Taken from the Socialist Unity blog
“Continuing the success of our 20-year relationship with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its predecessors, we are delighted to have the opportunity to work on such a strategically important initiative. With over 26 years of experience providing dynamic and innovative support to a variety of disadvantaged groups, the award of this contract reflects the significance of our work in delivering the DWP’s New Deal for Disabled Persons scheme, where we are one of the leading providers in the UK.” (Tony Garrett, Group Managing Director of Instant Muscle).
Instant Muscle was one of these much vaunted organisations contracted to deliver part of Pathways to Work scheme. They were awarded a £11m contract last November to run the scheme in Surrey and Sussex. But within the past couple of days the charity has gone into administration, making 250 people redundant. Around 60 staff across South Wales, 40 staff based in Nottingham. The charity has 30 offices based in the UK. The first the staff knew about this was when the administrators told them to leave the premises. And funny enough, not one of the directors turned up to explain the situation!
The irony of ironies is that staff will becoming the very people they were “helping” and this isn’t lost on them.
Henry Shinners, associate director of accounting firm Smith and Williamson and one of the appointed administrators said that staff weren’t paid for February. And there’s a possibility the business could be taken over. Yes, you can just see the corporate vultures hovering around in the distance waiting to swoop….
Now what happened to this flagship of “providing dynamic and innovative support to a variety of disadvantaged groups”? One former employee of Instant Muscle said that the company suffered from the Icarus complex, “it expanded too quckly and flown a bit too close to the sun”…
Whatever the reason this happened (incompetency, and/or greedy bosses…) there’s one less contracted company to carry out the Pathways to Work scheme but never fear some greedy company will take its place.
You do get the feeling that once the politicans are ideologically committed to partnerships with the private sector that the private companies involved realise that taking taxpayers money will be like taking candy from a baby. They also realise that they will not be held to account for how they spend the money .
Oh, and Tony Garrett, Group Managing Director isn’t available to comment….
It's been labelled the School for Slaughter by its opponents. Its proponents call it the biggest ever investment in Wales.
Now a campaign to fight the establishment of a new military training centre in St Athan is gathering pace.
In January 2007, the London government announced the success of the St Athan and Metrix bid to establish a new military training academy.
In Wales, the first Minister Rhodri Morgan and the economic minister Andrew Davies sprayed champagne outside the Senedd in celebration. The local media gave the impression was that this was just about the best thing that had ever happened to Wales: £14 billion worth of contract and around 5,000 jobs.
But how will this military academy contribute to the Assembly's proud goal of achieving sustainable development? What exactly is Wales committing itself to when it signs up for the St Athan deal?
• A future based on militarism
• A commitment to military privatisation
• A welcome mat for the world’s largest missile manufacturer
What will be the impact of the academy on local quality of life – on traffic congestion, for example, and housing affordability? What will be the impact on Welsh education, and the social and political values that are taught to Welsh children and youth?
For those who are committed to a nuclear-free Wales, they should be aware that the Royal Navy’s Maritime Engineering School, which contains the Nuclear Systems Group, is projected to move from HMS Sultan to St Athan by 2017. The Nuclear Systems Group trains the Naval Officers responsible for operating the nuclear submarines that are the heart and soul of Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system.
A fuller analysis of the issues is now available on the Cynefin y Werin website, , from where much of this article was shamelessly filched.
2,000 bilingual pamphlets have also just been printed to highlight the case against the military academy - to get a copy contact here.
Promoters of the St Athan Defence Training Academy claim the Academy is good for Wales because of the jobs it will create. When the Academy was announced in January 2007, the South Wales Echo described it as a “massive jobs bonanza.” Welsh politicians and media have claimed that the Academy will create as many as 5,550 on and off-site jobs, and that these will be “highly skilled jobs” in fields such as “mobile communications, IT, engineering, logistics, even photography.” Such claims, however, do not stand up to close scrutiny.
In reality, most of the jobs will come from re-locating trainers from other military bases that are being closed in England. There will be jobs for local people - minimum wage work in catering and security.
The PCS union, which represents the trainers, is fiercely opposed to this centralisation of services because it will be a massive Private Finance Initiative scheme that effectively privatised military training and threatens many jobs.
A recent mobilisation of campaigners saw 30 peaceniks gather outside the base and further action is being planned.
It's taken some time for me to focus on the St Athan "jobs bonanza". Perhaps it was Andrew Davies's rant that did it, so I did a bit of digging. And it's very interesting what you can find in MoD Press Releases.
The 4,000 jobs being created by the MoD's new training base in St Athan will not be for locals:
"Some 3,400 military and 3,000 civilian instructors and support personnel...are potentially affected by the DTR Programme."
This means that 6,400 jobs are going in more than nine bases in England to try to squeeze into 4,000 jobs in Wales. Most will be skilled trainers who move to St Athan, leaving the usual security and cleaning minimum wage jobs for the locals.
This, apparently, will boost house prices. Is this a plus?
The transition will start in late 2008 and is expected to last five years.
So let's count those jobs in 2013 and remind ourselves of the politicians' promises. They might sound something like this BBC report from 2003:
"The Defence Aviation Repair Agency (Dara) has confirmed it will go ahead with a £77m hi-tech maintenance centre - securing 3,300 jobs. Project Red Dragon, which secures the jobs at RAF St Athan, will be built on a 100-acre site at the base in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.
The long-awaited government approval comes after months of uncertainty over the future of the site.
It is expected to act as a springboard for plans for an aviation centre of excellence at RAF St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Assembly First Minister Rhodri Morgan said this could potentially create a further 4,000 jobs."
The jobs, of course, were as hyped as these but never materialised.