‘1,000 jobs’ under threat in Sheffield

Jobs under threrat: Mayfield Court,West Street.
Jobs under threrat: Mayfield Court,West Street.
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AS MANY as 1,000 Department for Work and Pensions jobs in Sheffield could be axed after a major Government shake-up, union bosses fear.

Staff have been told 3,000 of the DWP’s 10,000 corporate jobs across the country - around a fifth based at sites in Sheffield - will go between now and 2015.

The DWP has also announced the closure of its office at Mayfield Court on West Street, where between 300 and 400 staff work.

Bosses say they are not expecting compulsory redundancies and staff are expecting to be offered alternative posts.

But workers fear replacement jobs available within the department could be up to an hour’s commute away.

One member of staff said: “Our Christmas party was only held on Friday night, when staff were in limbo about what would happen to their jobs so hardly felt like celebrating.

“It has certainly spoilt the festivities not knowing what is going to happen.

“There are a lot of people in their late 50s who may want to take voluntary redundancy, but many other staff do not know where they are going.

“Higher executive officers have now been told what is happening but it is other executive officers and administration staff who are likely to bear the brunt of the redundancies and they will not be given details until January.

“We have been told that many people whose jobs will go from the corporate division are likely to be offered redeployment within the department at places such as job centres - but these could be up to an hour’s journey away.”

Martin John, national officer for the PCS civil service union, said: “The number of job losses represents almost a third of corporate posts.

“In Sheffield, there are 2,000 corporate staff, so between 500 and 1,000 could go.

“A lot of these job losses will be expert specialist posts. If the Government was serious about responding to rising unemployment it would be increasing the capacity of the DWP not making these cuts.

“There is so much work for staff to do at present that they cannot cope.”

The DWP also has buildings off Hanover Way and at Steel City House on West Street.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: “Nationally, we are reducing corporate posts by about 3,000 between 2011 and 2015. Because many posts have flexible locations it’s not possible to say how many of these will be in Sheffield.

“However it will remain one of our major hub sites for corporate roles. We do not expect any compulsory redundancies in Sheffield from this.

“Because we have redesigned our corporate operations most people have new and different elements to their roles. So redeployment isn’t really a meaningful term here as it could be applied to everyone.

“We have given notice on Mayfield Court as we don’t need all our Sheffield estate in future. Staff and functions will be rehoused in our other buildings, two of which are also on West Street.”