UNION leaders say they fear yet more jobs are to be taken away from the Fylde coast’s Government offices – just days after it was announced two departments were to be moved.
Bosses said executive officer-grade staff are to be targeted as part of a new Service Delivery Optimisation Plan, which aims to produce savings of 40 per cent as part of the Government’ spending review.
The union believes more work is being moved to Cardiff, giving the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) more reason to dismiss fixed-term staff at the end of their contracts, moving jobs out of the area in the process.
And it is thought the major Shared Service sites in Sheffield, Newcastle and Fylde are going to be hit hardest. There are 488 staff working in the department at Norcross.
The Public and Commercial Services union has told management any cuts are unacceptable.
Duncan Griffiths, secretary of the Fylde Central Benefits and Services branch, said: “The next few months will be a very difficult time for members in Shared Services as it will be for the other members who work in other areas of DWP work in the Fylde which will be subject to the cuts.
“In times of high unemployment in the Blackpool area we feel rather than cutting jobs in the area the Government should be investing in jobs.”
And branch chairman Martin Jones added: “We are concerned jobs are being purposefully transferred to Cardiff to free up resources to enable fixed term contract staff here to be dismissed.
“We are also concerned about the ongoing absence of an industrial relations dialogue locally to discuss any of this.”
More than 2,160 jobs have been lost on the Warbreck and Norcross sites since 1999.
All the Fylde coast’s MPs have pledged to meet with employment minister Chris Grayling after the party conferences in a bid to attract devolved DWP London jobs to the Fylde coast.
Mr Griffiths added: “We are pleased to see the local MPs have agreed to raise the issue of the job cuts and the need for the area’s economic future to be considered.
“We believe our campaign to defend jobs on the Fylde is just and fair.”
No one from the DWP was available for comment.