WORKERS at a jobcentre in Sheffi eld are on the picket line today in the latest of a series of strikes to oppose the centre’s proposed closure.
The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) is targeting 78 jobcentres nationwide for closure to make what it describes as “efficiency savings” of £140 million.
Among those threatened is Sheffield’s Eastern Avenue office, which serves one of the former steel city’s most deprived inner-city areas.
Jobless workers will be forced to travel miles to the nearest alternative centre if the closure goes ahead.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are resisting the proposed closure with strike action.
Their latest stoppage — for five days — begins today and follows a series of week-long stoppages throughout summer. The strike will be followed by a work to rule.
The resistance has brought support from other trade unions, the local community, Sheffield MPs and Sheffield Trade Unions Council.
A petition against the closure has collected thousands of signatures.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “PCS is pleased to have the support of the whole trade union movement against jobcentre closures and welcomes the support that Jeremy Corbyn and all Sheffield’s Labour MPs have given to date.
“Now is the time for the government to rethink their plans and stop this closure.”
During a Commons debate in January, Yorkshire MPs condemned the proposed jobcentre closures as nothing more than “a spreadsheet exercise that will have a severe impact on the worst-off.”