Union members at Thetford military training range to strike over ‘drastic’ staff cuts

Thetford news from the Bury Free Press
Thetford news from the Bury Free Press

The lives of the public could be put at risk due to staff ‘being cut to the bone’ at Britain’s military training ranges, trade union Unite warned today (Thursday).

Staff at West Tofts Camp in Thetford will join over 300 Unite members at Landmarc Support Services, which runs the ranges for the Ministry of Defence (MOD), for 24 hours of strike action on November 3 in a dispute over redundancies and safety issues.

Unite said the dispute arises from a worryingly low bid put in by Landmarc to secure a five-year contact with the MOD, after fears it would lost the contract its has held for a decade.

The UK’s largest union said it was likely ranges would have to close during rolling strike action throughout November, as there would not be enough remaining staff to ensure public safety.

In a letter to the MOD asking it to review the contract, Unite regional officer Bob Middleton said: “If the professional range wardens are removed during live firing training it is our view that it will be a matter of time before a fatality occurs.

“The new contract that Landmarc was awarded is based on drastic cutting to the bone in terms of staff numbers, pay, and terms and conditions. This contract needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency by the MOD.”

West Tofts Camp is one of 19 ranges involved in Monday’s strike action around the UK, with jobs covered by Unite including range wardens, technicians and administrators.