Workers at Mowden Hall, in Darlington, could take industrial action

CIVIL servants at a Government department which may be moved out of a North-East town could go on strike.

Workers at Mowden Hall, in Darlington, have voted to take industrial action in a row over Department for Education (DfE) spending cuts which could result in 1,000 job losses.

About 480 civil servants' posts will be moved from Mowden Hall after DfE bosses said the building was too expensive to repair, and it understood alternative sites in Darlington, Durham and Newcastle are being considered.

Last night, Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), which has 224 representatives in Darlington, said the majority of its 1,800 membership workers had voted to go on strike, with 86 per cent prepared to take industrial action including working to rule.

The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, previously told The Northern Echo no final decision on any financial cuts had been made and that Darlington was “still on the radar” to house DfE staff.

The PCS ballot comes after The Northern Echo last month revealed how union bosses accused senior civil servants of using a party hat game to identify cuts, and Mowden Hall workers claimed they had been forced into applying for early redundancy without confirmation where their posts will be based.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said the union believed Mr Gove was using the DfE as a test-bed for deeper civil service cuts.

He said: “These cuts are purely political and would mean misery for 1,000 of Mr Gove's own staff.

“However, they put at risk some vital public services, such as ensuring children are safe at school and supporting special educational needs.”

Mr Serwotka also criticised the DfE after it employed global management consultants, Bain and Company, to review its financial position, saying it raised worries of a conflict of interest.

A DfE spokeswoman previously said it was committed to staying in the North-East.

She said: “We are consulting our staff about the potential impact of moving from Mowden Hall and will consider financial compensation for cost of travel severance pay.”

A Northern Echo-led petition to stop the DfE leaving Darlington attracted more than 1,100 signatures and will be presented to Mr Gove at Downing Street by The Northern Echo and Darlington MP Jenny Chapman.

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Comments (7)

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7:57am Tue 19 Feb 13

Apocalypse Later says...

Looks like it is goodbye to Mowden Hall then.
Looks like it is goodbye to Mowden Hall then. Apocalypse Later
  • Score: 1

4:53pm Tue 19 Feb 13

st-george1 says...

No suprises here … Mr Serwotka wants any excuse to force the continued growth of strikes every year until at least 2015 …
The PRIVILEGED radical socialist Mr Serwotka, PCS general secretary and always at the centre of mass strikes will be able to retire in luxury after having more paid into his pension pot each year than his members average salary.
£26,159 of members fees is paid into his own pension pot every year, £3,309 more than the £22,850 average wage of members of the his Union.
According to financial experts, it means that the former Trotskyist and Arthur Scargill fan will be able to retire at the age of 65 on an annual pension of £63,554.22 … YES FOLKS and this is the mischief man who accuses Coalition Government ministers of living in a bubble of privilege all their lives too !
No suprises here … Mr Serwotka wants any excuse to force the continued growth of strikes every year until at least 2015 … The PRIVILEGED radical socialist Mr Serwotka, PCS general secretary and always at the centre of mass strikes will be able to retire in luxury after having more paid into his pension pot each year than his members average salary. £26,159 of members fees is paid into his own pension pot every year, £3,309 more than the £22,850 average wage of members of the his Union. According to financial experts, it means that the former Trotskyist and Arthur Scargill fan will be able to retire at the age of 65 on an annual pension of £63,554.22 … YES FOLKS and this is the mischief man who accuses Coalition Government ministers of living in a bubble of privilege all their lives too ! st-george1
  • Score: 1

5:37pm Tue 19 Feb 13

loan_star says...

So jobs are under threat so what do the unions do? Yes they call for a strike which could more or less finish off any chance of the jobs staying in the town.
So jobs are under threat so what do the unions do? Yes they call for a strike which could more or less finish off any chance of the jobs staying in the town. loan_star
  • Score: 1

5:38pm Tue 19 Feb 13

loan_star says...

st-george1 wrote:
No suprises here … Mr Serwotka wants any excuse to force the continued growth of strikes every year until at least 2015 …
The PRIVILEGED radical socialist Mr Serwotka, PCS general secretary and always at the centre of mass strikes will be able to retire in luxury after having more paid into his pension pot each year than his members average salary.
£26,159 of members fees is paid into his own pension pot every year, £3,309 more than the £22,850 average wage of members of the his Union.
According to financial experts, it means that the former Trotskyist and Arthur Scargill fan will be able to retire at the age of 65 on an annual pension of £63,554.22 … YES FOLKS and this is the mischief man who accuses Coalition Government ministers of living in a bubble of privilege all their lives too !
Typical union leader, lapping it up while his minions lose out again. Hypocrite!
[quote][p][bold]st-george1[/bold] wrote: No suprises here … Mr Serwotka wants any excuse to force the continued growth of strikes every year until at least 2015 … The PRIVILEGED radical socialist Mr Serwotka, PCS general secretary and always at the centre of mass strikes will be able to retire in luxury after having more paid into his pension pot each year than his members average salary. £26,159 of members fees is paid into his own pension pot every year, £3,309 more than the £22,850 average wage of members of the his Union. According to financial experts, it means that the former Trotskyist and Arthur Scargill fan will be able to retire at the age of 65 on an annual pension of £63,554.22 … YES FOLKS and this is the mischief man who accuses Coalition Government ministers of living in a bubble of privilege all their lives too ![/p][/quote]Typical union leader, lapping it up while his minions lose out again. Hypocrite! loan_star
  • Score: 1

10:36pm Tue 19 Feb 13

hemmi1 says...

bye bye jobs
bye bye jobs hemmi1
  • Score: 0

10:38pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Spy Boy says...

Forget slagging the union and think of some way to keep the work in Darlington. PCS reps should really dig in here. They need to make a case against the move, or failing that, they need to prove that it's more sensible and cost effective to keep Mowden Park open. No doubt the DofE will not give the whole story. These people make their minds up to do something and then make figures fit the situation. PCS need to find out what they're hiding.
Forget slagging the union and think of some way to keep the work in Darlington. PCS reps should really dig in here. They need to make a case against the move, or failing that, they need to prove that it's more sensible and cost effective to keep Mowden Park open. No doubt the DofE will not give the whole story. These people make their minds up to do something and then make figures fit the situation. PCS need to find out what they're hiding. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

10:55pm Tue 19 Feb 13

spragger says...

They need to watch that they do not self select for reduncy by breaking their contracts.

If the DofE was smart they would knock the place down, whilst its inmates are on strike and shrug their shoulders when they return for their next slice of taxpayers money.

Mr & Mrs Serwotka are setting the PCS up as the union shock troops.Except they will put some other goons in the front line Their salaries and pensions will remain . .
They need to watch that they do not self select for reduncy by breaking their contracts. If the DofE was smart they would knock the place down, whilst its inmates are on strike and shrug their shoulders when they return for their next slice of taxpayers money. Mr & Mrs Serwotka are setting the PCS up as the union shock troops.Except they will put some other goons in the front line Their salaries and pensions will remain . . spragger
  • Score: 0

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