A hundred members of the PCS civil service workers’ union voted unanimously for a strike ballot at lunchtime meetings in Chorlton, Manchester, on Friday of last week.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff are opposed to being transferred from benefits processing, decision-making and appeals duties to call centres.
The meetings were held in the car park outside their office.
Management told other workers that they could not leave their desks as they were “frontline staff”. This prevented a further 200 from attending.
Local reps had leafleted the workplace for three mornings to build the meetings.
Management has shelved plans for similar transfers to call centre working at three other sites, in Perry Barr, Basildon and Llanelli.
During the course of the dispute management have made some concessions after threats of strike action.These were not just in the sites earmarked to be transferred into the Call Centre Directorate but in the existing 32 call centres in Job Centre Plus.
But this does not resolve the issues in Chorlton.
“We need national authorisation for strike action to stop the transfer of jobs in Chorlton,” said a local PCS union rep.
“The service to clients will be rubbish.”
The call for a strike should be upheld.
PCS also continues to campaign for a united battle to improve conditions across all call centres.