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DWP Staffing Update 22/12/2011

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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The branch position has always been to campaign collectively to make FTAs permanent, and we continued with this view even when it was not taken as seriously as we would have hoped at PCS conference this year, and in spite of the lack of support we have received for a number of employment tribunals challenging the end of FTA contracts, from PCS DWP Group Office.

The below is copied from the PCS website.

21 December 2011

PCS is campaigning for more staff in DWP. We are also campaigning against the threat of compulsory redundancies, compulsory transfers and office closures. DWP management have now conceded that more staff are needed and agreed to recruit 4,000 additional staff in the AO and EO grades for DWP Operations.

Youth Contract and Rising Unemployment – More Staff Needed

The Youth Contract was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on 26th November. It was an acceptance that in the face of rising youth unemployment, it is Jobcentre Plus staff that have the expertise and experience to help get more young people into work quicker. PCS immediately wrote to management seeking additional resources to deal with the additional work involved in the Youth Contract, in particular the Adviser interventions and more frequent signing. The extra staff announced are partly to deal with this. However, it is also an admission that unemployment is now set to rise sharply. Throughout 2011, PCS has warned management that this would be the case and that the forecasts they had been working on when making decisions to close offices and not renew some FTA contracts would be proved wrong. The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts predicted that unemployment would start to fall at the end of 2011. The new OBR forecast announced by the Chancellor on 29th November predicts that unemployment will rise from the present 2.64 million to 2.8 million in 2012.

PCS believes the OBR has now established a track record of underestimating increases in unemployment. While the recruitment of 4,000 additional permanent staff is a welcome breakthrough for our campaign, we will continue to campaign because more are needed.

Office Closures – End the Threat of Redundancy

The offers of Voluntary Redundancy at 12 sites threatened with closure and the Voluntary Exit offers planned for sites in their vicinity were due to be made last week. They were suspended for at least a month while the impact of the additional resources now made available is assessed.

PCS immediately wrote to management demanding that the Meaningful Consultation on compulsory redundancy in those 12 offices be halted. We believe it is now clear that redundancies can be avoided through voluntary exits and re-deployment within the DWP. Members in these offices should have the threat of redundancy lifted and all the decisions on office closures, including the ‘Year 2’ sites, should be reviewed in the light of increasing workloads.

Fixed Term Contract Staff

PCS has campaigned hard for FTC members to be made permanent. Most FTC members were recruited through ‘fair and open competition’. This means they can be converted to permanent staff without going through a further recruitment or selection exercise. We will be pressing management to ensure this happens. FTC members who have now given DWP a great deal of loyal and effective service should not now be unnecessarily put into competition with external applicants. All should be made permanent.

Compulsory Transfers on Merseyside

PCS is preparing to ballot members on Merseyside for action over staffing and the threat of compulsory transfers due to take place on 9th January. We have now asked management to, as a minimum, suspend the threatened transfers while the staffing position is reviewed.

Conclusion

PCS is now seeking further urgent talks on staffing in DWP Operations. You will be kept informed of developments.

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