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16/07/2010

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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Department for Work & Pensions Group

To: Branch Secretaries, Additional Branch Contacts, Regional Secretaries, GEC
13 July 2010
DWP/BB/067/10

Jobcentre Plus rejects roll out of flexi-time pilot in Contact Centre Directorate.

PCS has been in discussions with Jobcentre Plus Contact Centre Directorate (CCD) management over proposals to improve access to flexi-time for members working in CCD. Members in CCD have for a long time been pressing CCD to ease the exceptionally restrictive way that flexi operates in CCD. This issue was given sharper focus when Jobcentre Plus announced last year its plans to transfer 5,000 staff from Benefit Processing Sites into CCD.

CCD agreed with PCS a pilot at Blackburn contact centre of a system where staff were allowed to start and finish work at any time within 30 minutes before or after their scheduled start and finish times. This has the advantage of giving staff a 1 hour window in which they could both start and finish work. It allowed them to vary the length of their working day and to build up flexi time so they could take a flexi day off at a later date.

Successful Pilot
The pilot was very successful. Feedback from management’s survey of staff at Blackburn showed that the pilot was universally popular, not just with the staff, but also with their managers. Everyone agreed that the pilot reduced stress and pressure, gave staff real flexibility and visibly improved morale and adherence. Apart for Mondays and Fridays there was no impact on customer service and even on Mondays and Fridays the impact was minimal.

Faced with the results of such a successful pilot, PCS strongly urged CCD management to implement this pilot across all of CCD as soon as possible. Unfortunately CCD has refused to agree to do this. Instead they are only prepared to allow their staff a flexibility of just 10 minutes either side of their scheduled start and finish time and plan to introduce this from 26th July.

Management Must Think Again
PCS has made it clear to management that this is not acceptable and does not go anything like far enough to meet the legitimate expectations of our members. While the option of 30 minutes flexibility is not perfect, and is far less than is currently available in BFD, it would form the basis of a recognisable flexi-time scheme that would greatly improve working life in CCD. The 10 minute option preferred by CCD fails to do this and is little better than what is currently available in CCD.

PCS will continue to press management to rethink their proposals and to listen to the views of their staff at Blackburn on the overwhelming benefits for staff and management of allowing their staff greater flexibility and control of their working life. The Group Executive Committee (GEC) will consider the next steps in our campaign for better working conditions in our contact centres at its meeting next week and will be consulting members in our CCD and TPIP sites.

Charles Law
Negotiations Officer

Rob Williams
Group Assistant Secretary

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