Civil service staff in Alnwick are set to strike on Friday as talks over job losses have broken down, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has announced.
Workers at Defra’s Lion House, on Willowburn Trading Estate, will take part in the walk-out as it was announced that 41 jobs were at risk due to a Government part-privatisation.
The PCS has opposed the sell-off, to French multinational Steria, of a range of several government departments’ support functions, including human resources and finance, due to be finalised on 1 November.
The company and the Cabinet Office have confirmed the move will mean some of the work – including sensitive payroll and procurement details – will be offshored.
Around the UK 1,200 staff are affected from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
The offshore plan, which formed part of the bidding process, flies in the face of a previous ministerial commitment that existing employment would not go overseas and that contractors would be urged to invest in the UK.
The privatisation of what is called shared services is being led by the Defra and DWP, and includes other smaller departments and agencies with more expected to join at a later date.
Friday’s strike also affects offices in Newcastle Blackpool, Cardiff, Sheffield and York.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “From day one, ministers have pushed for this work to go overseas, putting jobs at risk and threatening the security of sensitive financial information.
“We will not stand by and watch while yet another piece of the civil service is parcelled up and handed to a private company to make a profit.”