Protest over Stevenage office closure

WORKERS facing redundancy after their office was earmarked last month for closure, resulting in almost 300 job losses, lobbied ministers and delegates at a Labour Party conference at the weekend. The East of England Labour Party Regional Conference was he

WORKERS facing redundancy after their office was earmarked last month for closure, resulting in almost 300 job losses, lobbied ministers and delegates at a Labour Party conference at the weekend.

The East of England Labour Party Regional Conference was held at the Holiday Inn on St George's Way in Stevenage and was opened by deputy leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman MP.

The conference, which focused on winning the next General Election, was attended by several Government ministers, as well as MPs, MEPs and councillors from the East of England.

Outside the conference, workers at the Land Registry in Stevenage protested against plans to close their town centre office and axe 280 jobs.


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Sue Funiciello, the Public and Commercial Services Union's (PCS) branch secretary, said the closure would be "tragic" but said Ms Harman had promised to intervene by contacting the Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, who will make the ultimate decision about the closure.

Hertfordshire Euro MP Richard Howitt has slammed the Land Registry plans as "shortsighted" and "cruel", and Sharon Taylor, leader of Stevenage Borough Council, said keeping jobs in Stevenage is vital for the town's economy.

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Land Registry plans to close five of its 17 offices in the UK by September 2011, including the Stevenage branch, and outsource some of its work. The proposal will put 1,500 people out of work and is part of a five-year reorganisation programme.

The move comes after the agency reported a loss of almost �130m as a result of the collapse in the housing market last year.

The plans include closing the Peterborough office, meaning Stevenage workers will have no chance of transferring to another branch in the area.

A formal 12-week public consultation on the proposals is currently underway.

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