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Wales: DWP announces office closures and job losses
Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales
Civil service union PCS has reacted with anger to the announcement that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that it intends to close and merge jobcentres across the country resulting in 750 job losses. This includes four sites in Wales by March 2018.
Llanelli Jobcentre will close causing the loss of 146 jobs in the town and the real threat of compulsory redundancies.
Three jobcentres at Pyle in Bridgend, Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley and Tredegar in Blaenau Gwent will also close. Claimants in these areas face expensive bus journeys and long walks to sign on.
DWP also announced further office closures in Merthyr, Caerphilly, Cwmbran, Newport and Cardiff which will force 1,700 workers to travel long and expensive distances to work every day, sometimes involving three bus journeys each way.
Katrine Williams, PCS Wales chair and PCS DWP group vice president, condemned the office closures: "The DWP should not be removing jobs and services from areas of high unemployment and threatening our members with the risk of redundancy.
"There is a massive amount of work and support that we need to deliver to the public and the best way to do this is with sites and our members based in the local communities. PCS will continue to fight all office closures that adversely impact jobs and services to the public."
These closures would have been even worse but for an energetic campaign by PCS in the consultation phase that pushed the government back on some issues. The Porth office will close but instead of nearly 100 workers being relocated to Caerphilly they will move to Tonypandy two miles away, so these valuable jobs will remain in the Rhondda valley.
But the government still intends to uproot workers and relocate many of them in a new building in Treforest, near Pontypridd. The DWP bosses were left with red faces as the design for the new offices were discovered on an architect company's website, only to be hastily taken down as word spread.