MPs show support for PCS campaign against DWP office closures
Our briefing session on Wednesday was attended by more than 20 MPs and parliamentary staff who were there to hear about our response to the recently announced DWP processing site closures. In addition to these back of house job cuts, 5 jobcentre closures had been announced on the day of the meeting, which increased the concern among those present.
PCS DWP Group President, Martin Cavanagh, gave MPs an overview of what the announcements would mean to the staff in the offices affected. He said that in addition to the closures announced this month that there are likely to be more as DWP is reviewing its whole estate in the next 2 years with the potential for massive redundancies.
He warned that although for many of the sites earmarked for closure, the employer claims it is confident that staff would be redeployed in what they call a ‘lift and drop’ process, it wasn’t that straightforward. Many staff would be unable to follow their jobs elsewhere as it took longer to get to other offices than has been assumed and our members will have caring responsibilities and other considerations that prevent them from being able to make the move.
We also raised the inadequate consideration being given to the equality and socioeconomic impacts of the closures. We believe that the closures will have detrimental impact on women and disabled members and the fact that so many of the closures are in deprived areas puts a mockery on the government’s so-called ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Many of the MPs present spoke at the briefing to raise concerns about the impact on their constituents that work in the threatened sites, as well as on the services that they provide. They also shared our concerns that many staff would not be able to be redeployed or relocated as easily as ministers are assuming.
The feedback was overwhelmingly supportive of the union’s position to oppose the closures. PCS will continue briefing MPs to maximise political pressure on the government to protect the livelihoods of our members and local communities.
Many of the parliamentarians that attended the briefing were there because PCS members had invited them using our e-action. It is vitally important that members continue to use the e-action to contact your local MPs to keep the pressure on locally. Feedback any contact you have with your local MP to email@example.com.
You can also sign our petition to call for the Secretary of State for DWP, Therese Coffey to halt redundancies and office closures.
Tell us how you think the closures could affect you by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org