PCS members at the DWP Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre have taken strike action today over the proposed closure of the office which provides vital services to the community.
In January, the government announced plans to close 78 of 714 jobcentres in England, Scotland and Wales, with work and staff transferring to the nearest office. The plans also included the closure of one fifth of the DWP’s 150 non-frontline offices, including benefit processing sites and call centres.
The Eastern Avenue jobcentre in Sheffield was amongst those targeted for closure and since then a campaign has been launched to save it.
Today members took a day’s strike action and will take another five days starting on Monday 12 June.
The strike today was very well supported and only a handful of staff went in.
Managers from other sites were brought over to keep the jobcentre open to the public but they would have received a much reduced service.
There was a large picket line outside the office with up to 45 members and reps there at one point. DWP group president Fran Heathcote was on the picket line and other supporters include local Labour candidates Louise Haigh and Paul Bloomfield and Natalie Bennett from the Green Party.
Local rep Jamie Godfrey said, “The massive picket line and support from the community this morning has been great. It shows we are doing the right thing defending our jobcentre from closure and I’m proud to be part of the PCS campaign.”
How you can help
Messages of support should be sent to Leeds@pcs.org.uk
Donations to the PCS Fighting Fund should be sent to: PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY.