Below is the text of a branch bulletin distributed by DWP Cumbria Branch to members at the DWP Industrial Injuries Unit at Phoenix House, Barrow yesterday.
It's the start of a local community campaign to save a service that gives financial security to the victims of industrial injuries and disease and their families.
Much of the community in Barrow have and continue to call upon the benefits calculated and processed by the specialist unit in Phoenix House. Many of the claimants are ex-Yard workers who have fallen victims to often terminal asbestos related conditions as a result of their work.
The closure will have an impact wider than the community in Barrow. Nationally, hundreds of Thousands of ex Miners, Construction and Shipyard Workers are affected by the diseases the team at Barrow specialise in awarding claims for.
The closure of this office and the disbandment of the workers who have a combined experience of over 1000 years of experience of dealing with these cases will have a untold impact on the time it takes to award a claim to people with terminal illnesses.
This is a working-class issue and PCS DWP North-West ask for cross-union support in opposition to this closure.
Watch-this-space and support the campaign...
"We wanted to give everyone a quick update on the progress made so far in our
We have requested a meeting with John Woodcock to offer our opinion from a TU
perspective and request further support in the campaign
We have approached the Trades Council and they have agreed to affiliate our
branch and have offered to support our campaign in any way they can.
We are seeking a public meeting in town in which we will request attendance of our
MP, National TU representation and Local Council representation.
We are seeking support from organisations with an interest in keeping our
experience and our workforce in place such as Asbestos Support Groups,
Trade Unions who represent members who have used our service or may have
to in the future including NUM, GMB and the TUC.
We are starting an online petition for which we hope to attract some high profile
signatures and obviously as many more signatures as possible.
We have the support of Regional and National TU and hope to differentiate our
campaign from the on going national campaign against office closures due to
the unique nature of the work we do and the potential to lose many years of
We appreciate that it a very worrying time but we are working hard to present the
best and fullest case possible to keep jobs in Barrow.
We are very grateful to those who have recently become union members and
recognise the best way to win this campaign is by having 100% support from a
fully unionised workforce.
Please feel free to contact us anytime if you wish to support the campaign or suggest
ideas. This campaign will have a great chance of success if we stick together and
work as one.
Kris and Jill"