Socialist Worker

Jobcentre workers ballot for strike

by Steve West and Dave Owens, PCS DWP group executive committee (pc)
Issue No. 2227

Members of the PCS civil service workers’ union in seven offices run by Jobcentre Plus are being balloted for strikes against management’s decision to convert their offices into contact centres.

It was recently announced that benefit delivery centres in Bristol, Manchester Chorlton and Makerfield will be turned into contact centres. This is in addition to the offices at Newport, Norwich, Sheffield and Glasgow Springburn that have already been transformed.

As well as cutting the working conditions of PCS members, the changes will mean a drastic deterioration in the service to the public.

PCS is demanding that benefit processing work is returned or restored, that there are genuine choices for workers, and improved working conditions in the existing contact centres.

Strong action is needed to persuade management to take notice.

Members are being urged to vote “yes” to strike action and action short of strike. The ballot runs until 26 November.

Links between workers and claimants and welfare rights groups need to be made urgently. They need to be cemented so that we can jointly campaign on this issue.

Meetings continue to be held at the 32 already existing Jobcentre Plus contact centres to consult members in those workplaces on their willingness to take industrial action in pursuit of improved working conditions.

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Article information

Tue 9 Nov 2010, 18:50 GMT
Issue No. 2227
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