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30 September 2020

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PCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Katrine Williams, vice-president, PCS union DWP group (personal capacity)

PCS union members in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are reacting furiously to management's rush to book appointments in all the Jobcentres, a move especially targeted at 18-to-24 year olds.

Throughout the pandemic, our members have ensured that anyone who needs our services gets help. But the priority has been delivering services safely and, in the main, this has been done over the phone or digitally, keeping both the public and our members safe.

We can continue doing this and focus on providing quality services, whereas management want to drag the public into Jobcentres for just a ten-minute appointment for no good reason.

With the soaring rate of Covid-19 cases, and more and more towns and cities going into local lockdowns, it is reckless to make claimants travel across communities into Jobcentres for an interview that could be done over the phone.

And help could be directed by our experienced members to those who most need the support rather than the stats-driven approach that is being proposed.

The plans are nothing to do with helping the public but all to do with government's and bosses' offensive against workers during the recession trying to make the working class pay for the pandemic.

Management has failed to comply with the duty to consult over the review of the Jobcentre risk assessments for this major change in services, This is making our offices even more dangerous, as the measures are not being put properly in place to deal with the increased callers safely.

But they have bitten off more than they can chew as they have enraged our members, and even many site managers are resisting the attempts to put the public and our members in danger.

Members are attending car-park meetings and frustrating the attempts to bring loads of claimants into our workplaces. We will not be restricted by management instructions not to tell claimants that attending the interview in a Jobcentre is voluntary.

Following the 77% consultative Yes vote supporting the union's campaign to oppose the expansion of services and the opening hours of the sites, Broad Left Network supporters are demanding bold action to stop management's dangerous plans.

The DWP group executive must follow through now with a statutory ballot for strike action and action short of strike action of all the members impacted to stop the extension of services and opening hours.

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In The Socialist 30 September 2020:


Tory scheme won't halt mass unemployment: mobilise the unions!

Job Support Scheme - too little, too late

Under the microscope

News in brief

International news

Trump's failure over western US wildfires

US: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

South Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

What we think

Covid restrictions expose Tory splits


Students trapped on Covid campuses speak out

Apprehension about Covid - anger at fees, costs and exploitation

Black History Month

Still crawling at 60: Capitalism has failed Nigeria

Workplace news

Trade unions must fight to put their stamp on events

Usdaw elections: Defend members' right to participate

PCS: No to DWP management's plans - Yes to action

NHS workers need 15% rise and full funding

Fight BT redundancies

Peterborough CWU have massively voted for strike action

Campaigns and party news

Why I joined the Socialist Party: Labour moved right and left me behind

71,522 raised: We've smashed our target again

Selling the Socialist

Newham: Closed and evicted

Campaign for new King George Hospital wing gets boost

Solidarity not charity

Readers' opinion

The Socialist Inbox


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Article dated 30 September 2020

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