Union members vote whether to strike over Jobcentre plans

Unemployed people in Sheffield could be forced to travel miles to sign up to Jobseekers’ Allowance, with a job centre at risk of closure.

A ballot over whether to strike against the closure of Eastern Avenue Jobcentre in Manor Top ended today.

48 Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) were polled to see if they wanted to strike.

The Sheffield Jobcentre is one of 78 that have been earmarked by the DWP to face action by March next year.

Some may face closure, while others could merge with local authorities, dependent on the type of office according to the DWP.

Over 100 offices could be affected in total, sparking nationwide campaigns.

A spokesman from PCS said: “If the centre closes people will have to travel further to sign on.

“The centre provides a lifeline for unemployed people and jobs for people in the community.”

The ballot has been running over the weekend, and closed at 12pm this afternoon.

A DWP spokesman said: “We’ve been clear that this is about improving the services we deliver, while making best use of taxpayers’ money.

“We are in the process of consulting with staff, and final decisions will be made after that is completed.”

They added that nothing was final, and that the department would not be making a decision until after next month’s General Election.

 

 

Matt Atkins

Student journalist in my first year at the University of Sheffield.

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