Sinn Féin meets with NIPSA on Social Security Office redeployment
A number of Sinn Féin Assembly Members, Councillors and Party support staff today met with representatives from the Trade Union NIPSA to discuss potential redeployment of Social Security Office staff emerging from the business review into the social security agency.
Representatives from NIPSA raised a number of concerns from their perspective, including possible job losses as a result of job-redeployment, as well as the very real practical difficulties as a result of having to travel to job redeployed.
Speaking after the meeting Newry and Armagh MLA Micky Brady said,
"Today's meeting was useful from Sinn Féin's perspective as it gave us a further insight into the concerns of staff that could well be detrimentally affected by proposals contained in the review.
"Another cause for concern from NIPSA, and shared by ourselves, is the possibility of up to 200 job losses as a result of the review.
"Taking all of this into consideration, if the objective of this review is to improve the accessibility for applicants then all indications thus far show that it may well fail miserably?
"All indications show that those using the social security service far prefer to use a face to face service as opposed to over the phone; to remove this facility and replace it with a phone service would no doubt have a negative impact on people here. What works for England won't necessarily work here.
"The primary concern in all of this should be the claimant and as we head into further economic uncertainty and hardship, the Minister for Social Development should not allow this review to continue. The 35 Social Security Offices across the North are a vital service which will no doubt act as a further help as we face into darker economic days.
"Should this review continue then it will remain open until the 31st of January and I would call on as many community groups as well as individuals to have their say and oppose plans to redeploy staff and services throughout the Six Counties." CRÍOCH