100 jobs to go at Department for Work and Pensions site in Portsmouth
UNION officials have described the closure of a Department for Work and Pensions site in Cosham with the loss of 100 jobs as ‘disgraceful’.
It comes as the landlord of the office at Roebuck House wants to convert the building into dozens of flats.
But the decision has been condemned by the Public and Commercial Services Union which has been campaigning against the move.
It said the closure would be 'a terrible loss' to the area and that it 'flies in the face' of department efforts to open new offices across the country.
'These job losses are a devastating blow to our members and to the local economy,' industrial officer Ian Bartholomew said.
'It makes no sense to throw 100 workers on the scrapheap when pensions processing needs more staff, not less.
'Staff are extremely angry and we will now mount a vigorous campaign to defend this crucial local service.'
He said the union was considering 'all options' to fight the closure, including the potential for strike action.
The centre had been due to close in April as part of a closure but this was put on hold to help accommodate the recruitment of thousands of work coaches at the start of the pandemic.
With DWP intending to open up 200 hundred new buildings across the country this decision to close a site in Portsmouth flies in the face of that approach, the union said.
The leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said the news was 'extremely disappointing' and questioned the decision to cut 'when it's already a real struggle for people to get pensions advice'.
'This is another example of the government closing local services when the opposite is what's needed,' he said.
'I get complaints from people all the time about the difficulty in getting support with pensions and this will do the opposite to helping.
'It also means we are losing 100 good jobs from the city and that obviously has a big knock-on effect.'
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said it was making it 'a priority' to redeploy all affected staff and that it was 'consulting closely' with them.