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Industrial DWP workers in Plymouth to strike over office closure

WORKERS in Plymouth are set to strike this week in a bid to save jobs and keep a much-needed benefit centre open.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will stage a 48-hour stoppage this Thursday and Friday as more than 50 people face redundancy due to the proposed closure of a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) centre.

Old Tree Court, which houses both a jobcentre and a working age, was earmarked for closure as part of government plans announced earlier this year to axe large numbers of DWP offices by March 2018.

However, a PCS branch campaign has saved the jobcentre and members are now fighting to keep the remainder of the site open.

The union argues that the plan to close Old Tree Court is short-sighted, as it would produce a minimal saving for the DWP but have a “catastrophic impact” on the staff made redundant as a result.

DWP bosses have rejected PCS proposals that would have avoided redundancies, leaving the union with no option but to call a strike.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “PCS members in Plymouth are making a brave stand to keep their office open and avoid staff being made redundant.

“DWP senior managers, backed up by ministers, are pushing on with their office closure programme with scant regard for the staff it employs. 

“There is no need for the DWP to force staff to transfer across the other side of the city and make other staff redundant. We are determined to keep the office fully open.”

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