Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Mowden Hall staff walk out in first part of industrial action
EDUCATION have staged a walkout today (Thursday, March 7) in protest at the way they are being treated by the Government.
Around 150 staff from the Department for Education (DfE) walked out of work at Mowden Hall in Darlington at 3pm. Uncertainty over job cuts, cuts to pensions and staff being forced to reapply for jobs were given as reasons for the action.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), who make up half of Mowden Hall’s 480 staff, voted 86 per cent in favour of the action.
A PCS Union representative said: “I have been working for the civil service for 43 years and I have never known morale to be so bad.
“We’re caring people who work hard and we want to do the best for the people of this country.
“Obviously we’re in a state where there’s not much money and there have to be cuts. It will hurt, we know that, but if the department don’t listen to us then we will have to go forward with more strikes.”
An executive administrator, who did not want to be named, said: “They’re doing a new performance review which basically means I’ll have to reapply for any job at my level, not even my own job.
"I’m depressed. A lot of our managers think we are just fine with it and we’re not. We’re not fine at all.”
The Mowden Hall office is due to be closed as it has been deemed unfit for purpose.
The Northern Echo has been campaigning to keep the jobs in Darlington since after plans for a new building in the town centre were rejected.
The new office could be in Newcastle - a move which it has been estimated could cost Darlington’s economy £21m.
The town's MP Jenny Chapman, who has helped to lead the campaign, said: “The action today shows what a sorry state things have come to and a lot of that has to do with uncertainty about where these jobs will be based.
“We need to get the right decision for the workers and that is to keep the jobs in Darlington.”