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Union urges ‘rethink’ on job centre closure plans with further strike action

Workers at a job centre in Sheffield have today stepped up their action against their employer with another week of strikes starting today.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will walk out to protest the closure of the Eastern Avenue job centre, which they argue is a vital service for unemployed, sick and disabled people in the area.

The 50 staff at the job centre added that as many of the claimants were sick, disabled or had young children, the extra journey to a relocated centre would make it difficult for them to access employment and training opportunities.

It follows week-long strikes that took place during June and July, and a two-week long strike in August.

The PCS’s campaign has also garnered the support of the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who commented: “The DWP has forced through this office closure programme with no consideration for either the service or the staff.”

The union added that the campaign was building against government plans to axe almost one in 10 job centres across the UK.

“I am incredibly proud to stand with you against the closure of this job centre,” said PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.

“Your dedication to public service and the principled issue of serving a local community is inspiring. PCS is pleased to have the support of the whole trade union movement against job centre closures, and welcome the support that Jeremy Corbyn and all Sheffield’s Labour MP’s have given to date,” he explained. “Now is the time for the government to rethink their plans and stop this closure.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman stated the changes being made to its estate across the country will “offer a more efficient service, and deliver good value for the taxpayer, saving over £140m a year, for the next 10 years”.

Top Image: Rui Vieira and PA Wire

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