The Ministry of Defence (MoD) will axe 1,000 jobs and relocate 800 more, it was announced late on Tuesday.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) is furious at the announcement, which was made at 3pm to staff today, stating the MoD will cut 30% of jobs from its London HQ and move hundreds more to sites outside London by 2010.
The news comes as PCS members are voting on further national strike action across the civil service as part of the union’s campaign against job cuts, below-inflation pay rises and privatisation.
PCS general secretary, Mark Serowtka said: “This move is purely about meeting arbitrary job cut targets with little or no thought about how it will impact on the support our frontline armed forces receive. It is difficult to see how cutting 30% of staff and moving 800 out of London will not have a damaging impact.
“The MoD and the government need to seriously rethink their proposals and address the concerns of staff by negotiating with the union.”
PCS also warned that further cuts to civilian support staff combined with the disruption of relocating staff would undermine the ability of the MoD to support the Armed Forces.
Around 12,000 jobs have already gone in the MoD across a range of areas including defence logistics, procurement, IT and armed forces training.
But the MoD said the measures to streamline the head office will mean more resources can be released to the front line.
“At least £50m of ongoing savings which can be reinvested in operations will be released per year by reducing the Head Office staff by 25%. This means the loss of around 1,000 civilian jobs and 300 military posts. The scale of reductions in military posts will not require redundancies,” a statement said.
Defence Secretary Des Browne added: “This package of measures will radically change the way the MoD works. It will make the department more agile and better able to respond to the needs of those on operations.”