MP hands in jobs petition

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Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has ramped up pressure on the Government to scrap proposals to close the Department for Work and Pensions office in Annesley.

Ms De Piero presented a petition against the closure at Parliament and is speaking at a public meeting this week.

She met with employees from Waterfront House at Sherwood Park and members of the Public and Commercial Services Union at a House of Commons lobby held last week against plans to close dozens of DWP offices and Job Centres up and down the country.

The closure of the Annesley office would put 130 jobs at risk and some staff have been told that any alternative employment they would be offered by the DWP would be up to an hour’s drive away.

Around three-quarters of the staff who work in this office are women, many of whom have part-time working patterns to enable them to fulfil childcare responsibilities.

This means that commuting further away to another office would be very difficult, as would finding alternative employment that offers the same flexibility.

Ms De Piero presented the petition against the closure in the House of Commons chamber.

She will also be speaking at a public meeting organised by the PCS outside the Annesley office at 1pm on Friday.

She said: “The Government’s plans to close this office at Sherwood Park are short-sighted and irresponsible.

“There has been no consideration of the impact of this closure on the staff – mostly women – who work there or of the impact on the local economy and community.

“I would urge anyone who cares about Ashfield to come to the meeting on Friday and help us show the Government what a disgraceful proposal this closure is.

“We need this office to be kept open and I hope the DWP listens to our message.”

Last month, workers affected by the closure spoke out about how it has affected them.

Mum-of-two Jodie Young, 34, from Sutton, works three days a week.

She said: “I felt panicked and frightened when they told us the news. It would hit me financially because of the extra travel expenses, either for public transport or petrol and parking. I don’t think I could make it work – I would really struggle.”