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PCS website update on Eastern Avenue strike 02/06/2017

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(Quotes from PCS website-Read article in full here.)

PCS members at the DWP Sheffield Eastern Avenue jobcentre have taken strike action today over the proposed closure of the office which provides vital services to the community.

Today members took a day’s strike action and will take another five days starting on Monday 12 June.

The strike today was very well supported.

Managers from other sites were brought over to keep the jobcentre open to the public but they would have received a much reduced service.

There was a large picket line outside the office with up to 45 members and reps there at one point.  DWP group president Fran Heathcote was on the picket line and other supporters include local Labour candidates Louise Haigh and Paul Bloomfield and Natalie Bennett from the Green Party.

Local rep Jamie Godfrey said, “The massive picket line and support from the community this morning has been great. It shows we are doing the right thing defending our jobcentre from closure and I’m proud to be part of the PCS campaign.”

 

 

Sheffield Star coverage of the strike 02/06/2017

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http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/staff-strike-to-oppose-closure-plans-for-eastern-avenue-jobcentre-1-8575271

Amazing turnout for first day of Eastern Avenue Strike 02/06/2017

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Eastern Avenue staff and comrades taking part in the first day of strike action in defense of the threatened site:-.

 

Support the Eastern Avenue Strikers by giving online below! 27/05/2017

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https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/PCSDWPSHEFFIELD

Eastern Avenue Strike 27/05/2017

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Eastner Avenue Strike Page 1Eastner Avenue Strike Page 2

Eastern Avenue Ballot Results 22/05/2017

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The Ballot results for Eastern Avenue Strike Action are as follows:-

92% in favour of strike action.
8% against strike action.

96% in favour of action short of strike.
4% in against action short of strike.

The legal threshold for both ballots was exceeded.

PCS National Disputes Committee has agreed for an initial one day strike on the 2nd of June 2017 with further action to be considered.

PCS has written to management with the results and notified them of the first day of action.

Sheffield Live Article on Eastern Avenue Closure Demo 15/05/2017

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Lee Rock Campaign Victory! 10/05/2017

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Lee was dismissed by DWP in February 2013. The branch maintained that he his dismissal was unfair, discriminatory and related to his Trade Union role. After a successful Employment Tribunal Lee was reinstated with and repaid his wages for the 3.5 years from dismissal to his reinstatement. However the union still believed there should be payment made to Lee regarding his treatment. Despite attempts to settle before the ‘Remedy Hearing’ Lee was unable to agree a figure with DWP and the Tribunal awarded Lee £15,000. This figure was higher than the union or Lee expected but goes some way to demonstrate the position of the Tribunal Judge regarding Lee’s treatment.

Lee and the branch reps wish to thank all branch members (and other activists) who have supported us during this campaign. After an extended period of time the matter is now closed and confirms that the union’s initial assessment was correct regarding his dismissal.

Eastern Avenue Members Meeting 24/04/2017

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Eastern Avenue Members Carpark Meeting

Eastern Avenue Strike Ballot 24/04/2017

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Vote Yes PCS

The ballot period for Eastern Avenue staff to vote on whether to take industrial action over the proposed closure of the community jobcentre is due to open on the 28th of April.

Eastern Avenue members will receive their ballot papers soon.  If they have not received them by the 28th members are advised to contact their local reps.

The local branch and PCS GEC recommend a ‘YES’ vote in support of industrial action to save Eastern Avenue Jobcentre.

The local PCS branch is seeking support for the members at Eastern Avenue in the form of donations to the local branch hardship fund, which can then be used directly to sustain any Eastern Avenue strikers or by sending letters of support.

To arrange a donation or send a letter of support please contact Branch Secretary – Tom Bishell here.

Labour Councillors Pass Motion Opposing Eastern Avenue Closure After Opposition Parties Walk Out 24/04/2017

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Labour Councillors pass a motion to defend Eastern Avenue Jobcentre in face of possible closure despite opposition councillors walking out.

“That this Council:-

(a)       opposes the decision to close Eastern Avenue Jobcentre on the basis of accessibility, capacity, impact on the community and inadequate departmental analysis & assessment of the impact itself;

(b)       believes that the process by which these proposals have been announced do not stand alone from the decision itself, with the initial decision having been made without conducting an impact assessment and without a clear picture of those individual claimants or future claimants whom it is likely to affect; including extremely vulnerable claimants with disabilities and mental health problems;

(c)        is concerned that the proposals are putting 70 jobs at risk and believes there are major concerns about whether claimants will be as well supported by a newly reconfigured service, with the local office potentially much further afield for claimants;

(d)       believes that even if these jobs are relocated, the changes to the service will take a large amount of workers out of the local community at Manor Top and this will impact on the area and local businesses;

(e)       notes that this Administration is vocal in its opposition to the damaging impact the closure of the Jobcentre could have on how vital employment support is provided, and believes that there is a need for these services to be as close to people as possible and yet the proposals do nothing for forming a serious joined-up strategy of how employment services should be run;

(f)        believes the proposed closure of Eastern Avenue Jobcentre is a bad decision by this Government and one which will become evidently worse as Universal Credit continues to be rolled out, as people who are in work will have to attend interviews at Jobcentres; and notes that, as such, councillors from this Administration have called on the Government to reconsider its decision; and furthermore, offers full support and solidarity to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in its campaign to keep the Centre open; and

(g)       notes that the public consultation has recently finished and that all nine Labour Councillors who represent the communities most affected – Park and Arbourthorne, Manor Castle and Richmond – submitted their objections to the plans, and hopes the Government takes heed of their advice and reconsiders those plans.”

Read the Sheffield Star article here.

End of Eastern Avenue Consultation Demo 06/04/2017

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A great turnout of between 20 and 30 people including community groups  (DPAC and Unite the Community), customers, MPs and staff gathered at the threatened Eastern Avenue site. Joining together in their opposition of the planned closure.

The DPAC representative provided the following photos and video footage of speakers Clive Betts and Martin John.

Sheffield Live cameras were present and a report is expected on Sheffield Live news tonight at 6.30pm.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=632541550274020&id=229011503960362

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=632546076940234&id=229011503960362

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=632547320273443&id=229011503960362

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=632542026940639&id=229011503960362

Save Eastern Avenue End of Consultation Demo 04/04/2017

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PCS Eastern Avenue End of Consult Page 1PCS Eastern Avenue End of Consult Page 2

Sheffield Branch Delegation attend lobby of Parliament in support of the threatened Eastern Avenue Jobcentre 31/03/2017

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A five strong delegation from Sheffield attended the recent PCS lobby of Parliament to speak to the MPs already on board with the campaign to Save Eastern Avenue and to press their cause with MPs unaware of the plight of Eastern Avenue and its surrounding community.

The lobby was well attended from across the UK with around 100 lobbyists speaking to over 40 MPs.  The MPS that the Sheffield delegation spoke to were fully supportive of the campaign and were asked to support the Early Day Motion to oppose Jobcentre closures (To ask your MP to sign click here.)

A number of speakers including MPs, the PCS Assistant Secretary and representatives of the Disabled People Against the Cuts spoke passionately about the impact and human cost the of closures planned by the DWP across the DWP estate.   Time and again they highlighted the lack of impact analysis and questioned the rationale for the closures.

You can read the PCS official write up here.

 

Pay Day Protest! 26/03/2017

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Despite some improvements in pay for some members under the Employee Deal. PCS still believes pay is far too low in DWP, especially considering the jobs we are expected to do! DWP still pays less than many other government departments for equivalent grades.

PCS is launching a pay campaigning across the civil service (and related public bodies), come join the Pay Day Protest in Sheffield outside St Paul’s Place in the Peace Gardens in Sheffield on 31/3/17 at 12.30pm (for around 30 minutes). Unfortunately this will need to be in your own time.

If you want to walk up with some reps from the branch we will be meeting in Hartshead Square at 12.15.

For further details see read the full PCS article here.

MPs attack DWP closure plans ahead of PCS lobby 20/03/2017

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MPs have again attacked the government’s plans to close more than 1 in 10 jobcentres, just days before a PCS national lobby of parliament on 28 March to oppose the closures.

During a backbench debate yesterday (16 March), called by PCS parliamentary chair Chris Stephens, a number of MPs from across the country criticised the government’s plans announced in January which put thousands of jobs at risk and would mean unemployed people having to travel further to get help getting back to work. A number of MPs had previously blasted the plans as “an attack on the vulnerable” in a Commons debate in January.

Members and supporters across the country have already emailed their MPs to urge them to join the lobby in committee room 16, Houses of Parliament (St Stephen’s gate entrance) Westminster, but we need as many people as possible to turn up to a public meeting at 1pm on the day and lobby their MPs from 2-4pm. If you have never attended a Lobby of Parliament before PCS will be on hand on the day to provide support.


Louise Haigh (Sheffield, Heeley, Labour) highlighted the fact that workloads for DWP staff have been increasing for years.

“It is claimed, on the government website, that the decisions are due to the claimant count reducing and the number of digital interactions increasing, and the fact that 20% of the DWP estate is underutilised,” she said.
“To take those one by one, it may be the case that the claimant count is falling, but I do not think that anyone could tell jobcentre staff anywhere in the UK that their workload has reduced in the past 7 years and is likely to continue to reduce — not least because of the rollout of Universal Credit, which is incredibly complex.”

Read the article in full  here.

Letter of support and solidarity received from comrades in PCS Forestry Commission 20/03/2017

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Tom,

On behalf of PCS FC Y&H Branch, I would like to express support and sympathy from Forestry Commission colleagues.

Your leaflet will be circulated among our members and pinned to our TU notice boards in Foss House (York), FC Yorkshire District Office (Pickering), and three other FC outstations.  In addition, I have sent it to someone I know who works for NYCC in County Hall (North Allerton) with the request that it be circulated among union members here too.  The main TU at this worksite is Unison but I believe your leaflet has three clear messages relevant to all TUs:

  • A worksite closure in a public-facing and critically important service is bad news for everyone
  • Two TUs (in this case PCS and Unite Community) are working together very effectively
  • Shop-floor DWP workers are demonstrating great sensitivity towards the plight of unemployed and disadvantaged members of our society: an important challenge to the usual negative media depiction of DWP.

 

Corinne McMinnis
Workplace Rep

 

PCS FC Yorkshire and the Humber Branch
Yorkshire Forest District
Outgang Road
Pickering
YO18 7EL

 

Lobby of Parliament Local Update 20/03/2017

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Two Local MPs have already agreed to meet with PCS member lobbyists on March the 28th. (UPDATE as of  26.3.17. Three MPs are now signed up to attend)

Despite strong interest locally and good numbers of members already signed up there are still tickets available for PCS members.

If you would like to attend contact  Jamie Godfrey or Bev Laidlaw.

Protest at Manor Top – Thursday 30th March 2017 – Assemble 5pm 19/03/2017

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Benfits Sanction Event Page 1Benfits Sanction Event Page 2

Save Eastern Avenue Campaign Update 16/03/2017

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PCS DWP Sheffield Branch continues to campaign against the proposed closure of Eastern Avenue Jobcentre.

Since the last update we have :

  •   finalised our submission for industrial action for the national union to consider.
  •   leafleted and collected hundreds of signature on our petition with other organisations.

The next steps of the campaign are :

  •  leafleting and petitioning outside Asda at Manor Top from 9am to 11am on Saturday the 18th of March.
  •  attending the PCS lobby of Parliament on Tuesday the 28th of March .  Any PCS DWP members can attend. Opposing office closures – DWP national lobby of Parliament
  •  supporting the Unite Community Day of Action which includes activity around Eastern Avenue and a film showing of I, Daniel Blake on Thursday the 30th March.
  •  continuing to raise concerns with DWP management.
  •  consulting with our members about the action we take as a branch.

We are also setting up a regular campaign committee which will meet regularly from next Wednesday at 5.30pm. The committee will be responsible for organising activity in the campaign.

If you are interested on being on this committee please contact info@pcsdwpsheffield.org.uk.