Opinion Former Article

PCS: Foreign Office to cut embassy staff around the globe

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) today criticised proposals by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to axe the jobs of over 100 British diplomats serving in some of the most sensitive parts of the world.

The FCO plan to remove up to 134 UK civil servants serving as management officers in UK embassies around the globe and replace them with staff recruited locally. Management officers are responsible for the oversight of embassy staffing, finances, property and security.

Localisation of staff is planned in approximately 50 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Russia, China and Nigeria, where the FCO plan to recruit staff to manage the day to day running of UK embassies. This is of particular concern in countries where there are high security risks and a threat of espionage and organised crime. PCS are calling on the FCO to reverse this decision and are particularly concerned that the FCO have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, added: "Management officers carry out a vital role in UK embassies overseeing sensitive areas of work such as security and finance. It is unacceptable that the FCO are refusing to rule out compulsory redundancies. If the FCO want to make savings they should be looking at the £60 million they spent on consultants last year. Staff are facing the double whammy of the threat of redundancy alongside the government's proposals to slash civil service redundancy terms. Ministers need to step in and halt these plans."

·For further information, interviews and comment please contact Alex Flynn PCS national press officer on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216.

PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union is the union representing civil and public servants in central government. It has more than 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies. It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich.

Alex Flynn
National Press Officer
Public and Commercial Services Union
160 Falcon Rd
London SW11 2LN

Direct line: 020 7801 2747
Mobile: 07833 978 216
Fax: 020 7924 1847

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