28 September 2006. Prospect, the union for 20,000 specialists in defence, today announced that members in the Defence Logistics Organisation and Defence Procurement Agency had voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over proposals to relocate 21,000 DLO staff to DPA headquarters near Bristol. The action will begin on October 16.
“Little or no evidence has been offered by MOD to demonstrate that the improvements in performance projected will be delivered. The defence unions have developed an alternative that delivers similar improvements without impact on support to the frontline. It offers lower risks and has the benefit of the support of staff.
“With our armed forces already overstretched, now is not the time for major upheaval in logistical support,” said national secretary Steve Jary. “The Defence Secretary and the department must now take the opportunity to develop the alternative we have put forward.”
Four hundred members affected by the plans will begin a work-to-rule, working conditioned hours only, with strict adherence to job descriptions, no working out of grade, a ban on overtime and strict compliance with health and safety regulations. PCS members also voted to take similar action.
Jary said the proposals were unsound on several grounds:
Underestimation of risk – including loss of support to the frontline during implementation, the loss of experienced and highly qualified staff that choose not to relocate and the inability to recruit new staff. Costs associated with the project have been seriously underestimated – savings identified cannot be guaranteed or are insignificant in the face of the loss of expertise already identified by the union. The plans do not reflect best practice and clash with other MOD initiatives.
MOD’s proposals, due to take place over the next three years, are intended to create an ‘acquisition hub’ in the Bath/Bristol area and save £10m a year. Key sites affected which are taking action include Andover, Brampton, Caversfield, Foxhill, Telford, RAF Wyton and Yeovilton.