The government is abandoning unemployed, sick and disabled people, and putting hundreds of jobs at risk, by confirming today the closure of almost one in 10 jobcentres.
The news comes as we announce our members in Eastern Avenue jobcentre in Sheffield, one of the threatened sites, will strike again from 17 to 21 July following a week-long walkout in June.
The Department for Work and Pensions has announced just six of the original 78 jobcentres earmarked for closure will remain open, and only 11 of the 80 planned to co-locate with local authorities have been given a reprieve – and in most cases because of a lack of space in council buildings.
Two jobcentres that were to stay open have been added to the closure list.
We are calling on DWP to immediately publish the equality analyses it carried out for each site closure. Currently these are being kept secret.
Two ‘back of house’ offices have also been saved, but at other sites closures mean compulsory redundancies are highly likely. Redundancies are also likely from planned corporate centre office closures, as staff will not be able to relocate.
When our 50 members in Eastern Avenue walked out for five days in June shadow chancellor John McDonnell sent a message of support, saying: “The DWP has forced through this office closure programme with no consideration for either the service or the staff.”
Our general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “While we are pleased a handful of threatened sites will now stay open, thanks to the hard work of our members, community groups and local MPs, it is utterly disgraceful that DWP is pressing ahead with these closures.
“This Tory government is abandoning unemployed, sick and disabled people, making it harder for them to access the services they need, and putting jobcentre jobs at risk. We will continue to oppose these plans in every way we can.”