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Gloria with DWP Annesley office employees Jodie Young, Danielle Harvey and Emma Scothern and PCS rep Mark Page.

Gloria hears how Annesley DWP site closure would affect staff

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Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero met with staff affected by proposals to close the Department for Work and Pensions office at Sherwood Park in Annesley to hear more about how it will affect them and how she can help them.

Three members of staff told Gloria about the problems that closing Waterfront House would cause.

The closure 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 there are women, many of whom have part-time working patterns to enable them to fulfil childcare responsibilities.
This makes travelling to offices in Nottingham, Chesterfield or beyond very difficult.

Gloria with DWP Annesley office employees Jodie Young, Danielle Harvey and Emma Scothern and PCS rep Mark Page.
Gloria with DWP Annesley office employees Jodie Young, Danielle Harvey and Emma Scothern and PCS rep Mark Page.

Mum-of-two young children 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.”

Danielle Harvey (32) has worked in the Annesley office for 12 years, working up through the ranks. She has two children and works 27 hours a week term-time only to fit in with the school run and childcare.

She said: “I won’t be able to combine my caring responsibilities with the additional travel. I would not be able to do it.

“The closure could mean that I lose my career, not just my job.”

Emma Scothern (37), from Kirkby, works full-time and has been there for nine years. She has two kids who are in their teens.

“I wanted to work at Annesley because it’s close to home,” she said.

“My kids are a bit older but I still want to get home at a reasonable time to see them.”

Officials from the Public and Commercial Services Union are representing staff and helping them to campaign to keep the office open.

Mark Page, from PCS, said: “I was there on the day of the closure announcement and members were in tears.

“Their futures are very uncertain and many face the genuine prospect of being made redundant, ironically by the government department charged with getting people into work.

“Annesley is good performing site and this decision seems totally arbitrary.”

A consultation on the proposals to close Waterfront House is still ongoing.

In a written answer to a parliamentary question submitted by Gloria, the Minister of State for the Department for Work and Pensions, Damian Hinds MP, wrote that “Waterfront House Annesley is a relatively small processing office and does not fit with our long term strategic aim to have large multi-functional, digitally enabled processing offices.”

Gloria said: “It is scandalous that the Government is proposing to close this office in Annesley.

“Little or no thought has been paid to the hard-working and loyal employees, which is a disgrace.

“It was very concerning to hear what an awful effect this closure would have on the lives of particularly the women with caring responsibilities who work there.

“I will be doing all I can to support their campaign to keep this site open and keep these good quality and well paid jobs in Ashfield.”

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