Council chief joins DWP jobs debate

Norcross civil service site
Norcross civil service site
Have your say

CIVIL servants who are fearing for their future have scheduled a high level meeting to discuss their jobs.

Thousands of jobs are to be re-located as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) site in Norcross is closed down and the operation moved to Peel Park, Marton.

And members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will meet with Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn on Monday to plan the way forward.

Duncan Griffiths, secretary of the Fylde Central Benefits and Services Branch, told The Gazette: “We hope we can build support from all the various political and non political bodies across the area to ensure the need for jobs and the economic viability of the Fylde coast is defended and advanced.

“We will want to discuss the ‘no job losses guarantee’ put forward as a result of the Norcross site, closing the leadership of the councils believed they had secured from the DWP.”

Last month’s announcement, which will see 1,200 jobs moved to the Brunel Way offices by the summer of 2013, was coupled with the news that DLA Child Case work will transfer from Warbreck to Birmingham.

This will not result in any compulsory redundancies at the Warbreck Hill site where the workers will all be given new roles and jobs.

However, Mr Griffiths, claims those roles will be phased out by 2016.

He added: “This is really disappointing news for the Fylde and the local economy and for people who live and work in the area.

“We believe the DWP has missed a real opportunity to retain the established expertise at Warbreck House.

“The reality is this means the permanent loss of several hundred jobs from the economy which, on top of the announcement closing Norcross, will only contribute to the decline in employment prospects in Blackpool and the continued devastation and decline of the local economy.”

Dean Rhodes, assistant secretary at the PCS, added: “We are extremely alarmed as to the future job prospects on the Fylde.”

Coun Simon Blackburn, leader of Blackpool Council, said: “I want to talk to them specifically about two things.

“Firstly, their views on the future of the Norcross site because the DWP has made it clear they are not going to be any jobs losses over and above what we already know about.

“The other key issue is transportation.

“It’s all well and good moving them around town but at the moment you can’t access Peel Park by public transport, which is totally unacceptable.

“We need to work with the DWP to see what they want to do to subsidise that transportation and talk to Blackpool Transport to see what they can do.”