Public sector staff strike over job cuts

IPSWICH Jobcentre staff were among thousands staying away from work today as part of national strike action against public sector job cuts.

IPSWICH Jobcentre staff were among thousands staying away from work today as part of national strike action against public sector job cuts.

Jobcentre, Pension Service and Child Support Agency employees were taking part in a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) strike spanning today and tomorrow, which was called by the Public and Commercial Services Union.

The union claimed at least 50 staff from the Silent Street jobcentre failed to turn up for work and a few gathered outside on a picket line.

Steve Pinder-Banthorpe, the union's Ipswich representative, said: “It's predominantly lower end staff such as administration assistants taking part in the strikes but there is a good number of people with us and it has certainly affected the level of service.


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“Morale is very low. Great parts of the building and desks are sitting empty and people are demoralised.

“People are giving up their careers as they don't see a future, and as the most attractive redundancy packages are being offered to the higher-trained staff, we are losing a lot of experience.”

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Workers, who also went on strike in January, are protesting against the impact of plans to cut 30,000 jobs, announced in 2004.

A spokesman for the DWP said: ''We have contingency plans in place to ensure that our principal priority of making payments to our customers continues, while minimising the impact that industrial action may have on our services.

''If we are going to meet our commitment to deliver the highest quality of service to our customers, it is vital we push ahead with our modernisation programme. It is therefore disappointing that the PCS remains opposed to much of the change.''

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