PCS members in action, photo Paul Mattsson

PCS members in action, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

On 6 November PCS members took strike action to prevent a relocation which would likely result in around 50 redundancies. On the picket line the Socialist had the opportunity to speak to Jerry Crowley, Devon Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) PCS branch secretary and Robin Nicholl, South West PCS DWP regional organiser.

What is the reason for today’s strike action?

Jerry Crowley (JC) We’re striking to prevent a relocation to Clear Brook House. Should this relocation go ahead around 50 people could lose their jobs because they will be unable to travel to the new site for a variety of reasons: health, caring commitments, or through simple lack of transport.

What is the reason for the suggested relocation?

JC We don’t understand the rationale. We were told it was to save money but we believe that could be best achieved by maintaining the current set up. The back-of-house work still needs to be done and we believe it could and should be done here in the city centre. Retaining the current set up will eliminate the cost of relocation and potential redundancy payments and, most importantly save jobs.

What’s the mood been like on the picket line?

Robin Nicholl (RN) The mood has been buoyant.

JC It’s definitely been one of the best attended pickets we’ve held at this site.

RN And that’s really had a positive impact. We’ve signed up new members and we’ve emboldened a number of people not to cross the picket line.

What are the next steps from here?

RN If the employer proceeds with the planned relocation, our members are more than ready to take further action. Especially after the huge amount of support we’ve had from coworkers, members of the public and all those who have come out with us today on the picket line.