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THE government’s plans to transfer more Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff to “unsafe” offices in a flood-risk zone were slammed by their union today.
More than 80 staff from Tonypandy in Wales will have to relocate to the newly built office on Treforest industrial estate, following 1,700 workers already uprooted from their offices in Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cwmbran, Merthyr and Newport.
Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) has been campaigning against the plans, warning that they will lead to job losses in the local communities.
Hundreds of staff would also be unable to transfer due to mobility issues, caring responsibilities, inadequate public transport and a lack of parking at the new site, the union said.
Concerns grew when it was established that the site is located in a flood-risk zone.
Earlier this year, Storm Dennis saw flood water streaming into the building, causing substantial damage.
Repair works were still underway when Storm Jorge hit, causing further damage to the same areas of the site.
PCS Wales secretary Darren Williams said the union fears that the DWP could be endangering workers’ safety.
He said: “Rather than heed our concerns, management are now proposing to move many more staff to Treforest, who had previously been told that they could remain in Tonypandy, causing considerable shock and unhappiness.”
Mr Williams said the DWP should be retaining experienced staff in the offices where they currently work as the department is committed to employing more staff to cope with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and a likely deep recession.
A DWP spokesperson said: “The Treforest site suffered very minor flood damage in Storm Dennis but we are satisfied the building is safe and fit for use following independent testing and assessments.
“We will be supporting staff through this move and their safety is clearly paramount.”
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