“WHAT was awful was seeing my staff crying.”

That was the scene at a major Poole office after up to 70 people were told they would lose their jobs.

The staff at the DVLA office in Bourne Valley Road were told 11 days before Christmas that it was being closed down.

One female member of staff said: “We’ve been told not to speak to the media but they can say whatever they like about how this will supposedly make things better by centralising at Swansea.

“I am a single mother. There aren’t any jobs out there in the private sector or the public sector and I will just be another person on benefits.”

The Christmas buffet was cancelled when managers were called in to hear the news. The rest of the staff were told the next day.

Berewyn Long, the office representative for the PCS union, said: “We had people in tears. They were just shocked. What do you say to your family? The worst part is just not knowing when it’s going to happen.”

The government is closing 39 local offices at some point before the end of 2013 to save £28 million a year.

The Poole office opened in 2004 and carries out normal DVLA functions, enforcement, and a lot of work for the motor trade.

The jobs include arranging trade plates, vehicle inspections, and personalised registration transfers.

Mr Long said: “There are more than 80 functions. Some of them can be picked up by the post office, but not all of them.

“They are saying it’s about making things more convenient but it seems to be about saving money.

“There are three ways for people to access the DVLA – the office, the internet and the post office.

“If you take one away, how does that make it more convenient?”

He said the union would be running a campaign against the closure and contacting the MP covering the office, Conor Burns.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “The changes will make dealing with the DVLA easier and quicker for motorists and businesses up and down the country.”