In many parts of the country, workers saw their strike as being about defending public services as well as being over pay. Shepherd’s Bush job centre in west London is one of the offices marked for closure.
Christine Hulme, the branch chair of the PCS DWP west London branch, was one of the pickets outside the office.
She told Socialist Worker, “The big issue for us is the closure of our office. This means that there won’t be any DWP in Shepherd’s Bush.
“People will have to go to Acton or Hammersmith to access face to face services.
“The government is bringing in welfare to work reforms that will mean lone parents and people on incapacity benefit will have to actively seek work.
“This will mean more work for less staff at less offices.
“There is going to be a six- week consultation period over the closure of the Shepherd’s Bush office that ends on 18 April. But this only involves ‘stakeholders’ – who do not include the people who use the service and rely on it.
“We have launched a petition to minister Stephen Timms and are having a public meeting on 3 April involving as many local organisations as possible. We may have to consider strike action as well.
“We want to create a head of steam to stop them closing the office.”