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Staff at Southall Jobcentre to strike after government decision to close Broadway location

Staff will strike on September 12 in protest at 'unfair' treatment of Southall community

Staff at the Southall Jobcentre earmarked for closure have announced they will be striking in protest.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced in July that the Jobcentre would be closing in what the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) described as a "sham public consultation".

The staff, all members of PCS, will stage their walkout on September 12, protesting the "unfair removal of a vital and important service" to the deprived, multi-ethnic community of Southall.

The union argues members of the community will now need to pay more money to travel to the nearest Jobcentre, with one claimant saying the additional cost would amount to 40% of his weekly food budget.

Under changes brought in under the Coalition government in 2012, Jobseeker's Allowance can be withdrawn for four weeks if claimants fail to attend appointments at the Jobcentre.

Protesters gathered outside Jobcentre Plus in Southall in March

PCS spokesman Theresa Raferty said "The staff are not taking strike action lightly. Strike action is a last resort.

"However, up to today, we are not sure how the DWP intends to mitigate for the impact on people in severe deprivation, with certain protected characteristics, such as the Black, Asian, Minority ethnic (BAME) community, the disabled and the vulnerable."

The Jobcentre is facing closure under country-wide plans from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It comes after nationwide research showed eight out of 10 claims are made online with 20% of office space underused, DWP said.

In March, around 50 protesters gathered outside of the Jobcentre Plus to fight its potential closure, in an attempt to reverse the plan they feel will damage the area.

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