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Jobcentre staff in an area of high unemployment are threatening strike action as the number of those out of work rises again

Department for Work and Pensions senior managers are trying to force more than 150 jobcentre staff in Merseyside to transfer to call centres in the area.

Unemployment continues to rise nationally, according to the latest official figures published today, and in Merseyside it is the highest it has been since February 2010.

The union, which represents 85% of the 1,500 jobcentre staff across Merseyside, says more jobcentre workers are needed, not fewer, and that any transfers should then be voluntary.

As well as the compulsory transfers, which would amount to a reduction in admin grade staff in the area of around 28%, the department is pressing ahead with plans to close jobcentres and call centres nationally.

The dispute, which the union says will lead to a strike ballot if it is not resolved, comes as unemployment across the UK again reached its highest level since the Tories were last in office.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "With rising unemployment, government ministers must do more to provide support through jobcentres, but instead they're cutting staff and closing offices.

"It makes no economic sense to continue to cut vital public services at precisely the time that they are most needed."

 

Written by Scott Buckler
Thursday, 15 December 2011 12:12

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