The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) said it will slash an additional 7,000 civilian jobs, raising the number of civilian posts cut to about 53,000 by the year 2020, in accordance with the coalition government’s stated aim to bring the budget under control.
According to the Guardian newspaper, permanent secretary Ursula Brennan has written a letter detailing the cuts that will be dispatched to all staff defending the measure, while admitting that that the decision "will raise questions which cannot be answered immediately".
"In the [budget review] we planned for … a 25 percent reduction in the cost of civilian personnel by 2015, bringing the size of the MoD civil service down to a total of some 60,000 civilian posts," the letter said, reported the Guardian.
"As part of the package announced last week we need to make further reductions in … civilian manpower. For civilians, we will be extending the earlier planned reductions, coming down to a total of 53,000 civilians by 2020."
About 25,000 such workers have already received their walking papers.
Union representatives have expressed their worries about the measure. Unions feel the job cuts are politically motivated and simply another attack on the public sector.
Steve Jary, national secretary of the Prospect union, which represents MoD public workers, told British media: "A defense civil service of just 53,000 will be just half the size it was in 2005. The further cuts in civilian numbers were not mentioned in [Defense Secretary] Liam Fox's statement last week and have not been the subject of any consultation."
Jary added: "The MoD has consistently avoided open and detailed consultation on the changes since the [budget review] was published. This is leading to a breakdown in trust; 53,000 is a totally arbitrary figure."
In a recent MoD review of expenditure, the ministry noted that defense spending is set to decline by 8 percent over the next four years.