A WEEK of strike action was announced yesterday after the government said it would close almost one in 10 jobcentres.
Public-sector union PCS said 50 of its members at the Eastern Avenue jobcentre in Sheffield, one of the threatened sites, will walk out from July 17 to 21 July following a five-day strike last month.
PCS said the plans would lead to the loss of more than 70 jobcentres, put up to 750 staff at risk of redundancy and leaving claimants having to travel further for appointments and services.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has admitted that that just six of the original 78 jobcentres earmarked for closure will stay open.
Only 11 of the 80 planned to be taken in by local authorities have been saved — mainly due to a lack of space in council buildings.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This Tory government is abandoning unemployed, sick and disabled people, making it harder for them to access the services they need and putting jobcentre jobs at risk. We will continue to oppose these plans in every way we can.”
PCS is urging the DWP to publish the equality analyses it did for each closure. Closures of “back-of-house” and corporate centre offices mean compulsory redundancies are highly likely as staff will be unable to relocate.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Debbie Abrahams pointed out: “The government is planning to force a million more working people to attend a jobcentre under its plans for in-work sanctions, while simultaneously closing one in every 10 jobcentres across the country.”