VIDEO: Claimants frustrated as Jobcentre hit by strike

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BENEFITS claimants were turned away from Doncaster Job Centre yesterday as a national civil servants’ strike hit the borough.

Those arriving at the office on Wood Street found the doors closed and a notice in the window telling them of a lunchtime closure and delays throughout the rest of the day.

Customers waiting outside the Doncaster Job centre, which was closed due to strike action for an hour.

Customers waiting outside the Doncaster Job centre, which was closed due to strike action for an hour.

It stated: “We are sorry that, due to exceptional circumstances, you may experience some delays in service today. We apologise for any inconvenience. The office will be closed from 12.30pm until 1.30pm.”

Civil service union the Public and Commercial Services Union is taking industrial action over pay and pensions. Yesterday was the first in a series of protests scheduled to last three months.

Claimants arriving to sign on at appointments while the centre was closed were told they would be automatically be signed in their absence, by a member of staff who came out to speak to the group gathered outside the building.

But many were frustrated that they had not been told about the action and had made an unnecessary journey.

Steve Varley, aged 30, of Rossington, said: “I’ve come down specially - it would have nice to have been told in advance.”

Lawrence Smith, 39, of Balby, added: “I don’t feel they’ve been very helpful.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said PCS members were determined to show the Government they will not be not forced to accept having their pay frozen, their terms and conditions slashed. Cabinet minister Francis Maude said fewer than 95,000 staff were on strike and it had a ‘minimal impact’ on services.