Staff left in tears over Archway firm’s relocation plans

Archway Tower staff have reportedly broken down in tears because of a controversial relocation plan which looks set to go ahead next year.

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is relocating government workers from the huge office block in Junction Road to Birmingham by March.

A total of 177 OPG employees, who help vulnerable people with their finances, have been faced with moving or applying for redundancy.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) says around 60 could take redundancy and another 20 could move to Birmingham which would include an �8,000 relocation payment.

The union claimed another 10 who want to relocate but still live in London are asking for �8,000 a year for three years to help with travel.

Phil Cosgrove, chairman of the PCS, said: “Staff who have been put at risk have been breaking down in tears in front of managers who are interviewing them in an attempt to avoid compulsory redundancy. It is very upsetting for the employees.

“One said “How will I pay my mortgage or buy my kids Christmas presents”.

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The Court of Protection, which works closely with the OPG, will also vacate the building, next to Archway Tube station, with its 120 staff due to be relocated to the Royal Court of Justice on the Strand, London.

The huge 17-storey Archway Tower, owned by Transport for London (TfL) and leased to Asset Developments Ltd, could be empty by April.

Islington Council and Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn have campaigned against the proposal because of the effect on local businesses reliant on customers from Archway Tower.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: “We intend to vacate Archway Tower by the lease break date of March 24, 2012. There are continued discussions with affected staff and trade unions to either secure alternative suitable employment, or to provide for their departure on agreed terms.

“No staff have left on compulsory terms,” he added.