of moving the DLO from Harrogate to Wyton in 1995 was based on projected savings over a 25-year period.
"This cannot be achieved with a second relocation to Bristol. Has this been factored into the business case?" he asked. "I have written to your department over recent years to complain at the poor level of consultation that the Wyton workforce have experienced and I am now very concerned about the lack of consultation on these proposals.
"I do also agree that the business case as it stands raises more questions than it answers. That such poor consultation is being carried out is in some ways making the picture more, rather than less confusing. I believe that urgent clarification is now required."
The MP demanded that the Government provide details of the proposed move to the Bristol area, the future of the Brampton site and the shift of work to Wyton to reduce uncertainty for employees at both bases.
He said he had also received a letter from Tom Watson MP (another MOD Minister), dealing with the flying training that takes place at RAF Wyton. "Again, I cannot understand what is intended from this letter. In March 2006, your department wrote to me to say that, following a review, such flight training would continue from Wyton.
"You now tell me that there is a further review to take place, to report in August. Does this mean that flying training could now be stopped at Wyton?" he asked.
"As things stand, I have thousands of constituents who are currently very worried about their futures and I do not feel that they are being treated fairly by your department.