PLANS to centralise civil servants in Chester could lead to job losses at Jobcentre Plus offices across the region.
Bosses at the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) are looking at plans to centralise operations in the city despite a nationwide strike over 100,000 job cuts a fortnight ago.
The Government announced plans earlier this year to axe more than 100,000 jobs in the public sector affecting benefits employees, the Inland Revenue, courts and prison staff.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents more than 250,000 workers, called the strike to show the strength of opposition to what it sees as arbitrary cut-backs which will seriously damage agencies the public rely on.
It says there are plans to axe 100 jobs at the DWP's Jobcentre Plus office in Crewe and it is feared jobs will be lost as part of plans to close other branches in the North West.
Officials at the DWP have not stated a possible location for the centralised office in Chester, but it is thought plans are afoot to enhance the Jobcentre plus office at Chantry House on City Road.
There is also what is a predominantly a job brokering service at Gateway House in Northgate Street, Chester.
Two weeks ago, workers represented by the PCS in Crewe set up pickets outside the Jobcentre Plus offices in Wellington House in Delamere Street and the Inland Revenue offices in Oak Street.
Mark Fisher, branch vice-chairman of the PCS, said: 'Over 100 jobs are at risk in our department and a whole floor could close within 18 months.
'The DWP plans to centralise operations in Chester, and although they are offering staff the chance to relocate, the travelling costs make the proposal unattractive to many.'
John Lees, a spokesman for the DWP, said staff would be redeployed to Chester if their branch office was to close.
He said: 'These changes are the latest component of a continuing modernisation programme, leading to more efficient and effective services for our customers and which will release resources to the front line.'