By Luke Lonergan
A group of Civil Servants will stage a 24 hour strike at the government centre for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in Sheffield on Thursday.
The strike comes as the government department plan to close the Sheffield BIS office in a plan to cut costs, and to ‘improve efficiency’ by incorporating the department into the London HQ.
It means the loss of over 250 jobs at the St Paul’s Place office in Sheffield City Centre.
The protest was agreed after a ballot returned 96% in favour of striking, on a 53% turnout.
Permanent secretary of the department, Martin Donnelly, said the move would help create six more new centres nationwide, each focusing on a different area of business, but did not comment on why he chose for the Sheffield to be closed.
All 150 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union who work at the offices will be involved in the strike and the union plans further walkouts in the future.
This will have an immediate effect on the running of the department, with the planned closure to come some time in 2018.
A BIS spokesperson said: “It remains our top priority that all our staff are fully briefed and consulted during the process. We take their future and the contribution they have made very seriously, and will provide comprehensive support to all those facing a potential change or loss of job.”
“BIS offcials, board members and the Permanent Secretary have engaged with staff and unions as part of the formal consultation which ended on 2 May. The board are now in the process of giving full consideration to responses received, and a decision will be communicated to staff during the week beginning 23 May.”