Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, has said that the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) is effectively making the 300 staff redundant.
The workers are employed in roles including human resources, finance, procurement, technology, apprenticeship processing and some customer operations roles. Most have worked at the CITB for years. They were told last month that their jobs will be transferred to Shared Service Connected Ltd (SSCL) from 1st February 2019.
Two hundred of the affected workers are based in the CITB’s current headquarters at Bircham Newton in Norfolk, with the remaining staff employed in London, Thurmaston in Leicestershire, Bridgend in Wales and Inchinnan in Scotland.
SSCL has this week confirmed that to continue their employment the workforce will be principally required to transfer to its site in York, with the possibility of some staff being transferred to its other sites in Newcastle, Blackpool, Warrington and Newport in Wales.
This would result in the vast majority of the affected staff having a near impossible commute to work. Unite has described the process as not a transfer of work but the CITB outsourcing a redundancy scheme.
SSCL also has two sites in India and, according to Unite, some CITB’s functions could be transferred to there.
Unite met with SSCL yesterday (13th December) which confirmed under their current proposals that all of the CITB functions will transfer to its sites by October 2019.
Unite regional coordinating officer Mark Robinson said: “The CITB’s staff have been betrayed by the organisation. The CITB’s board’s abject failure to require SSCL to open a Norfolk office demonstrates a complete disregard for its workers. The vast majority of the workforce have families and it will be impossible for them to relocate.
“At a time when major outsourcers such as Carillion have collapsed, Interserve is on life support and many organisations are insourcing their services; it is flying in the face of reason for the CITB to be undertaking a major outsourcing project. This has nothing to do with improving services and is all about political dogma.”
However, CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said: “CITB is working with its enabling partner, SSCL, to transition services in a phased approach as part of our Vision 2020 reform programme to make CITB a leaner, more agile organisation that delivers the skills needed by British construction.
“From 1 February 2019, 300 CITB employees will transfer under TUPE regulations to SSCL. Services provided by affected teams will continue to be delivered from current CITB locations throughout a transition period which is expected to end in October 2019.
“CITB colleagues who will transfer were informed of the locations in which SSCL performs their specific role functions. These locations include York, Newcastle, Blackpool, Warrington and Newport.
“Individual employees’ terms and conditions with CITB will carry across when they transfer to SSCL.”
She added: “Throughout this process, SSCL have committed to providing a personalised programme of support for all affected CITB colleagues, including practical career advice and guidance, coaching and access to group learning events.
“I recognise the impact of this change on affected staff, and I want to emphasise that the decision to transfer these services is in no way a reflection of their skills and expertise. We have chosen SSCL through a robust procurement process and they are deeply committed to supporting colleagues to ease the transition into new ways of working.”