Silkhouse court members experience

The background to the closure of this office is slightly different from many of the other 100 plus sites earmarked to shut. It was different in that far from coming as a huge shock members had known for some time that the office had no long-term future. CMG had made that quite clear. They had also announced its proposed closure (with the work transferring across the Mersey to Birkenhead) as long ago as March 2016.
 
At that stage there was no firm closure date and the office remained open for the rest of the year by which time it was added to list of sites to be considered by the People and Locations programme. “When we were first informed of the plan to close the office (in 2016) we felt reassured that those of us who could not move to Birkenhead would be found alternative jobs on the Liverpool side of the river, 18 months later the mood was very different”.
 
The list of sites for closure was finally announced on 5 July last year – Silkhouse Court was predictably on that list. The closure date was set as 4 September and following one-to-one interviews 15 people were accepted as having valid reasons why they should not be posted to Birkenhead. Of those 15 members posts were found for 4, leaving 11 members “unassigned” and in limbo by the time voluntary redundancy terms were offered in November.
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Up to the end of November management hadn’t found any alternative posts for these 11 and they were offered an exit package. It seemed likely most would leave the DWP at the end of February on a voluntary exit. “We feel we’ve been shafted” stated one member. I’ve lost any faith I had in DWP management” said another. What seemed like the final word went to the member who said.” Well after all these years I’m leaving the department, still, it’s their loss!”
 
Just as all seemed lost and in a welcome development all 11 were told that posts had indeed been found for them within DWP and on the Liverpool side of the river.
 
Former DWP Liverpool branch secretary Steve Bramhill said: “The difficulties members faced in finding alternative posts in a large conurbation like Merseyside makes you realise how difficult it’s been for those members in more remote areas. For many of the 9 though it’s just come far too late and they will be leaving. A sad waste of experienced staff and all so unnecessary.”

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