Risks remain over defence research sell-off, union warns

Risks remain over defence research sell-off, union warns

Prospect has welcomed today's (Thursday) announcement that there will be an investor in the QinetiQ business. But it warned that in the longer term, the sensitive nature of defence research was not an appropriate candidate for flotation.

Today’s (Thursday) statement from Defence Minister Lewis Moonie, outlined the terms of the sale of QinetiQ to US equity group Carlyle.

On behalf of government defence scientists and QinetiQ’s 9,000-strong workforce as a whole, Prospect negotiator John Billard said: "In the short-term at least, this will secure the jobs of our members.

"But as well as being concerned about the sensitivity of the work involved, we do not believe that the essential work being undertaken will meet the short-termism inherent in the City.

"We are particularly disappointed that the Defence Minister has refused to meet the trade unions to discuss this short-term approach and the fitness for flotation of defence research, and have written to request an urgent meeting."

Under the terms of today’s announcement the government will receive over £200m for the sale of 33.8% of QinetiQ to the Carlyle group. However, Carlyle will have majority voting control. The deal paves the way for the defence laboratories to be floated on the stock market within three to five years.