MoD severance changes: court rejects union challenge

The Prospect trade union union has failed in its bid to halt a shake-up at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which it claims could lead to the loss of 5,000 civilian jobs.

The union wanted a judicial review of the restructuring, as it said the terms of an early release scheme were “unlawful” because of the level of severance pay offered.

But the High Court rejected the call for a review of the scheme. Justice Wyn William said he had “reached the clear conclusion that this claim for judicial review must fail”.

The union, which represents 16,000 defence professionals, asked the court to declare the MoD’s early release scheme (ERS) unlawful on the grounds that its only purpose was to offer cheaper ‘flexible’ severance payments when making staff redundant.

Prospect claimed the MoD should be using more favourable ‘compulsory’ severance terms, rather than seeking to make job cuts on the cheap.

In 2006-07 severance payments cost £17m.

The MoD has said its restructuring is designed to release funds for military operations and that it was obliged to ensure “best value for money” when paying people to leave.

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