Socialist Worker

PCS Conference calls for action over job cuts

by Matthew Cookson
Issue No. 2252

Workers in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have voted to organise a campaign against the closures of benefit processing sites and call centres.

Some 2,400 jobs, and services, are threatened.

Delegates to the DWP PCS civil service workers’ union conference this week voted unanimously to build towards industrial action.

Last week the government announced that 17 benefit processing sites and five contact centres will be shut, most within 12 months.

The closures will hit Arbroath, Ayr, Broadstairs, Caerphilly, Cannock, Carlisle, Castleford, Chester, Clydebank, Exeter, Grimsby, Halifax, Hartlepool, Huyton, Lincoln, Liverpool, Luton, Mansfield, Preston, Sutton in Ashfield, Totton and Yeovil.

This comes when hundreds of thousands of workers are expected to lose their jobs as the economic crisis bites.

Jobcentre Plus has already cut more than 10,000 staff since 2009 and this latest attack will mean more delays in processing claims.

The PCS fears that the government will decide to close more job centres, particularly in rural areas.

“People are shocked but prepared to fight,” said Dave Owens, whose call centre faces closure.

“While management say they can redeploy staff in some areas, many of the sites are in towns and cities where there are few other jobs.

“There is little chance people will be redeployed in those places.”

Delegates also voted unanimously to campaign against cuts in the DWP and escalating the fight for better conditions in the department’s call centres.

The union is to give a two week deadline to management to resolve the dispute, which has already seen two 24-hour strikes, or face more action.

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Article information

Tue 17 May 2011, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2252
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