Social security staff face job loss threat

PUBLISHED: 07:33 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:07 24 May 2010

A PUBLIC services union is warning that redundancies could be on the horizon among social security workers in Weston. The office in Union Street closed to the public in February and will shut for good in June. Only part of the workforce will be relocated

A PUBLIC services union is warning that redundancies could be on the horizon among social security workers in Weston.The office in Union Street closed to the public in February and will shut for good in June. Only part of the workforce will be relocated to the Job Centre Plus building in the High Street. The remaining workers will be either relocated to an office in Bristol or made redundant.Public and Commercial Service Union representative Richard Capps said: "These changes are part of national Government restructuring, but quite a lot of staff have already left. It is a haemorrhage of talent and the remaining people face a very uncertain future."Because of the technology available, the people in Weston could carry on doing the processing work from here. This is what we will be pushing for rather than see these experienced and trained people thrown on the scrapheap."Weston's MP John Penrose, a member of the Government's work and pensions select committee, had a tour of the offices on Wednesday. He said: "I was tremendously impressed by the dedication and the experience of the staff who are working in very trying circumstances in light of losing their jobs or being deployed elsewhere."They are determined to do the right thing by their clients and are grappling with many of the same issues that the select committee has identified and is aiming to resolve as a result of Government spending cuts and efficiency savings."A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: "There are 43 staff remaining at the office until all benefit processing work is moved to our Bristol office on 23 June. The building will then be handed back to the owner."We are talking to individual staff. It is our aim to redeploy people to another post within DWP or to another Government department within the mobility arrangements that apply to each grade."Although we will try to maintain employment for as many staff as possible we cannot guarantee no redundancies. We will, however, do everything possible to ensure that compulsory redundancy is used as a last resort. "Redundancies will only take place after all other options, including voluntary releases, have been considered.

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