Stevenage workers shocked at plan to cut 280 jobs
WORKERS are reeling after being told their office is earmarked for closure in less than two years, resulting in about 280 job losses. Staff at Stevenage Land Registry were told this morning (Thursday) that their office is one of five in the UK proposed fo
WORKERS are reeling after being told their office is earmarked for closure in less than two years, resulting in about 280 job losses.
Staff at Stevenage Land Registry were told this morning (Thursday) that their office is one of five in the UK proposed for closure.
The move comes after the service reported a loss of almost �130 million as a result of the collapse in the housing market last year.
One worker told The Comet: "People are crying. The impact it will have on all our lives - people are in absolute shock.
"We have a lot of people who met here and married, so it's a double whammy for them. Families are going to be hit. It's tragic."
She said that if the closures go ahead there will be no Land Registry offices left in the South East. "Everybody was hoping either Stevenage or Peterborough was going to stay open so we could transfer.
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"The fact the whole of the South East will be affected means staff do not have the opportunity to transfer. Our nearest office will be in Coventry."
The devastated worker said the Stevenage office is either first or second in the Land Registry league tables but the decision to close the branch is based on the fact there is currently a lot of unused office space and that the building will fetch a higher price than other Land Registry offices in the UK.
"This has been a very successful agency and we have made millions," she said. "It's a temporary blip which has caused this. It's happened before and we weathered it, but now they have come back with this.
"They are even saying they might need to recruit staff when the current market improves, but it takes a long time to acquire all the necessary skills."
Mark Serwotka, The Public and Commercial Services Union general secretary, said: "Staff are shocked and angry about these plans. The Government needs to recognise that putting hard working civil and public servants on the dole at a time of economic uncertainty will only prolong the recession in the communities affected."
Peter Collis, Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive, said: "These proposals were not arrived at easily and we very much regret having to close our office in Stevenage which has served us well since 1964.
"The collapse in the housing market last year had a serious and significant effect on our work and income and we lost nearly �130m. Despite the steps we have already taken to cut costs, we will make another loss this year."
A formal 12-week consultation will now take place and Stevenage workers plan to campaign against the proposed closure by holding public meetings and gaining support from the community.