Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/13062
Madness to close jobcentres says PCS
The Public and Commercial Services union has condemned plans to close 19 jobcentres across the UK as unemployment rises, announced by the Department for Work and Pensions today.
Despite a formal public consultation the offices in major cities including London, Manchester, Glasgow, and Cardiff are to close, including award-winning jobcentres such as Camberwell where 2,000 local people signed a petition against its closure.
Two offices in the public consultation will not now be closed: Edinburgh City and Old Swan on Merseyside, where there have been concerted PCS campaigns against closure.
The announcement is on top of the 22 benefit processing offices already earmarked for closure over the next year where despite initial assurances from the government that there would be no compulsory redundancy there are about 350 people who have not been found jobs.
Jobcentre workers are campaigning against office closures and will lobby their MPs next Wednesday (2 November).
Jobcentre Plus has slashed its workforce by more than 12,000 since January 2010 as ministers claimed unemployment would fall.
Last month unemployment rose sharply leading to fears that DWP will not have the capacity to cope. PCS has also criticised the cuts in policy and professional jobs in the department's headquarters which fall heavily on labour market expertise.
Ministers have demanded a further headcount cut on top of large cuts already made, despite announcing the largest programme of welfare reform for a generation.