Staff at Mowden Hall, Darlington, join action against cuts as work to develop potential new Lingfield Point home begins (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Staff at Mowden Hall, Darlington, join action against cuts as work to develop potential new Lingfield Point home begins
CIVIL servants faced with seeing their jobs moved out of a North-East town have joined in industrial action in protest at cost-cutting plans.
The Department for Education (DfE) is proposing to transfer 480 posts from Mowden Hall, Darlington.
Alternative locations in Darlington, Newcastle and Durham are being considered for the jobs.
The Northern Echo has been at the heart of efforts to keep the jobs in Darlington, with a 1,000-plus signature petition handed in at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday (February 26).
One potential location for the jobs is Lingfield Point business park, in Darlington, where on Wednesday work begin on the site’s first housing development.
Lingfield Point owner Marchday is working with Taylor Wimpey on the development, known as Millfields.
Marchday director Jon Orchard believes the development of two, three and four bedroom houses, will improve the chances of the civil service jobs remaining in the town.
He said: "There isn't another sustainable mixed community of this type in the UK; it's a unique offer for Darlington.
"It ticks so many of the Government's own boxes that it would be nice to think that they would support it by bringing the jobs here."
Darlington MP Jenny Chapman added: “It is tremendous to see construction in Darlington given the economic situation the country is in.
"It is another string to the bow and makes Lingfield Point an even more rounded development than it already is."
Mowden Hall staff who are members of the Public and Commercial Services union began industrial action short of a strike on Thursday (February 28), in opposition to DfE plans to cut costs by 50 per cent.
The ongoing industrial action includes working to rule and non-compliance with a new performance management system designed to identify those deemed to be poor performers.
Further action, including walk-outs, is being considered.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Staff who work in education do so because they are dedicated to providing important public services, not so they can be used as pawns in a political experiment by education secretary Michael Gove and his advisors.”
It is expected that show homes at Lingfield Point will be completed by the summer, with the first houses ready for occupation by October.
To register an interest, visit taylorwimpey.co.uk/newhomes/north+yorkshire/millfieldsatlingfieldpoint