SHEFFIELD civil servants are voting on strike action over the planned closure of their office, their union PCS announced yesterday.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills wants to transfer its Sheffield office’s functions to London, getting rid of up to 250 staff in the process.
MPs have accused departmental boss, Permanent Secretary Martin Donnelly, of trying to mislead their enquiries.
“The permanent secretary is accountable for the use of public funds and needs to demonstrate the financial rationale and evidence-based business case for the decision to cut jobs in Sheffield and centralise policy-making in London,” said Commons industry committee chairman Ian Wright, who is MP for Hartlepool and shadow business minister.
But in a letter to Mr Donnelly, Mr Wright and Commons public accounts committee chairwoman Meg Hillier said that information provided by his department had been “wholly unsatisfactory” and that answers in oral evidence were “obfuscatory, if not misleading.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said that the department’s “retreat from Sheffield goes against all the government’s northern powerhouse rhetoric and what ministers claim to want for the Civil Service.”
The ballot on industrial action starts on Wednesday.
Mr Donnelly, who is to appear before the public accounts committee next week, said that moving policy roles to London was part of planned savings of £350 million.