Jobcentre posts at risk, says union
Friday 13 May 2011
Thousands of jobs are under threat after the Government's biggest department announced plans to close a number of Jobcentre Plus offices, union leaders warned today.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) said 17 benefit-processing sites and five contact centres will be shut, mainly over the next year, affecting 2,400 posts.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said staff affected by the decision will be offered jobs elsewhere, adding that the announcement was about "buildings, not people".
But the union said there was "absolutely no way" jobs could be found for all those hit by today's move, which it described as "deeply flawed and dangerous".
PCS officials said the closures were coming at a time when hundreds of thousands of public sector workers were losing their jobs as a result of the Government's spending cuts.
A DWP spokesman said: "All staff affected by this will be offered jobs elsewhere in the organisation. This is about buildings, not people - we simply can't afford to carry on paying for buildings which aren't fully used.
"In tough financial times, we have to operate as efficiently as possible. Frontline Jobcentre Plus services aren't impacted by this and benefit payments won't be affected."
Jobcentre Plus has already axed more than 10,000 jobs since 2009, said the union, warning that the latest losses will lead to further delays in processing claims.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is a deeply flawed and dangerous plan that will remove vital support to jobseekers and people claiming welfare at precisely the time the Government's ideological cuts will throw more people out of work.
"Instead of cutting jobs, the Government should be investing in public services like these to help get people back to work more quickly and help our economy to get back on track."
The union's annual conference next week is set to launch a campaign against spending cuts, including the jobcentre closures.
Delegates are expected to agree to hold a ballot for nationwide industrial action by civil servants, which could be co-ordinated with other groups of public sector workers, including teachers.
The PCS said it had been told that offices earmarked for closure were at Arbroath, Ayr, Broadstairs, Caerphilly, Cannock, Carlisle, Castleford, Chester, Clydebank, Exeter, Grimsby, Halifax, Hartlepool, Huyton (Merseyside), Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores, Luton, Mansfield, Preston, Sutton in Ashfield, Totton (Southampton) and Yeovil.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...