On 25 August, local people from the Lanarkshire town of Coatbridge will join PCS members, local politicians, Jeremy Corbyn, and others to protest the closure of their local DWP office.
The Coatbridge Benefits Centre is a frontline service in the UK’s welfare system, staffed by several hundred workers. The site could be shut down forever by 11 September 2017 as part of the DWP’s drastic cuts to local offices.
A place in local history
Coatbridge has played a famous role in Scottish working-class history. The town housed major ironworks at Summerlee and the Monklands canal, which transported materials to Glasgow’s burgeoning Clydeside and helped Scotland achieve industrial fame. In the 1980s Coatbridge, like many towns in Lanarkshire, underwent an agonising deindustrialisation which led to unemployment and associated social problems. But the legacy of trade union struggle in Coatbridge still runs deep.
People in the town, and across Lanarkshire, know that the closure will damage the local economy. The site is a large employer by local standards, and although staff may be redeployed, the effects of reduced footfall and economic activity in an area like Coatbridge could add to the suffering of local businesses and infrastructure.
Rally against the closure
The plans to shut DWP offices across the country represents an attack on the welfare state. Coatbridge is a town with a strong industrial legacy and a rich heritage of trade union struggle, and its role in protecting social security service from cuts today is no different.
The rally on Friday 25 August will start at 1pm at the Quadrant on Main Street, Coatbridge.
We are pleased to announce that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will address the crowd, as will new local MP Hugh Gaffney, himself a lifelong trade unionist. PCS will be represented by our national president Janice Godrich and PCS DWP Lanarkshire branch secretary, Gillian Jones.
After the rally, we will march to the DWP office, which is a short walk from the Quadrant.
The UK government’s plan to close these offices is part of the same agenda that threatens all public services. The fight against office closures is a community fight, as well as a trade union one. We must all stand together to fight these cuts: an injury to one is an injury to all.
How you can help
- Keep up to date with the campaign on our website
- Send messages of support to Leeds@pcs.org.uk
- Make a donation to our fighting fund to support striking members online or by cheque to PCS DWP Group, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8LY.