Socialist Worker

Civil service workers ballot suspended

by Dave Owens, PCS DWP group executive (personal capacity)
Issue No. 2186

The PCS civil service workers’ union has suspended a strike ballot of 5,000 members after managers offered two weeks of talks on their future.

The workers in 14 benefit delivery offices are set to be transferred to the Jobcentre Plus contact centre directorate.

The PCS group executive in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will meet on 11 February.

It intends to call the ballot if the talks prove fruitless.

The PCS members at the 14 sites are angry because of the appalling working conditions in DWP call centres, especially in Jobcentre Plus.

This has resulted in the highest sickness rates in the department and a staff turnover of almost 19 percent a year.

The group executive will consult call centre members about a campaign of industrial action to improve conditions.

Management have only agreed to talks because of the threat of industrial action.

The union is demanding an agreement to improve working conditions.

It also demands that some benefit processing work be retained in the 14 sites earmarked to be transferred.

And the campaign is calling for an end to the creeping privatisation of work.

It is clear that one of the reasons for adopting a call centre business model is to make it easier to sell work off piecemeal.

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Article information

Tue 26 Jan 2010, 19:23 GMT
Issue No. 2186
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