In April 2015, Government Communications changed its focus from press to campaign work. Regional press officers were told that they would have to apply for new roles with different competencies.
Only three of the existing staff were successful in being appointed to the new structure. The Cabinet Office is now recruiting 12 new staff to fill the remaining roles. The unsuccessful staff have been “surplus to requirements” since April.
At least one government body, UK Trade and Investment, offered to take five or six staff on loan for at least 12 months.
But a decision taken at senior level in the Cabinet Office means that surplus staff have only been allowed to leave for permanent positions.
Prospect negotiator Julie Flanagan said: “Government Communications, like all employers, has a legal obligation to mitigate redundancies.
“It is perverse that the organisation is blocking staff from being redeployed. It is also outrageous that taxpayers’ money could be used to pay for unnecessary redundancies.”
More than 700 staff were made redundant when the Central Office of Information, the government’s marketing and communications agency closed in December 2011. The Cabinet Office retained the regional news network that was part of COI.
“These staff have been through years of turmoil and uncertainty since the closure of COI. What a terrible way for the government to treat its employees”, Flanagan concluded.
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