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Union criticises Foreign Office

Friday February 25th 2011

Union leaders have revealed that the Foreign Office is planning to axe an estimated 450 jobs from embassies and consulates across the world.

The Public and Commercial Services union said posts including those helping UK citizens and supporting diplomats will be lost, with internal briefings attributing the job losses to the need to save £30 million a year thanks to the Government's spending cuts.

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Officials have criticised the move as being "short sighted", saying it comes at a time when staff have played a major role in providing assistance to UK citizens in countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.

The union has called on the Foreign Office to rethink the plans and called for diplomatic staff to be allowed to "do what they were employed to do" - work on behalf of the UK overseas.

The union said that under the plans, many diplomatic staff would now never work abroad, spending their careers in offices in London instead.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement: "The FCO has to find £100 million savings over four years and needs to ensure it focuses on core frontline activity - diplomacy and foreign policy.

"We will be making these savings in a number of areas, including the workforce."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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