14 October 2014
strike for five days from 13th to 17th October in the fight to keep the site open. This follows two well supported one day strikes in May and June of this year.
41 people joined the picket line on Monday.
The closure of Garston is part of the Government’s cuts programme and the only justification given by management is it to save money. This is just the latest closure in Liverpool which has seen nearly 1,000 jobs cut by DWP in the last 9 years. Many of the Garston members face their second or third compulsory move in as many years.
In past moves many workers were given the choice of moving to Garston Call Centre or Bootle Call Centre and chose Garston. Now the only option on offer for most staff is a transfer to Bootle which is many miles away and beyond mobility for many due to caring responsibilities or on health grounds.
Perfectly reasonable alternatives put by PCS to management to set up satellite call centres in South Liverpool have been rejected as too expensive yet have already been set up in Lancaster, Skegness, Luton, Redruth, Gravesend and Boston – where nobody wanted them!
There has not been a fight back over a local closure like this in the Civil Service for years and has to be seen in the context of the wider fight back against the Tory cuts. The low paid workers provide a benefit enquiry service to claimants to JSA and ESA and the five days strike will mean a total of eight days pay lost this year.
Although PCS has agreed to pay 50% strike pay for 4 of the five days many workers will face hardship.
Messages of support and donations should be sent to: PCS DWP Liverpool Branch VIA Leeds@pcs.org.uk and Cheques made out to ‘PCS DWP Liverpool Branch Hardship fund’ via PCS 3rd floor,Jack Jones House, islington, liverpool L3 8EG
The PCS are encouraging branches to do bucket collections to support the strikers