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Caithness News Bulletins November 2004

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5 November 04
National Strike Hits Government Offices In Wick
Civil servants were on strike in Caithness today joining in a national strike at the threat to up to 100,000 jobs .  In Wick that might mean 25 jobs going in the Department of Work and Pensions alone.  The benefits office in Thurso looks certain to close.  Some of the jobs might transfer to Inverness where a new call certain is being proposed to deal with much of the social security enquires.

Srikers at Wick

Although no figures are available for Wick tax office a rationalisation programme looks set to hit thousands of jobs nationally with Wick likely to see at least a few jobs under threat.  the current staff of about 30 has been reducing for a number of years with advent of computerisation and other changes in working practices and legislation.

MP John Thurso has been asking for work in the department of Work and Pensions to be brought to Wick using the current offices as the base for the new centre.  No commitments have been forthcoming so far.  If job cuts are announced for Wick it will be yet another serious blow to the area already reeling from recent closures of Caithness Glass and Alliance & Leicester.

The strike today was the biggest seen in the civil service in the Uk for many years and was not about pay but purely about the threat to jobs.  Unions are threatening further strikes if no progress is made to save jobs.