The Public and Commercial Services union will oppose plans announced today (27) to close more than one in 10 jobcentres.

The proposals put thousands of jobs at risk and would mean unemployed people having to travel further to get help getting back to work.

The union, which represents 50,000 of the 80,000 staff in the Department for Work and Pensions, is already campaigning against plans to close half of Glasgow’s jobcentres.

Today’s announcement would mean by March 2018:

Closure of 78 of 714 jobcentres in England, Scotland (including Glasgow previously announced) and Wales, with work and staff transferring to the nearest office
Another 80 jobcentres to be co-located in local authority buildings
Closure of one fifth of the DWP’s 150 non-frontline offices, including benefit processing sites and call centres, with a further 40 only guaranteed to stay open for another three to five years
At least 18 of the threatened jobcentres are outside a commitment previously given by ministers that no site would close if it would take 20 minutes or more to reach the next nearest by public transport.

DWP has refused to rule out making compulsory redundancies.

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.

“We are opposed to these closures and will vigorously fight any attempt to force DWP workers out of their jobs.”