Socialist Worker

Strikes spreading to stop jobcentre closures

by Nick Clark
Issue No. 2572

On the picket line at Eastern Avenue jobcentre

On the picket line at Eastern Avenue jobcentre (Pic: Yorkshire and the Humber PCS)


PCS union members at Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre have led the fight against office closures and job cuts in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

They began a week-long strike on Monday—and have encouraged workers at other jobcentres to take action too.

Speaking to Socialist Worker on Monday, Eastern Avenue PCS rep Clare Goonan said the picket line had been “brilliant”.

“Only four people went in this morning, and they were non-union members,” she said.

Workers at a DWP office in Plymouth are getting ready to strike, while workers at another Sheffield jobcentre are working to rule in support.

Clare said, “Now we’re not the only ones taking action anymore, which is good.

“We’ve been asked to go down to Plymouth to give them a bit of encouragement because they haven’t taken action before.

“Various other offices are supporting us.

Refusing

“Sheffield are refusing to take on the work from our office when it’s closed and that’s having an effect.

“Today there was a sign up before they opened saying they had to close at dinner time due to industrial action.”

Clare said managers had “turned it up a level, to put it politely”.

They were set to announce the date for the office’s closure this week—and workers plan to strike once a week every month until the closure.

The action and support from other offices have boosted strikers.

“It’s made people feel more confident,” Clare said. “They were beginning to feel that no one else was going out on strike. But now they feel that it’s not just them”.

She added, “The solidarity of the members sticking together, spending more time together on the picket line, in a way it’s made them more of a team.”

Escalating the campaign nationally—with a national coordinated strikes across the DWP—can beat office closures.

Support the picket lines at 19 Eastern Avenue, Sheffield S2 2FZ. Send messages of support to leeds@pcs.org.uk
Make a donation to the fighting fund online or by cheque to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY

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