Is there anything Serco can’t do with enough money? It’s the company that’s always in the right spot at the right time (helped, of course, by the fact that countless politicians on all sides believe in “efficiency”, aka cutting services).
Privately employed engineers are being trained to detect “dirty bombs” so that they can replace striking Border Agency guards during next week’s day of action against public sector pension reforms.
Staff from the services giant Serco are to be employed at four major points of entry into the UK to operate “portals” – which detect radiation and nuclear material on vehicles – when thousands of union members are expected to take industrial action.
Unions say Serco employees cannot receive the necessary specialist training in such a short period and will leave the country vulnerable to attack. They also argue that Serco staff do not have powers of arrest and have not received training to check travel documents.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “We have serious concerns about the private contractors’ ability to do the job, and the use of them to cover for striking staff. This latest revelation further underlines the sheer desperation of [the UK Border Agency] to paint a picture of business as usual when it’s obvious to everyone that’s not going to be the case.”