Jobcentre staff 'vote with their feet' as week-long strike starts at Eastern Avenue site

A strike to oppose plans to close a job centre earlier this month. Staff are walking off the job all this week
A strike to oppose plans to close a job centre earlier this month. Staff are walking off the job all this week
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Jobcentre staff from a facility in one of Sheffield's most deprived neighbourhoods began a week-long strike today over its planned closure.

The first of the week's strikes took place between 6.45am and 10.30am as staff picketed out the front of the Eastern Avenue Jobcentre Plus at Arbourthorne.

They were opposing a government plan to close the centre, which would force clients to head into Sheffield city centre to access services.

There were less numbers than at a strike earlier this month, about 45 people picketed this time, as opposed to more than 70 last time, but less staff members worked at the centre today.

About six people turned up for work today, according to Public and Commercial Services Union member Clare Goonan.

Mrs Goonan has worked at the centre for the past 12 years.

"It was quite successful," the Prince of Wales Road resident said.

"There was a good turnout of staff. More members were on the picket line than on the Friday (of the previous strike).

"If we can do what we've done today every day this week, we'd be happy.

"I'm really happy with the success today."

Mrs Goonan was proud of her colleagues for 'leading the campaign'.

"They're speaking with their feet," she said.

"No one was crossing the picket line."

Passers-by were getting behind the cause, Mrs Goonan said.

"Lorry drivers, bus drivers and taxi drivers were all beeping their support," she said.

She stressed that the customers weren't affected by the industrial action.

Mrs Goonan said the clients' money was being paid and interviews re-arranged.

"We're doing this for them," she said.