The proposal to move the Public Health England (PHE) centre, which employs about 1,200 staff at Colindale in north London, to Harlow will be closely monitored by Unite, the country’s largest union.
Unite will be considering the implications for its members at Colindale in terms of relocation and employment security, and also the impact on the local economy as PHE is such a large employer.
Unite understands that the earliest date for the move to the GSK site in Harlow, Essex is 2018 and the transfer of services won’t be completed until 2022. The proposal has yet to receive Treasury approval.
Unite regional officer George Dodo-Williams said: “PHE has confirmed it has recommended that the Colindale Health Protection Agency building be closed as it merges its Colindale and Porton Down (Wiltshire) centres at a new national health centre in Harlow.
“We will be watching the situation unfold very closely on how it will impact on our highly skilled and qualified members in terms of their future employment and relocation. It is too early to comment more fully.
“The local economy will also be affected by the move of the nearby Medical Research Council, which also employs about 1,000 staff, to a new building in King’s Cross in 2016.”
Among the services that Colindale offers are expert advice and issue of vaccines and immunoglobulins; microbiological services; public health-related research; response, co-ordination and specialist support for outbreaks and incidents; and specialist microbiology services.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
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• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.