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MoD slashes IT jobs

Tech posts among 1,000 for the chop

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Computer specialist posts will be axed as part of the defence ministry's latest round of cost cuts. IT staff will be among 1,000 civilians to lose their jobs at the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Whitehall headquarters as part of a "streamlining programme".

The MoD said the loss of posts, amounting to a 25 per cent staff reduction, will release at least £50m of savings annually which can be reinvested in "defence priorities". The programme will be implemented over two to three years.

Defence secretary Des Browne said: "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. Operations are rightly where the focus of the MoD should be.

"Ministers, chiefs of staff and our most senior officials will lead this process by example and with greater direct accountability for areas and budgets."

Formal consultation with unions about the plans are under way. The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, which has more than 18,000 members in the MoD, has responded angrily to the news. It said 12,000 jobs have already gone from the MoD in a range of areas, including IT, procurement and defence logistics.

Further cuts to civilian support staff, combined with the disruption of relocating staff, will undermine the MoD's ability to support the armed forces, it warned.

The union also criticised the creation of additional senior posts when today's job cuts will disproportionately fall on the lowest grades, where starting salaries including London Weighting are approximately £15,500.

Mark Serowtka, PCS general secretary, 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. The MoD and the government need to seriously rethink their proposals and address the concerns of staff by negotiating with the union."

The news came as PCS members were voting on further national strike action across the civil service as part of the union's campaign against job cuts, below inflation pay increases and privatisation.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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