Opinion Former Article

PCS: Cuts to defence jobs will damage the frontline and communities

Today's strategic defence and security review announcement will do untold damage to the Ministry of Defence and will weaken the frontline in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, the Public and Commercial Services union says.

While the union welcomes the scrapping of the defence training review, the loss of 25,000 civilian jobs by 2015 in what has been an ill-thought out, secretive review will mean misery for those communities that will be hit hard if their local MoD sites close. The number of job losses could double as the private sector suffers the aftermath of MoD site closures, the union says.

Forty-two thousand people who have given loyal service to the armed forces and Ministry of Defence - including 7,000 from the Army, 5,000 in the Royal Navy and 5,000 Royal Air Force - were effectively sacked by the prime minister live on television, the union says. After the announcement, PCS pledged full support to staff in their campaign against these cuts and the union will be looking to work with politicians and community groups to co-ordinate the widest possible opposition.

PCS believes one job lost or one site closed is too many. The union has published a pamphlet outlining an alternative to cuts in public spending which says the government should invest in public services to generate economic growth. It also points out that tackling the £120 billion in tax that is avoided, evaded or uncollected every year would change the debate about the public finances overnight.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "If 25,000 job losses in the Ministry of Defence is what is happening in a so-called protected department, the remaining cuts to be announced in the spending review will be truly devastating. We have serious concerns for the damaging effect these cuts will have on the ability of civilian staff in the MoD to support our armed forces."

ENDS

Notes

- For interviews and comment please contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216, and for further information contact Chris Dando, PCS Ministry of Defence group president, on 07769 938962, or Bob Rollings, MoD group secretary, on 07734 494638

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, as well as staff in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter http://twitter.com/pcs_union

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