Search

Dagenham Jobcentre closure puts jobseekers at risk, warn protesters

PUBLISHED: 17:04 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:05 20 November 2017

Unite campaigners fighting to save Dagenham JobCentre from closure. Picture: Ken Mears

Unite campaigners fighting to save Dagenham JobCentre from closure. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Closing Dagenham Jobcentre would hurt countless jobseekers in one of London’s most deprived areas, campaigners have warned.

Unite campaigners fighting to save Dagenham Jobcentre from closure. Picture: Ken Mears Unite campaigners fighting to save Dagenham Jobcentre from closure. Picture: Ken Mears

The Chequers Lane office will shut in January - one of a third of branches across the capital to close.

Staff and claimants will move to the Barking site, along with some from East Ham, under plans the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says will cut costs and deliver a “more efficient service”.

Around two dozen protesters took part in this afternoon’s protest outside the branch, organised by union Unite’s Community Barking, Dagenham and Havering branch.

London Assembly member Unmesh Desai, councillors and union representatives were amongst those speaking out against the closure.

Claimants would struggle to access the other centres and risk having payments stopped after late or missed appointments, they warned.

“It’s not good for either the workers or the people who have to use it,” said branch secretary Christina Freeman, who used the centre after leaving school at 16.

“Workers and new workers will be forced onto zero hours contracts,” she added. “It’s a way of making people redundant without firing them, because they still, technically, have a job.”

Supermarket worker Stephen Holdich came down from Beckton to protest.

The centre helped him find work in Sainsbury’s 21 years ago, he said, and he’s been there ever since.

“Without those people, I wouldn’t have had a job,” he added.

There were 3,145 people claiming unemployment benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, in Barking and Dagenham last month, according to figures released on Wednesday.

Asked whether Barking Jobcentre would struggle with increased numbers of claimants after the closure, Mark Creasey, the customer service leader for Havering Jobcentres, said the centre “will be more than able to deliver a service” with more jobseekers dealing with claims online.

The DWP would “make sure no-one is left behind and that everybody gets the right service at the right time”, he said.

“It’s nice to hear that but we need a concrete plan of action,” added Unmesh Desai. “Campaigns can work – just look at what happened with Dagenham police station.”

Another protest is planned for Saturday, December 2.

Related articles

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

32 minutes ago

Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews game one on day 12 of the tournament

14:00

Barking & Dagenham Cycling Club members have been very busy over the past seven days.

59 minutes ago

Two schools in Barking threw open their gates for a summer fair on Saturday.

12:00

Harry Kane’s hat-trick inspired England to their biggest ever World Cup win as Gareth Southgate’s men sealed progress to the last 16 with a 6-1 demolition of Panama that puts their rivals on notice.

16:19

Four women have been arrested after a man was assaulted at Leicester Square tube station shortly early yesterday (Sunday).

The government is urging schools to get pupils walking a mile a day in ambitious plans to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

11:00

The captain has missed the last two games through suspension while opener Browne hasn’t played since the start of May against Yorkshire

10:00

One-time England caretaker manager took over from John Still in role last month

PROMOTED CONTENT

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now