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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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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
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.



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PCS, the Labour Party and Green Party hit the streets this weekend to collect signatures for the ‘Save Eastern Avenue Petition’ 12/03/2017

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Comrades from the Arbourthorne and Gleadless Valley branches of the Heeley Constituency Labour Party and the Green Party joined with PCS members to collect more signatures for the petition opposing the proposed closure of Eastern Avenue Jobcentre.  Collecting over 250 signatures from a predominantly supportive public.

(The number of signatures on the combined petitions to save Eastern Avenue now stands at over 500-With 250+ on Louise Haighs online petition here.)

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Sheffield Branch Annual General Meeting shows solidarity for Eastern Avenue Staff and Community 08/03/2017

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The sixty plus attendees of Sheffield DWP PCS Branch united in solidarity with their colleagues in the threatened Eastern Avenue site and the vulnerable residents of the surrounding community by unanimously agreeing a motion  of support (below) to take to the PCS Annual Conference.

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“This Branch notes the proposal from the DWP to close Eastern Avenue Job Centre.

Eastern Avenue Job Centre serves approximately 6000 local people in Sheffield, including some of the most deprived areas in the country. It also employs 75 people.

The reasons for closure are based simply on reducing costs by cutting the numbers of buildings used by the DWP as part of the Tory cuts to public services.

The proposed closure will have a devastating effect on some of Sheffield’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents.

The closure of this Job Centre will result in people having to travel into the city-center to sign-on for benefits and seek help with looking for work etc.

For many this will be at a financial cost that they can ill afford when in receipt of benefits. The alternative to the cost of public transport is one-hour walk each way.

There will also be an additional knock-on effect for the local shops with 75 staff being relocated to the city center and the thousands who use the services being forced to go elsewhere.

This Branch notes and welcomes the support of the local MPs in the campaign to oppose the closure. In particular we note that Louise Haigh, MP for Heeley, spoke at the public meeting organized by PCS and has initiated a petition in opposition to the office closure.

This Branch welcome the decision of the PCS members based at Eastern Avenue to oppose the closure.

We further welcome the decision of union members at Eastern Avenue to be balloted for strike action as part of the fight against closure of the office.

This Branch agrees to give full support to PCS union members and members of the local community to keep Eastern Avenue open as a fully functioning job Centre.

We also agree to increase fund-raising efforts for assistance with strike funds.”

Eastern Avenue Support Continues to Grow 06/03/2017

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The following groups/individuals have pledged their support to the campaign to keep Eastern Avenue open:

Sheffield City Council
Sheffield Trades Council
Louise Haigh MP-Sheffield Heeley
Clive Betts MP-Sheffield South East
Paul Blomfield MP-Sheffield Central
Heeley Labour Party
Birley Labour Party
Green Party Sheffield
Disabled Peaple Against the Cuts Sheffield
Unite Community Sheffield

Campaigners attend protest over plans to close Jobcentre in one of Sheffield’s most deprived areas 06/03/2017

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“Tom Bishell, DWP branch secretary for PCS Sheffield, said: ‘We believe it should stay open. We think there is enough unemployment and enough reasons to need DWP services to continue to have a presence on that site.’

Campaigners say the Eastern Avenue centre is used by more than 1,100 people per week and that claimants can’t afford the additional travel costs of travelling into the city centre.

Mr Bishell said residents need a site that ‘serves their community, which is best based in their community’.”

View the article here.

Lobby of Parliament-Opposing National Office Closures 06/03/2017

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The group executive committee has agreed to hold a national DWP Lobby of Parliament as part of our campaign to oppose the office and job centre closures in DWP.

PCS branches in the DWP have 50,000 members spread over every constituency in the country. Many members of parliament have already committed to working with PCS to oppose office closures. A successful lobby will enable us to build on this and maximise pressure on other MPs to join and support our campaign.

The lobby will be held on Tuesday 28 March 2017 13.00 to 16.30

The lobby will start with a meeting for PCS reps and members from 1.00pm till 2.00pm in Committee Room 16 in the House of Commons.

Don’t worry if you have never attended a lobby of Parliament before. PCS will issue step-by step guidance to help you and there will be PCS reps present on the day to give you advice and guidance on what to do.

After the briefing meeting reps and members will lobby MPs in the House of Commons central lobby from 2pm till 4pm.

There will also be a drop-in room in Committee Room 16 in the House of Commons where MPs who are not being lobbied can come along and find out about our campaign.


View in full: http://www.pcs.org.uk/department-for-work-and-pensions/news/opposing-office-closures-dwp-national-lobby-of-parliament

Eastern Avenue Job Centre – Local MP and Councillor Consultation Response 03/03/2017

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Local MP Consultation Response

Sheffield Councillors Consultation Response

Proposed Eastern Avenue Jobcentre Closure-Demonstration to mark the end of the Public Consultation Period-Press Coverage and Photo 28/02/2017

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PCS DWP Sheffield Branch response to DWP proposed closure of Eastern Avenue Jobcentre 27/02/2017

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Public Consultation Document

Save Eastern Avenue Job Centre (Green Party) 24/02/2017

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“The annex to their own consultation paper says that the nearest job centre in the city is 3 miles and 24 minutes by public transport from Eastern Avenue. This does not allow for the heavy traffic which can often delay bus services entering the city centre. So clients who use public transport, if they can afford it, could well end up being late at the the jobcentre and ending up with a sanction. How are those who suffer from a disability supposed to walk 3 miles into the city centre and then 3 miles back uphill to Manor or Arbourthorne?

Manor Castle Green Party believes this proposed closure is not in the best interests of local residents and hopes that as many people as possible will set out their objections to the Government’s action, including our local councillors and MPs. The consultation closes at 5pm on 28th February.”

Read in full: http://manorcastlegreens.sheffieldgreenparty.org.uk/2017/02/17/save-eastern-avenue-job-centre/

Labour Fights Job Centre Closure 24/02/2017

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Cllr Leigh Bramall states: “I strongly oppose these proposals, as I believe they will have a damaging impact on how vital employment support is provided. There is a need for these services to be as close to people to as possible. The proposals do nothing for forming a serious joined-up strategy of how employment services should be run, and is yet another example from this government of financial short-sightedness”

Read in full: http://www.laboursheffield.org.uk/labour_fights_job_centre_closure

My opposition to job centre closure-Paul Blomfield MP (Labour) 24/02/2017

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In the House of Commons today, I told Department of Work and Pensions Minister Caroline Nokes MP:

“The Minister talks about jobseekers choosing the Jobcentre that is best for them. For many of my constituents, that is the one on Eastern Avenue that she is closing. Does she not recognise the additional travel costs she is imposing on those who can least afford it?”

Read in full: http://www.paulblomfield.co.uk/my_opposition_to_job_centre_closure

Proposed Eastern Avenue Jobcentre Closure-Further Questions in Parliament 23/02/2017

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Read in full: https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2017-02-20/debates/E319B3B9-A671-40FD-834B-59C40F53F026/JobcentrePlus(Closures)#contribution-F98EDABA-D2CA-4578-AEF4-6D92F64600EF