Unite, the country’s biggest union, is calling for the government to scrap controversial plans to sell-off the Defence Support Group (DSG), as secret documents in today's Observer reveal army and US government concerns.
The DSG is the dedicated maintenance and repair service for British armed forces’ vehicles, weapons and communications systems. As a result of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, the government is planning to sell-off the service to private sector contractors.
However, this weekend reports have emerged suggesting the process is falling into disarray. The US government has expressed grave concerns regarding the sharing of intellectual property rights, as a result of the sale. While the UK army has anxieties that any sell-off will fragment the DSG, which provides vital services to front line troops.
The pressure raises serious questions for defence secretary, Philip Hammond, particularly in the wake of recent privatisation fiascos, such as the West Coast mainline.
Unite is calling for the government to scrap the sell-off immediately, to avert another expensive privatisation failure.
Mike McCartney, Unite national officer for Ministry of Defence said: “These revelations show that the government’s plans to sell the Defence Support Group are in disarray.
“The Defence Support Group sell-off has major implications for the safety of our troops and the defence of the realm. So it is high time the government woke up to the army's concerns about the service’s fragmentation.
“The intellectual property rights issues raised by the US army puts the validity of the whole sale at question. It appears they have the power to veto the sell-off, which would prove to be a costly disaster for the government – following quickly on the heels of the botched handling of the West coast mainline.
“The Defence Support Group sale needs to be scrapped without delay, before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted on this failed process.”
For further information contact James Bevan 07711 347645 or Alex Flynn 07967 665869.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors
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
More information on the current status of the DSG can be found here.
More information on Unite’s campaign against the DSG sell off can be found here.