Labour’s MP for Sefton Central Bill Esterson quizzed the Justice Secretary about plans to privatise parts of the Ministry of Justice in Bootle and the fears of staff about their jobs following job cuts in similar privatisations this year.
The government plans to give the contract to French owned Steria, yet this is the company involved in the controversial and costly failed IT project which led to the government writing off £56 million when it abandoned the work recently.
Privatisation of the Department for Transport and the Department for Environment administration departments saw work being outsourced to India, as soon as an agreed one-year guarantee given to staff had expired. And both the Prime Minister and the Justice Secreatary, Chris Grayling have previously given assurances that they would bring jobs back to this country and oppose further outsourcing.
The Labour MP said: "Staff at the Shared Services department in Bootle face privatisation along with those of staff in Newport.
"Given the shambolic write-off of £56million on a previous Steria contract and the job cuts which followed the last privatisation the minute that the moratorium on redundancies ran out. What confidence can my constituents have that privatisation of shared services won’t cost them not only their civil service status but their jobs as well?”
Speaking afterwards, Bill said: "Staff are really worried for their jobs and for their futures. This will have a profound effect on families and on the service being offered.
"The Justice Secretary’s answer to my question showed that he has no intention of preventing the loss of the jobs of staff at Bootle. He told me that he could not say whether jobs would be retained after privatisaion and this was after all his warm words about opposing outsourcing and after the Prime Minister had pledged to bring jobs back to this country.
"As ever with the Tories, they are only interested in profits for a small number of private companies and don’t care what happens to staff who have worked hard and done an excellent job.
"The staff are people who have served loyally for many years and who have been commended for their work. The way they are being treated appallingly and quite understandably fear for their futures.
"In other government departments, promises were made when departments were privatised last year. Yet the minute that the 12-month guaranteed period ended during which the private company with the contract promised not to sack anyone, they started the process of outsourcing jobs and making people redundant.
"This is about people’s jobs, their livelihoods and their families.
"The Tories are on the side of the very few who are making money at the expense of the staff and the wider community.
"People in Maghull, Crosby and Formby who work at the Ministry of Justice are fighting for their jobs. That’s why they went on strike for the first time.
"I was proud to go and meet them on the picket line on Monday and I will do all I can working with my Labour colleagues to try to reverse this terrible decision.
"The private company which has been awarded the contract was involved in a shambolic failure of a botched IT system at a cost of £56million. It looks like they are being rewarded for failure.
"But my constituents and the other staff who work for the Ministry of Justice will feel that they are being punished for success."