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Contact Centre Ballot – GEC Urges YES/YES Vote 05/07/2012

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.

For the attention of all members in Contact Centre Services

As part of our Contact Centre campaign, PCS is currently balloting members in all of Contact Centre Services. We are asking you two questions:

Do you agree with PCS’ recommendations that:

  1. Further improvements to CCS working conditions are needed before the contact centre dispute can be ended?
  2. Do you support the continuing campaign of action aimed at winning concessions on working conditions in CCS – including further discontinuous strike action?

The DWP GEC is urging members to vote YES/YES to both questions in line with the policy decided at this year’s DWP Group Conference.

Why is PCS balloting you?

PCS has tried hard to secure improvements to contact centre working conditions through negotiations with management. We have made some progress, notably with the Interim Agreement that was implemented last Autumn, but since then our discussions with management have made little progress.

At a meeting of PCS reps from contact centre reps in April, the overwhelming view of reps at the meeting was that working conditions in contact centres were still causing serious problems for members and that further improvements were needed before the dispute could be resolved. The reps at that meeting also overwhelmingly agreed that members in CCS were prepared to take further industrial action.

After that reps meeting, PCS’ DWP Group Conference in May, where every DWP branch is represented, voted unanimously that further improvements to working conditions in Contact Centre were required in order to resolve the dispute. Conference also instructed the GEC to consult members in CCS before taking any further industrial action which we are now doing through this ballot.

Why vote YES/ YES?

Every time we have made progress in improving the working conditions in CCS it has been when we have shown the employer that members are prepared to take strike action. A strong YES/YES vote in this ballot will show management that members in CCS are as fed up now as ever, are prepared to take action if necessary, and that management must accept that further improvements are needed.

The GEC always tries to avoid strike action if we can by resolving disputes through negotiations. It has been over a year since the last contact centre strike and no one can accuse the GEC of not trying to resolve the dispute through negotiations. But now the talks have stalled. A strong YES/YES vote is essential if we are to get management again to listen seriously to our demands

What are our demands?

  • Extra staff to relieve the unacceptable pressure and stress on members
  • A new job design that combines processing work with telephony work to allow members to do a variety of work and not just telephony all day long.
  • An end to the oppressive management culture in CCS that leads to unreasonable targets, petty disciplinary actions and excessively harsh attitudes to leave, sickness and to any time not spent on the phone.

These demands are reasonable and achievable. We have tried to resolve this through talks but we now need to show management that we have the full support of members to force management to change. Your vote is critical. Every YES/YES vote strengthens PCS’ hand and weakens management’s hand.

Impact of Universal Credit

The Contact Centre campaign is a vital campaign for PCS members including sites selected for Universal Credit. We need not only to secure improvements in contact centres now, but also to ensure that, as DWP develops Universal Credit, the bad practices of CCS are ended forever and not carried forward into future Universal Credit work.

Your vote – Your choice

It is of course entirely up to you how you vote in this ballot. PCS is running the ballot solely to give you, the members of the union, the chance to have your say on the union’s next steps in this campaign.


PCS Website



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