Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/363/5961
Anger Grows At Job Cuts
SIAN RUDDICK is on the group executive of the PCS for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and is also the regional chair for the PCS in the DWP in the West Midlands. This area is facing the largest batch of office closures in Scotland, England and Wales. Seven offices are threatened - out of a total of 37.
"WE HAVE a meeting with management on 20 September and we need to assess what jobs are threatened, whether redeployment is offered and what jobs will be lost.
"I've spoken to some members in one of the threatened offices and there is absolute anger there. People are concerned and we are getting more people joining the union in order to come out on strike on 5 November.
"It's mainly social security offices that are closing, that provide an across the board service. Shrewsbury is an office which deals with quite a large geographical area which people have to travel to get to. The new plans will leave a small JobCentre there but that will not be able to deal with all the inquiries and so it will mean a worsening service for the public.
"These offices are already stretched as it is and you are going to get more people going into a smaller number of offices for advice and help. This will put pressure on the staff who will find it hard to cope with the numbers. People will get frustrated if they have to wait, can't get their benefits sorted or their inquiry dealt with.
"The national strike affects all the civil service but obviously DWP management are moving very quickly and we are going to have to take that on board in our campaigning and involving community groups, welfare groups and the public to assist our struggle.
"More people are wanting to do things in the union now and more people are getting involved because of the anger they feel at the government's plans."
In The Socialist 25 September 2004:
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