GMB Call Off Strikes Over Zero Hours Dispute On Serco Mod Contract As Ex Gurkha Members Accept Improved Offer
GMB understand that Serco do employ other staff on zero hours contacts when undertaking this vital work training army recruits and this is not acceptable
GMB issued a further statement on the dispute with Serco over zero hours for members employed on contract for MOD to train the British army. See notes to editors for previous release with details of the dispute.
Paul Maloney, GMB Regional Secretary, said “Serco made an improved offer which was put to a meeting of GMB members yesterday. After a full discussion the offer was accepted.
GMB has therefore called off the strikes due this week and next week.
However the meeting expressed concerns over the employment standards offered by Serco to other staff working on Contemporary Operating Environment Force (COEFOR) training and support contract for MOD and on any successor contracts.
GMB will continue to monitor these employment standards.
GMB understand that Serco do employ other staff on zero hours contacts when undertaking this vital work training army recruits.
GMB will actively recruit and organize the staff undertaking this vital work to ensure that they are not exploited by Serco or its sub-contractors.
Such contracts are not acceptable and are contrary to understandings GMB was given when Serco took over this work for MOD.
It is totally unacceptable for MOD to wash their hands of this. GMB will ensure that MPs are in possession of the facts to hold Serco and MOD to account.”
Contact GMB Press Office 07921 289880 or Anne Chandler 01489 578665 and 07712 677592 or Paul Maloney 07801 343839
Notes to editors
GMB press release 22 August
EX-GURKHA SOLDIERS TO PICKET MOD AND SERCO DURING STRIKES OVER ZERO HOURS CONTRACTS
That ex Gurkhas after seven years training our army should be replaced by Serco with people on zero hours contacts to do their jobs is an inexcusable outrage says GMB
Ex Gurkha soldiers GMB members, employed to train army recruits for the past seven years, will set up pickets in London, Hampshire and Wiltshire during strike action on 29th & 30th August and 3rd & 4th September over zero hours contracts.
The details are as follows:
On Salisbury Plain army camp:
At tank at entrance to Harman Lines,
In Hampshire outside Serco Head office just off Junction 5 of M3:
at Discovery House
18 Bartley Wood Business Park
Hampshire, RG27 9XA.
In London outside MOD offices in Whitehall:
Ministry of Defence
London SW1A 2HB
These members are due to be made redundant by MOD contractor Serco on 6th September 2013 after seven years training army recruits. Their work will be parcelled out to sub-contractors and others on zero hours contracts. See notes to editors for background to the dispute.
Paul Kenny, GMB Organiser, said “That ex Gurkhas after seven years training our army should be replaced by Serco with people on zero hours contacts to do their jobs is an inexcusable outrage.
That the MOD should turn their backs on those who fought for this country and say that it is entirely up to Serco how they fulfil the contract to train our armed forces is disgraceful.
Serco were recently accused of ripping off the taxpayer so they would have no hesitation ripping off the ex Gurkhas or misleading the public.
MOD cannot wash their hands of this. Outsourcing cannot be an abdication of their responsibilities. Whoever pays the piper must call the tune. ”
Notes to editors
Background to the dispute
In January 2012 Serco won a contract, worth approximately £55m, with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to deliver the Contemporary Operating Environment Force (COEFOR) training and support. Serco started work on this MOD contract in April 2012 and the contact is expected to run to 2014 and beyond. The GMB members were then TUPE transferred from G4S who employed them on this work for six years before that.
When training new army recruits these members work at various Army Camps mainly in the UK, occasionally overseas in Germany, Cyprus and other locations and do not have fixed workplaces locations.
Serco is going ahead to cut up to 100 jobs from 6th September 2013. This is in breach of a guarantee in relation to jobs and hours of work secured by GMB in December 2012 as part of the resolution to a previous dispute. Then the company proposed job losses and changing from guaranteed hours to zero hours contracts.
On 7th August these GMB members presented a petition to the Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond calling for an end to casualization of this important defence work.