Jobs and benefits staff protest over cuts in staff

NIPSA PROTEST. . . .Staff at the Dole Office, Asylum Road pictured on Wednesday lunchtime, protesting against public service job cuts. DER3915MC034

NIPSA PROTEST. . . .Staff at the Dole Office, Asylum Road pictured on Wednesday lunchtime, protesting against public service job cuts. DER3915MC034

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Members of NIPSA who work in the Social Security Agency and the Department for Employment and Learning held a 30 minute protest outside the Foyle jobs and benefits office in Asylum Road on Wednesday afternoon.

NIPSA said the event was organised to highlight the beginning of the Civil Service Voluntary Exit Scheme (VES) which in due course they say will mean that over 2,500 jobs will be cut across the Northern Ireland Civil Service in frontline offices such as the Jobs and Benefits Offices.

NIPSA say this will inevitably lead to longer waiting times, longer processing times, increased pressure on staff and a permanent loss of job opportunities for members of the public and future generations.

Tony McMullan, NIPSA Official with responsibility for both DEL and SSA staff, said: “We are very concerned that the politically driven cut in the public sector will have a major impact on our members who remain at work.

“Whilst NIPSA as a union has long opposed the Voluntary Exit Scheme we do recognise that many long serving and hardworking members of staff have chosen to take the opportunity to exit the Civil Service and we genuinely wish them well. Many of them have given long and valued service and deserve a good retirement. However our concern remains for those staff that remain.

“No government department has yet identified which areas of their functions will cease due to the reduction in staffing levels. That can only mean that existing staff will be expected to take on additional responsibilities.”

A similar demonstration was held at Lisnagelvin.