By Sadie Robinson
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Day of action against hated Universal Credit

This article is over 4 years, 9 months old
Issue 2666
Saying no to Universal Credit in Doncaster
Saying no to Universal Credit in Doncaster (Pic: Neil Terry)

Activists joined a day of action against the hated Universal Credit (UC) benefit on Thursday of last week. The action, involving 63 events, was called by the Unite union.

Campaigners held rallies, stunts, leafleting and petitioning sessions and other events in several boroughs across London.

There were also events in Cambridge, Norwich, Doncaster, Sheffield, Brighton, Salford, Southampton and many other towns and cities.

The day of action follows a survey of over 1,000 UC claimants by Unite which found that over four fifths of parents said they find it hard to make ends meet over the school holidays.

Claimants said they had been driven into debt or forced to rely on food banks. A quarter had taken out a payday loan.

Some 69 percent of parents had skipped meals and

52 percent said they couldn’t afford to pay for school trips.

There are currently more than 1,700,000 people claiming UC in England and this is set to rise as the benefit is rolled out across the country.

UC replaces six other benefits and leaves most claimants worse off.

Workers at benefit offices ballot for strikes

Industrial action ballots in three Universal Credit (UC) service centres were set to close at noon on Friday of this week.

Members of the PCS union at UC centres in Wolverhampton, Walsall and Stockport are fighting over workload and staffing levels.

The workers at the centres manage people’s claims for the UC benefit.

But they say poor levels of staffing mean they spend too much time answering telephone calls, and not enough time managing their caseloads.

This causes a backlog and delay in cases being assessed—and misery for claimants.

Workers at the centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton have already struck this year. Their demands include 350 new staff members, and a limit of 30 calls a week for case managers.

The workers in Stockport want 100 new staff members and a limit of 30 calls a week.

Meanwhile, workers at a benefits office in south London, were voting on whether to strike against the closure of their office as Socialist Worker went to press on Tuesday.

The members of the PCS union in Balham face job losses and redundancies if the office closure goes ahead.

The ballot was set to finish at noon next Tuesday.


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