'More than 1000 jobs at risk' as DWP announces sweeping office closures

Over 1000 jobs are at risk over the closure of 13 sites, with closures scheduled to happen by June 2023.

‘More than 1000 jobs at risk’ as Department for Work and Pensions announces closure of 42 offices across UK iStock

Hundreds of jobs are at risk after the closure of dozens of Department for Work and Pensions offices was announced, a union has warned.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said 42 centres across the UK are to close, putting the livelihoods of at least 1000 people at risk.

PCS revealed that sites in Aberdeen, St Andrews, and Kirkcaldy are set to close with no alternative.

Sites in Bathgate, Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow, Clydebank, Springburn and Stirling are to be closed and relocated.

The closures are scheduled to happen by June 2023, with 13 processing sites set to close, while 29 sites are set for relocation.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The announcement has been devasting for PCS members, as thousands now face possible redundancy.

“Their union will be there for them, fighting for their jobs. But if they need support from the state, who will provide it when they’re gone?”

“The Government was quick to clap civil servants at the start of the pandemic – they’re even quicker to scrap them now they’ve declared the pandemic over.

“Our members have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, keeping the country running, paying out benefits to almost two-and-a-half million families, helping them to put food on their table and keep a roof over their head.

“These are the workers rightly praised in 2020 by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey as ‘exceptional’ and in November last year by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as ‘miracle workers’.

“But now, as food and fuel prices rise faster than ever, they’re being abandoned by the Government and left to fend for themselves.”

DWP minister David Rutley told MPs that meetings were being held with affected staff on Thursday.

A DWP spokesperson said: “As part of plans to improve the services we deliver to claimants, help more people into employment and modernise public services, DWP is moving some back office staff to better, greener offices, which will not affect any public-facing roles.

“This is not a plan to reduce our headcount – where possible, our colleagues in offices due to close are being offered opportunities to be redeployed to a nearby site, or retrained into a new role in DWP or another government department.

“We are making every effort to fully support our staff through this process.”

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