Unite, the UK’s largest union, has described the announcement today (18 June) that troubled outsourcing giant Capita has been awarded the contract for the privatisation of Ministry of Defence (MoD) firefighters and defence workers as ‘wrong-headed and alarming’ and that the government has learnt nothing from Carillion’s collapse 

Capita beat Serco to be awarded the contract. Capita has been forced to borrow over £700 million after racking up losses of £513 million last year. 

MoD firefighters and defence workers are employed in both civilian and military roles and are responsible for ensuring the safety of military bases both in the UK and abroad. There are between 1,500–2,000 workers affected by this decision. The workers also have to protect military equipment in war zones. 

It is also deeply concerning that bases operated by the United States are excluded from the contract. 

Unite national officer for the MoD Jim Kennedy said: “This decision is deeply alarming and entirely wrong-headed. It demonstrates that the government has learnt exactly nothing from the collapse of Carillion. 

“There is absolutely no business case for these essential and highly dedicated workers to have their jobs outsourced and privatised. The government remains addicted to the failed model of privatising and outsourcing. 

“Serious questions need to be asked about why privatisation is ok for British bases but not for American bases. Are British bases less important or does the government believe that they need a lower level of security? 

“Capita’s financial woes raise deep concerns about whether they are capable of successfully running this contract for its duration. 

“Unite will now be ensuring that jobs are not cut and that the pay and conditions of our members are not squeezed in order to boost Capita’s profits. There is no way that such essential roles can be provided on the cheap.” 

The military bases affected include submarine bases, airfields, ammunition and munition sites. 


Notes to editors: 

 For more information please contact Unite communications officer Barckley Sumner on 020 3371 2067 or 07802 329235. 

Email: barckley.sumner@unitetheunion.org 

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.