15 trade unions in the North East and Cumbria have formed a powerful alliance to defend public services and jobs. The Public Services Alliance (PSA) was launched in June 2010, and has organised a progression of rallies and events across the northern region. PCS believes the massive cuts in public spending introduced by the coalition government are unnecessary. We believe there is an alternative to these cuts.
The primary aims of the PSA are to:
Local groups have been set up in Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Durham, Teesside, Carlisle, Barrow, and Allerdale and Copeland. Meetings take place on a regular basis, and members & reps are encouraged to get involved in their local group to organise anti-cuts activity.
For further information regarding the PSA, please contact the PCS Northern Regional Office.
You can follow the PSA at their facebook page.
The Government has announced a number of office closures which affect PCS members across our region.
As well as the announcement of the potential closure of Hartlepool and Carlisle DWP Benefit Centres, PCS has been made aware of plans to close local DVLA offices by December 2013. These potentially include offices in Carlisle, Newcastle and Stockton-On-Tees.
The Save Our Local Office (SOLO) campaign has been set up within the DVLA Group. A public questionnaire and a word version of the petition that can be printed and circulated is available below too.
Such closures will have a particularly devastating and disproportionate affect on areas such as Cumbria. Carlisle is set to lose both the DWP Benefit Centre and the DVLA local office. In addition the government has announced the closure of the MOD Longtown site by 2014. This closure will affect over 300 people in the Carlisle and borders area. The combined closures and job losses in Carlisle will have a huge impact on both future job prospects and the local economy. Opportunities for redeployment are few, resulting in possible compulsory redundancies.
PCS is engaging with the Public Services Alliance in the area to plan a joint campaign.
A petition has been organised by the DWP GEC against the closure of the Carlisle Benefit Centre. All PCS reps and members are encouraged to sign the petition and circulate it as widely as possible.
Save our Sunderland
The government also plan to close two HMRC offices in Sunderland (Gilbridge House and Shackleton House), and one in Washington (Weardale House). HMRC says no jobs will be lost but the offices earmarked for re-location are already full to capacity, and have poor transport links.
The HMRC Northumberland and Durham PCS Branch have been campaigning hard over the issue. Using an innovative approach asking staff to keep receipts, the branch calculated that from 26 January to 17 February staff spent £22,418 in the local area, including cafes, pubs, department stores and travel agents. This is clearly an important contribution to the local economy, which would be lost if the offices were to close.
For more information about the campaign, see the April edition of the HMRC Group newsletter OR&CLE, or contact the northern regional office.