Mowden Hall workers ask Education Secretary to grant their festive wish

Darlington and Stockton Times: Mowden workers make their protest to Michael Gove. Mowden workers make their protest to Michael Gove.

HUNDREDS of civil servants today ask the Education Secretary for a special Christmas present - to keep their jobs in Darlington.

Workers from Mowden Hall are pleading with Department for Education (DfE) bosses to scrap plans to transfer 480 posts to Newcastle.

Staff say they could be forced to look for new jobs if the proposals go ahead.

They have handed a card to Darlington MP, Jenny Chapman, urging Education Secretary Michael Gove to grant their festive wish and keep the DfE in Darlington.

The Government has identified Mowden Hall for closure due to its poor state of repair.

A decision is expected in March, and staff union members and community leaders have put forward potential sites at Lingfield Point and Northgate House, in Darlington, to relocate staff.

Rosie Hill has worked at Mowden Hall for more than 30 years, but said she would have to look for another job if her post was transferred to Newcastle.

She said: "I work school hours with my children at Abbey School and Hummersknott Academy.

"Moving out of Darlington is just financially not an option for me and there are a lot of other mothers and people here in the same situation."

Fellow civil servant Bernie Thomas moved from Reading, in Berkshire, to work at Mowden Hall four years ago and avoid the commute to London, and said workers were deeply upset at the plans.

She said: "We feel like we are not getting the full story.

"We are faced with real uncertainty and people with children will really struggle if their jobs are moved."

The Save Our Jobs petition, led by The Northern Echo, has already attracted more than 1,000 signatures.

It will be presented to Mr Gove at Downing Street by The Northern Echo and Mrs Chapman.

Mrs Chapman said any move from Mowden Hall would leave workers in great financial difficulty and cut 21m a year from Darlington's economy.

She said: "The department has staff with great experience and expertise and we need to continue this fight to keep them in the town.

"The wider backing in the town has been overwhelming and everyone understands the significance of Mowden Hall and the massive contribution it makes to Darlington's economy.

"Staff simply would not be able to continue in their roles if they were transferred to Newcastle."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "We are committed to retaining an office in the North-East, where we have skilled and experienced staff.

"Mowden Hall would require significant investment, and we have explained to staff that we are considering alternative options in the North-East.

"We are reducing our head count and merging offices to reduce the cost of our buildings."

To sign the petition, go to northernecho.co.uk/jobspetition

Comments (5)

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9:57am Mon 24 Dec 12

Savant_NE says...

Good for them.It's impossible that Newcastle is cheaper than Darlington to provide services like this.
It concerns me that our Government is so detached from reality.
Good for them.It's impossible that Newcastle is cheaper than Darlington to provide services like this. It concerns me that our Government is so detached from reality. Savant_NE

12:30pm Mon 24 Dec 12

freelance says...

Northgate House and Regent House plus other premises empty/vacant in Darlington.
Surely there is ample capacity for a transfer in town as current communication facilities would overcome a split site.
Northgate House and Regent House plus other premises empty/vacant in Darlington. Surely there is ample capacity for a transfer in town as current communication facilities would overcome a split site. freelance

11:46pm Mon 24 Dec 12

Spy Boy says...

Savant_NE wrote:
Good for them.It's impossible that Newcastle is cheaper than Darlington to provide services like this.
It concerns me that our Government is so detached from reality.
Dead right. Keep the jobs here. I don't like this current scam from the government to move jobs out of the North East and Labour strongholds. They seem to want to move work to key marginals.

Best of Luck to all the folks at Mowden.
[quote][p][bold]Savant_NE[/bold] wrote: Good for them.It's impossible that Newcastle is cheaper than Darlington to provide services like this. It concerns me that our Government is so detached from reality.[/p][/quote]Dead right. Keep the jobs here. I don't like this current scam from the government to move jobs out of the North East and Labour strongholds. They seem to want to move work to key marginals. Best of Luck to all the folks at Mowden. Spy Boy

9:51pm Wed 26 Dec 12

spragger says...

Lets hope not, give the taxpayer a break. Can we afford and do we need these admin jobs?
Lets hope not, give the taxpayer a break. Can we afford and do we need these admin jobs? spragger

2:28pm Thu 3 Jan 13

Ian Archer says...

The government are crucifying public sector workers. Quite frankly, they do not care about the impact that their drastic cuts and reorganisation of various departments is having upon individual livelyhoods. Commuting from the Darlington area to Longbenton - which is the forerunner in this case - is a logistical nightmare. It will take staff approximately an hour and a half to two hours to get to work each day. That is just totally unreasonable and as pointed out by some of the staff at Mowden, they will simply not be able to do it and will be forced to look for alternative employment. The question is WHERE? It is interesting to note that the department of education spokesperson mentions keeping the office in the NORTH EAST but will not commit to the Darlington area. As a non employee of Mowden hall I urge people to sign this petition. And heaven help the local shop owners in Darlington who rely on the trade that the Mowden staff generate in their struggle for survival in these difficult times.
The government are crucifying public sector workers. Quite frankly, they do not care about the impact that their drastic cuts and reorganisation of various departments is having upon individual livelyhoods. Commuting from the Darlington area to Longbenton - which is the forerunner in this case - is a logistical nightmare. It will take staff approximately an hour and a half to two hours to get to work each day. That is just totally unreasonable and as pointed out by some of the staff at Mowden, they will simply not be able to do it and will be forced to look for alternative employment. The question is WHERE? It is interesting to note that the department of education spokesperson mentions keeping the office in the NORTH EAST but will not commit to the Darlington area. As a non employee of Mowden hall I urge people to sign this petition. And heaven help the local shop owners in Darlington who rely on the trade that the Mowden staff generate in their struggle for survival in these difficult times. Ian Archer

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