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Contact Centre Strike Date Announced: 18th April! 08/04/2011

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.

Yesterday PCS announced that the next strike day will be Monday 18th April, which will see all 39 Jobcentre Plus contact centres going out on strike. with a 70% vote in favour of action, we see this as being another strong turnout, and hope that it will urge DWP management to see how angry staff are about the brutal target-driven environment.

We have received a message of support already from the Facebook group ‘Respect For the Unemployed & Benefit Claimants‘:

Thousands of Jobcentre Plus staff are to stage a 24-hour STRIKE later this month in an increasingly bitter row over working conditions.

We, as Unemployed Workers’ (job-seekers) MUST stand shoulder to shoulder with the union who are trying to defend a public service for us claimants.

Many claimants will have suffered at the hands of some of the staff, but this groups notes that NOT all staff are in the Union & the PCS Union has always defended the rights of benefit claimants, unlike this government & the previous labour government. Government have tried to force job centre staff to treat claimants in a contemptuous manner by harassing claimants, giving incorrect advice & much more those same staff have no understanding of solidarity & the PCS union does not support treating benefit claimants in such way..
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union based in over 30 call centres will walk out on April 18 after accusing management of showing “little willingness” to resolve the dispute.

Jobcentres on a ‘target driven culture’ in the workplace.

In a ballot of the union’s 7,000 members in the call centres, 70% of those who took part voted for strike action.

The action follows a two-day strike in January by more than 2,000 workers in Jobcentre Plus’s seven newest contact centres, who complain of being forcibly moved from processing benefit claims to handling inquiries by phone.

The union says its main complaint centres on “unrealistic” average call times while it is also seeking more flexible working arrangements.

Jane Aitchison, the union’s Department for Work and Pensions group president,said: “We are being prevented from providing a good quality service to the public because of unnecessary and unrealistic call centre targets.

“We entered into negotiations in good faith because we care about the help and advice we give to some of the most vulnerable people in society.

It’s very disappointing that our management didn’t do the same.”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka claims standards are being driven down at Jobcentre Plus as a result of Government spending cuts.

He said: “Instead of punishing people who are claiming benefits through no fault of their own, the Government should be investing in our public services to help get people back to work quicker and to help our economy to grow.”

The union says among the call centres taking part in the strike will be those in Glasgow, Dundee, Newport, Bridgend, Bangor, Sheffield, Halifax, Norwich and Southend.

Also those in Newcastle upon Tyne, Middlesbrough, Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Derby, Coventry, Exeter and Bristol will be affected.

Watch the video from the Union on Question Timehttp://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=189380867772007&oid=168413956519025&comments

In addition, this in response to our call for support in Sheffield:

“We will be there with you, if some are not able to get there it is not because we don’t want to, its because either lack of money pr quality of life prevents us. But I, & many up & down Britain will be joining you “Your fight us our fight” together we are strong !!”

We recognise the importance of solidarity between customers/claimants and jobcentre staff, and will continue to work hard to build it.

All out! Organise to build a strong turnout! More people on the picket lines – show management why we’re angry!



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