WORKERS at a jobcentre in Sheffield began a one-month strike yesterday in protest against plans to close the branch.
The government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) aims to close 78 jobcentres nationwide in sweeping cuts totalling £140 million.
Among those facing closure is Sheffield’s Eastern Avenue jobcentre, which serves one of the most deprived inner-city areas.
The workers, who are members of Civil Service union PCS, have already staged 26 days of strike action since June.
The community and other trade unions in South Yorkshire have rallied behind the strikers, as well Sheffield MPs and Sheffield Trade Union Council.
A petition against the closure has collected thousands of signatures.
The DWP has brought forward the date for the Sheffield closure to Friday November 17 and staff are set to strike until then.
The DWP promised to transfer Eastern Avenue’s work and jobs to another centre, but nothing has happened.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This latest wave of strike action is testimony to our members’ drive to protect their local community from more savage Tory cuts.
“Slashing services in deprived communities is beyond cruel and our union will fight for every jobcentre to remain open.
“The DWP plans are disastrous for workers and the people they provide a service to. Promises on job security from senior DWP management have not been fulfilled.
“The actions of the department, again, show complete disregard for workers and their communities. The DWP must halt these plans immediately.”
Pickets were in action from 7am yesterday.