By Jamie Capstick
Civil servants in Sheffield went on strike this morning and mounted a picket outside the Sheffield Department for Business, Innovation and Skills over job losses.
It follows the decision to outsource the department to London, with hundreds set to lose work by 2020.
The strike is being organised by the union attached to the BIS, the Public and Commercial Services Union, who say that they have not been consulted about the proposals.
In a ballot vote over whether to take industrial action, a 53% workforce turnout yielded a 96% approval for a strike.
Marion Lloyd, president of the BIS and PCS groups in Yorkshire led the action.
Marion Lloyd speaks about the plan’s impact on Sheffield as a whole.
She said, “The turnout on the picket line is excellent. I think the turnout for the strike is also excellent. At the moment the strike is absolutely solid, demonstrating strongly how people feel about the keeping their jobs and keeping them in Sheffield.”
“The announcements demonstrate the department wants to cut 40% of jobs which means nobody is safe at any site, and that’s why it’s so important that we win this particular dispute.”
“Obviously it will protect other people too.”
It’s thought under the plans that the department will be closed by 2018, and would mean moving 250 jobs to central London, which the PCS say goes against ministers agenda and government aims for the civil service.
A recent BIS report indicated that a total of £1.5m could be saved closing down the Sheffield branch.
Yet the same plan revealed that it would cost £1.6 million to replace the lost workforce- meaning the scheme could end up more expensive.
It is apparent the BIS are aware of the ballot action taken by the Sheffield group.
The PCS are considering a timetable of further strike action.