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Education staff set to strike over cuts
CIVIL servants faced with the prospect of seeing their jobs transferred out of a North-East town are to join in a walk-out in protest at wider cuts.
The Department for Education (DfE) wants to move nearly 500 jobs from Mowden Hall, in Darlington, to elsewhere in the region.
Mowden staff who are part of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union are expected to take part in a two-hour walk-out on Thursday, The Northern Echo understands.
Last week, union members took part in industrial action short of a strike, including non-compliance with a performance management system designed to identify members of staff deemed weaker than others.
A PCS source at Mowden Hall described the system as “ridiculous”.
Thursday’s walk-out comes against a backdrop of the DfE looking to cut 1,000 jobs nationally.
The union announced recently that its lawyers had written to the DfE to warn that the department faces hundreds of unfair dismissal claims if it presses ahead with its claim that it is not in a "redundancy situation", despite looking to axe 1,000 jobs.
The letter states: “We must confess to being totally mystified by that denial.
“A reduction in costs of 50 per cent, a potential reduction in staff of 25 per cent and the closure of six offices clearly gives rise to a potential redundancy situation.
“The department's assertion to the contrary is, with respect, completely unsustainable.”
Last week, a 1,000-strong signature petition aimed at keeping the Mowden Hall jobs in Darlington was handed in to 10 Downing Street.