Jobcentre workers in Sheffield began a five-day strike on Monday of this week against Tory plans to close their office.
The PCS union members’ week-long walkout is a step up from the one day strike earlier this month.
Their action at Sheffield’s Eastern Avenue jobcentre points to the kind of action needed to stop closures and job losses across the civil service.
Clare Goonan, a PCS rep, told Socialist Worker, “We had about 45 people on the picket line.
“There were more members out than last time, and two workers turned up and decided not to cross the picket line.
“There’s been senior management working in the jobcentre today.”
Workers and their supporters held a rally on Monday night.
Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre is just one of 78 offices earmarked for closure by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
It is in a deprived area of Sheffield.
Closing the jobcentre will mean benefit claimants will have to travel further.
This will potentially cost them more and increase the risk of benefit “sanctions” for lateness, when claimants’ money is cut off.
While workers at this jobcentre will not lose their jobs, closures at other offices will almost certainly mean redundancies.
The workers’ fight has shown there is widespread support in PCS for serious action against the closures.
Clare said, “We’ve had support on the picket lines from jobcentres in Chesterfield, Annerley, Derby and Leeds.
“There are other offices now looking at how successful our strike has been.”
Now the strikes need to spread to other offices.
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