Up to 800 jobs may go at the government’s Forensic Science Service (FSS) organisation by 2011, unions have learned.
Science union Prospect and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union have reacted angrily to the revelation that up to 40% of the organisation’s jobs could be cut within the next two years.
Managers, IT staff and forensic scientists are among those set to lose their jobs under the “radical transformation plan”, with several sites also facing closure.
Paul Noon, Prospect general secretary, said FSS staff had been taken by surprise.
“Staff are shocked at the scale of the redundancies, and the union is now seeking to minimise the cuts and ensure they are undertaken on a voluntary basis,” Noon said.
“We will be scrutinising where these job losses fall to ensure this is not just an exercise to reduce the headcount, leaving FSS denuded of the skills it needs.”
The union said it had been told that all terms and conditions of employment, including pensions, would be looked at under the transformation plan.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said the union would fight to minimise the impact of the redundancies.
“We will not countenance savage cuts now merely to make the FSS more attractive to private sector buyers in three years’ time,” he said.
A Home Office spokesman said that it was “right” that the organisation look to make itself more efficient for the future.
“The FSS has today commenced a consultation with its staff and unions on the implementation of a wide-ranging transformation plan, which is vital to the long-term survival of the company,” he said. “This plan has been approved by the government.”