Staff vote to strike over closure

Whitley Bay Jobcentre
Whitley Bay Jobcentre

A demonstration is being held at the weekend to protest about the closure of Whitley Bay Jobcentre.

The centre is due to shut its doors on August 18, with both staff and claimants being moved to North Shields.

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members at the Jobcentre have voted to take strike action on August 17 and 18, and the union is organising a rally this Saturday to demonstrate against the closure.

It will be held at noon next to the Jobcentre on Whitley Road, and speakers will include Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell and PCS vice-president Fran Heathcote.

The office is one of a number being closed by the Government. Officials at the Department of Work and Pensions say the move is to help save money.

But the union says the closure will be detrimental to the public, staff and the town’s economy. It says great efforts have been made to regenerate Whitley Bay and the closure will take both jobs and services out of the town.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Jobcentres provide a lifeline for unemployed people and forcing them to travel further is not only unfair, it undermines support to get them back to work.”