130 jobs to go at Wetherby lab

Union disappointed at job losses in Wetherby forensic lab closure

Prospect has expressed disappointment that the functions of the Forensic Science Service's (FSS) Wetherby Laboratory in West Yorkshire are to be taken over by private forensic provider LGC with the loss of at least 130 highly skilled jobs.

Commenting on the news that LGC has secured the contract to serve north-east police forces from a police facility in Wakefield and at other sites, the union said it is seeking urgent talks to ensure staff transferring to the 79 posts at the new site do so on an entirely voluntary basis.

On behalf of 1,000 staff still working in the FSS, Prospect negotiator Steve Thomas said: “This announcement is deeply disappointing both for our members, who had fought hard to maintain the service in some public capacity, and in terms of the loss of skilled employment opportunities in Wetherby.

“Our members are to be commended for the passionate support they have provided to the police forces of the north-east during the last year when a question mark hung over their own future.

“We will be looking for assurances that members made redundant by this process, or whose circumstances mean they are unable to make the transition to the Wakefield lab, will not be penalised and retain the option to leave under full voluntary terms.”

Similarly, said Thomas, questions remained over the terms and conditions of staff that do move to the Wakefield lab. “We will be looking to enter into meaningful consultation with LGC to ensure that those who do transfer do not end up paying for the move through diminished terms and conditions or inferior pension arrangements.”

Describing the impact of the decision as huge, Thomas said questions also remained over the logistics of how the geographical area covered by the forces would be served as well as what future plans were for the Wetherby laboratory site.