Warning Over Job Cuts At Immigration Centre

Warning over job cuts at immigration centre

Press Association
Friday May 4, 2007

Union leaders warned today that plans to cut jobs at the Yarl's Wood immigration centre could threaten the safety of staff.

The GMB said it had been told of proposals to cut the 339-strong workforce at the Bedfordshire site by half, and vowed to oppose any redundancies

Serco, the private firm which took over the operation of Yarl's Wood last month, said redundancies would be made and insisted it could still run the centre safely with reduced staff numbers.

GMB national officer Paul Campbell said: “We will totally oppose any reduction in manning levels and have given a deadline for these proposals to be withdrawn.

“GMB members have for too long been on the receiving end of daft policies that make their job harder or nigh on impossible. It seems that the government and private contractors never learn the very obvious lessons that history tells us.”

A Serco spokesman said: “We have begun a consultation with staff on proposed changes to work practices. That sets out the need for more flexible working practices and greater efficiency.

“We have said that this will lead to some redundancies. The number is yet to be finalised and will depend on the consultation with staff, but we have said that there will probably be more than 100 and could be as many as 185.”

The spokesman said Serco knew it could run the centre safely and securely with the new staffing levels based on its experience of running two other immigration centres.

The new staffing levels have been agreed with the Home Office as part of a new contract, the spokesman added.

Yarl's Wood, which opened in 2001, holds immigrants who are waiting to be deported or are having their case considered.


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