PCS has arranged a speaker meeting and lobby of parliament on 28 March as part of our campaign to oppose office closures within DWP.
PCS is calling a lobby of parliament on Tuesday 28 March as part of our campaign against the government’s proposal to close over 100 DWP offices, including 74 job centres, representing over 10% of the total. This will lead to at least 700 job losses. DWP plans to replace staff they make redundant with new staff, ata further cost to the tax-payer.
The lobby will start with a speaker meeting in parliament at 1 pm followed by a lobby from 2-4 p.m. in Committee Room 16, Houses of Parliament (St Stephen’s Gate Entrance) Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.
The government has not consulted claimants who use these job centres on the closure plans. Many are in areas of high unemployment and social deprivation. Disability claimants, staff/users with caring responsibilities and vulnerable users must be given due regard in terms of the equality impact assessment and the disadvantage that they will face if offices close or are relocated. Having to travel further as a result of these proposals also means some users are unfairly out of pocket and run the risk of being sanctioned for lateness.
Fewer jobs in the local areas will mean a loss of thousands of pounds worth of income for local businesses and the local community.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has said of the plans: "Jobcentres provide a lifeline for unemployed people and forcing them to travel further is not only unfair, it undermines support to get them back to work."
What you can do
Concerns have been raised by MPs in parliament and by the mayor of London about local closures. Your local MP can also play a powerful role in this campaign; they need to hear from you to raise awareness and about the impact that this will have in the local community. If you have never been to a lobby of parliament before, PCS will be on hand to support you on the day.
Make your voice heard - contact your MP now and arrange a meeting for 28 March.