22 March 2022

DWP office closure causes me enormous uncertainty

There is a great uncertainty and sadness following the DWP office announcement, says Mary, a PCS member who works as an executive office at Durham House in Washington, one of more than 40 offices earmarked for closure

I am based at Durham House in Washington from where all staff are being relocated to Sunderland Wear View House. Living in a semi-rural location near Durham my car journey to work is 20 minutes with ample free parking available on and off site. 

DWP has for some absurd reason chosen to relocate well over 1,000 staff to a site with next to no staff parking, in a city centre notorious locally for its nightmare one-way busy roads and difficult, expensive parking (up to £9 a day we are told). Despite the fact the site is only 6 miles from Durham House this means that my car journey will increase from 20 minutes to well over an hour and with considerable cost at a time when we're trying to absorb huge cost-of-living rises and no pay rises. I'm part-time with childcare responsibilities so the travelling time and parking costs look likely to be unreasonable compared to my hours and income, especially as I wanted to get back to the office more than 40% of my time in the interest of well-being. My bus journey however would be an estimated 1 hour 40 minutes each way, so even worse. 

At the moment I'm hoping I can push to try and work in the same role in a local office, as a lot of my team (customer experience) already do this and it's a remote team based all over the country. I'm not optimistic about this however as so many people will be trying to do the same thing with not enough desks to go round. The alternative seems to be redeployment which feels like a huge gamble, especially as I love my role and am very experienced in it. It also feels like a huge gamble after 28 years’ service without knowing the terms of any potential redeployment or redundancies. 

This is just my situation and I know there'll be hundreds similar or worse in my office alone. Very sad days for staff.

The member’s name has been changed.

Send a message of support to the group by emailing dwp@pcs.org.uk

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