defence training review limping towards main gate.

House of Commons debates Monday, 20 April 2009

Defence Procurement 9:22 pm

Andrew Murrison (Shadow Minister, Defence; Westbury, Conservative) | Hansard source | Video match this

I am very sorry that John Smith is not here, because we have to cover the defence training review. It is one of the biggest items of defence procurement before us, but it is limping towards main gate. Before covering that, however, perhaps we should pause to draw a discreet veil over project Red Dragon and the so-called super hangar. As the National Audit Office reported last month, this spectacular has tipped £134 million down the drain with very little to show for it.

In relation to the DTR, Land Securities Trillium walked away from the Metrix consortium in December, when the bottom dropped out of the property market on which the financial case for the St. Athan project depends. I find that deeply worrying and I am not reassured by the replacement partner, the French catering firm Sodexo. The MOD's website says that contracts will be signed with the newly constituted Metrix for the DTR phase 1 in the summer. Is that the case?

Will the Minister let us in on the DTR contingency plan that the MOD commissioned last year for use in the event of Metrix disintegrating? Will he ditch the fig leaf of "commercial in confidence" and say what cuts to training deliverables we can expect as a result of rising project costs? Can we assume that the DTR second package is now dead in the water? What does the Minister say to the main trade union involved, which has pointed out that large numbers of civilian trainers, who are already in short supply, will not relocate to south Wales and that that will impact on the quality of training produced at St. Athan, at least in the short to medium term?...

So where was John Smith drummer boy for metrix and the silent Adam Price?


Llanmaes Village up in arms over Metrix Development Plan

Llanmaes Village up in arms over Metrix Development Plan
Public's views ignored by Welsh Assembly planners

The meeting was held on 16 April with Jane Hutt AM (Welsh

Assembly Government, Cabinet member) and 3 speakers
from the Welsh Assembly development branch. It was
attended by approximately 100 people from the Village, the

biggest turnout at any Public Meeeting held in the Village.

The meeting focussed on 3 main points:
1] The Northern Access Road
2] The proposed housing developments
3] The cosmetic nature of the "consultation" exercises.

Access road - despite all arguments in favour of an access
road via West Camp or using the existing Eglwys Brewis
Road, the Assembly planners were adamant that their
proposals were the only "realistic" approach. A vote was
called and only one member of the community was in favour
of the proposed new road.

Housing - There was considerable concern about the
planning creep of these plans, and the proposals to build
on a greenfield leisure site when considerable brownfield
land was available inside the perimeter of the existing
base. Concern was expressed that the housing development
will have a major impact on the area.

Consultation - most of those present had attended one or
more of the presentations or discussion forums and the
universal response was that all representations had been
ignored by representatives of both Metrix and the WAG

In view of the strength of feeling expressed by the residents of the village, Jane Hutt proposed:

1] To hold a meeting with the Community Council at which Metrix and the WAG planners would be present.

2] To have a public presentation in Llanmaes, focussing on the Road and Housing developments.

Jane Hutt also proposed a separate, similar, meeting with Llantwit Major town council


Truth about sodexo

The truth about Sodexo = please note Peter Collins (Echo) drummer boy for Metrix

War Profiteer of the Month:


"Sodexho is committed to Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and in developing Public Private Partnerships (PPP), both as a Facilities Management (FM) service provider and as an equity investor" Sodexho UK website.

Without British and American government policies over the last twenty years encouraging the privatisation of public services known as Public Private Partnership, Sodexho would probably have stayed an inoffensive medium-sized catering company. 'Privatisation' and the lucrative contracts that go with it have turned Sodexho into a multinational giant

The Military

Apart from helping Multinationals exploit natural resources, Sodexho's Remote Site Management also help pave the way for the military, In this area, the U.S. Military are their biggest customer. The Center for Public Integrity reveals that Sodexho won a US$324,000 contract to provide food and equipment in Afghanistan.

In 2001, the US Marine Corps also awarded Sodexho Inc. an US$850 million contract to serve meals at 55 Marines Corps mess halls. They also support t the French army and UN's KFOR in Kosovo, NATO in Kabul, and the US forces in South Korea, as well as supplying the 379th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron in Qatar.

Enviromental destruction

Sodexho has contracts with numerous natural resource exploiting companies such as BP Amoco, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Occidental Petroleum, Shell, Texaco, Bechtel, Daewoo, Hyundai, Caspian Drilling, Rio Tinto and Halliburton. One of Sodexho notably un-environmental projects includes collaborating with the destruction of mangrove swamps on Bonny Kingdom, at the southern edge of River State, in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.


The prison industry accounts for 1% of Sodexho's total revenue. In addition to providing ancillary services (food, grounds keeping, etc.) to a number of prisons throughout continental Europe, Sodexho Alliance owns for profit private prison companies in the U.K. and Australia. Overall, Sodexho have some involvement with ninety one prison facilities in the U.K., Australia, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Netherlands.


At http://www.workersliberty.org/node/2719yo can find information about the anti-unionist policy of Sodexho.

So war, prisons, anti-unionism and oil. All this and so much more!!
For more information http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=347

A now KEY partner is Sodexo, is a foot soldier for the prison industrial complex and racist immigration policies. SODEXO accused of supplying catering at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Sodexo has also come under fire in Britain for its management of the Harmondsworth Detention Centre, the largest deportation center in the U.K. From that facility, asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Iraq, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and many other impoverished, war-torn nations have endured the "worst" conditions ever reported by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons. They are deported in military jumpsuits on military planes back to airports to areas of their countries they are not familiar with. Often, they are not adequately checked for signs of torture and testimonials indicate many have disappeared or been killed after extrication. - The process is called "fast track deportation" by U.K. bureaucrats.

At least seven detainee suicides have taken place at Harmondsworth and in 2006, the Inspectorate found that the Sodexo guards had only two noose-cutters in the 500 bed facility.

Sodexo history here

Sodexos treats its staff very badly e.g.

Support GRI Sodexho workers

A Message from North Glasgow Hospitals Branch, Unison

To all friends and supporters,

300 staff employed by private contractor Sodexho at Glasgow Royal Infirmary struck for 2 days this week in pursuit of a pay claim, including the demand of restoration of full NHS Whitley equivalent Terms and Conditions, £5 hour minimum wage, 5% or £1000, 35 hour week; abolishing the 2 tier workforce. Our members currently earn £4.20- £4.67 hour, with minimal sick pay, no shift allowances, time 1⁄4 only for overtime etc., All of their conditions were hived off for profit for Sodexho. Their Chief executive, Pierre Bellon, has an estimated personal wealth of £1.3 billion.

Sodexho, a multinational company who profit from private prisons, detention centres as well as hospitals and other public services across the world, cynically planned in advance to try and undermine the strike with scab labour from across Britain. They flew people from Liverpool and Ipswich as well as other areas in England. Some were from Fife and Gleneagles. They were put up in Hotels and paid £10 hour, well over double the pay of our members. We are reliably informed that quite a number came from the Liverpool Women's Hospital particularly. We have evidence that many of the scabs had no NHS experience, food hygiene certificates or other relevant training. We raised serious Health & Safety and security concerns. Scabs with no means of identification were put on security duty!

Human Rights record? Separate but Equal: Alive and Well at Sodexho Feature Story from civilrights.org Racism

Last year, Sodexho settled one of the largest racial discrimination lawsuits involving managerial promotions. The plaintiffs claim that the company illegally and systematically passes over African-American employees in favor of white employees for promotions, even when the white candidate has less seniority and fewer qualifications than the black candidate. In addition, African-Americans who are promoted to managerial positions are segregated to worksites in traditionally black areas, like inner-city schools and historically black universities.
The racism permitted by Sodexho goes beyond promotion practices. One high-level manager said that African-Americans are genetically inferior to whites, and generally most of the criminals in the world are African-Americas.


THE WHOLE system behind the vouchers for refugees is designed to put profit before need. Sodexho, the French conglomerate which administers the vouchers, took over US firm Marriott in 1998. Workers were not allowed to join the union and were banned from talking about their working conditions.

The firm was forced to back off after the US labour relations board condemned this suppression of free speech as unconstitutional. However, Sodexho continued its union busting operation by organising strike-breaking of New England hospital workers. Now US university students have targeted Sodexho as part of their campaign against sweatshops.

Sodexho supplies campus dining services, and is also the largest investor in US private prisons. The students have forced Sodexho off campuses at Evergreen State University in Olympia, south of Seattle, and at the State University of New York. Let's keep up the fight to scrap New Labour's vouchers and score a victory against a multinational firm.


Students sit in against prisons

AFL-CIO NOW BLOG | AFSCME Wins Food Service Outsourcing Fight at ...Every day, we face intimidation and racism at work. ... reason the employer chooses—the Sodexho workers labored in fear of retaliation and intimidation when ...

Corporate Watch : Sodexho : Corporate Crimes Sodexho attempted to break the strike by flying in scab workers from up to 400 miles .... An alliance of anti-racist and anti-deportation groups, churches, ...

Student campaign against Sodexho, a French multinational which is one of three global giants that dominate institutional food services, focused on its ownership of private prisons (which the company still operates in England and Australia, despite its divestiture from the Corrections Corporation of America). Vulnerable because of the campaign, Sodexho also faces further problems if it resists unionization of its workers by HERE. Recently the president of Xavier University in Ohio instructed Sodexho to recognize the union if a majority of workers sign union cards.

And what does Pete Collins have to tell us!!

French partner in defence college project wants good relations with St Athan

Caterer wants good relations

THE head of the French contract catering company which is a leading partner in the Defence Technical College project at St Athan has said team work and good relations with the community will be vital.

Sodexo was appointed a joint equity partner in the Metrix consortium, which will build and run the £12bn college at the former RAF base. It replaces Land Securities’ Trillium which withdrew from the project last December.

The appointment raised some eyebrows in the City and elsewhere because Sodexo had previously been a non-equity partner in the project, responsible for “soft” facilities management such as cleaning, security and catering

The truth about METRIX
Another metrix partner
War Profiteer of the Month: Serco


Camargue spin/fake support for Military PFI for Rhodri

Letter to Gem on Camargue spin on 'consultatrion'.

"Overwhelming" support for Defence College

My letter (Gem 9th April) pointed out that it was Camargue who first claimed "overwhelming" public support.
That's not "my opinion" as your editorial pen added, but in their conclusion (see "analysis of comments received" on www.st-athanconsultation.co.uk) and based on 20 positives out of 35 answers.

Rhodri Morgan may have other evidence. I asked his office for it on 26th March. As he didn't have a written speech, I asked for a copy of the notes or briefing for the speech.

I am still waiting for it. The delay makes it more likely that Rhodri's staff used the Camargue report and are embarrassed that the actual figures are so poor. Would they or Camargue take responsibility for the gaff?

An underlying question is why did Metrix and the Welsh Assembly Government engage Cheltenham-based Camargue, who were named by PRWeekas the biggest PR agency outside London and who proclaim expertise in media relations?

Camargue have no understanding of Wales of or genuine public consultation, so perhaps Metrix was the driver and we pay through WAG. And unable to put positive spin on the MoD's downgrading of the Defence Academy to "Defence College", Camargue simply amended the title in Orwellian style in their "analysis of comments received".

Max Wallis


Arnmed forces world wide to st athan

Letter from Phil published in the Penarth Times and the Gem. I guess it may be in the Barry and District News as well.

4th April 2009

Dear Editor,

I took part in the public consultation in Barry about the St. Athan Project last Friday. My principal concern is that this development, as the largest ever UK Private Finance Initiative, is coming after such schemes have been widely criticised by many House of Commons Committees.

A primary concern in relation to the St. Athan Project is that in order to maximise the profits of the companies involved, the services of the facility will be opened to armed forces from all over the world. When I raised this with the Ministry of Defence staff, they assured me that countries like Iran would not be given access. When I asked about Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, no such assurance was possible. The UK Government has already given the green light for such training, yet these are regarded by Amnesty as amongst the most repressive regimes in the world. If the proposed privatisation goes ahead, we can expect training for these and similar forces to be radically extended. I also raised the fact that Raytheon, one of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers, is a major contributor to the St. Athan Project. Again, they tried to assure me that Raytheon’s part at St. Athan is only in relation to its training skills, and that its interest in weapons sales will be kept entirely separate. I wonder what Raytheon’s investors think about that?

I looked through the information made available at the meeting. Here we have a £12bn project yet there was no reference to the names of the firms which are to receive the money. I asked if a list was available. ‘No, but we can send it to you, or you can find it on the website’. Why on earth isn’t this basic information available at a public consultation? In the absence of a statement, I can only guess that its absence is because of the adverse publicity already in the public domain about some of these firms, such as Raytheon’s production of missiles which dispense cluster bombs (weapons which have done enormous damage to civilians).

We have seen what happened to banking when profit became the over-riding value, namely extensive loss of truth. So, people of the Vale, keep asking the questions. And to the schools which are already promoting this project, will you be willing to think again? Our young people are connected, however indirectly, with other young people who experience the awful effects of the arms trade. Let’s teach about that, and encourage them to work for a project in Wales which is primarily focussed upon peace-building. What about developing a Peace Garden in every school (see www.paxchristi.org.uk/pubs.HTML )?


Phil Kingston


Barry protest

Peter Collins was waiting for us - expect us to be slhim in the paper tomorrow!

John Smith MP nowhere to be seen!

Barry exhibition of plans for Military academy sparks protest

A GROUP of protesters staged a demonstration against the £12bn Defence Training Academy when an exhibition of the scheme was staged in Barry.

The protesters, consisting mainly of members of Barry and Vale Friends of the Earth and the No to Military Academy group, unfurled banners outside Barry Memorial Hall Theatre where the exhibition was being held yesterday.

Anne Greagsby, of the No to Military Academy group, said: “There are better ways of boosting the economy.”

She said claims by First Minister Rhodri Morgan there was “overwhelming public support” for the college were greatly exaggerated.

Phil Kingston, of the Penarth Campaign Against the Arms Trade, said: “Major players in this are arms traders and to have them running something that should be independent of business interests seems to be to be a conflict of interest.”

He said the armed forces from some “disreputable” countries would be trained at the college.

A steady trickle of people visited the exhibition.

Albert Tudor, 83, of Queen Street, Barry said: “To me it is a good thing for all sorts of reasons. It is an ideal place for all our armed services and it will also benefit the economy of the area.”


More Officals than local folk

SPOT the member of the public if you can! About 18 paid officials were present at the st athan 'exhibition' in Llanwit Major yesterday! From PR Group Camargue, Welsh Assembly Government, Welsh Office, Defence Estates, Metrix ....local councillors...About 2 officials to every one member of the public!!! How much does all this misinformation cost?...

Heavy Hands of METRIX!