Talk:UK union ups strike stakes at services for unemployed

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Original Reporting[edit]

PCS Presser[edit]

Below is the verbatim text of a PCS union pressrelease sent to scoop

Press Release

Jobcentre Plus Call Centre Workers on Strike April 18th Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) are taking strike action in the 37 call centres in Jobcentre Plus including 5 offices in Wales Newport, Bridgend, Pembroke Dock, Bangor and Caerphilly. We are striking in protest over the factory-style working conditions that exist in Jobcentre Plus call centres. We took strike action in the 7 newest call centres on 20th and 21st January to show the strength of feeling of our members but management have failed to negotiate seriously with us. So we balloted all our members across all the call centres and got over 70% voting for strike action. So we will be taking strike action on Monday April 18th.

Why are we on Strike? The dispute has been caused by Jobcentre Plus management’s obsession with hitting call centre targets at the expense of providing good quality services to the public. PCS members want to be allowed to deal with the calls they receive and stop having to fob benefit claimants off simply to meet arbitrary and irrelevant targets. Over 3,500 staff have been transferred into call centres from the benefit processing arm of Jobcentre Plus despite the backlogs caused by large numbers of people claiming benefits like Jobseekers Allowance.

We Want Respect Our members want to give genuine customer service but instead call handling targets mean individuals do not have their query dealt with when they ring up. This dispute is about respect. We want both the public and our members to be respected by the DWP.

Better public Service PCS believes that our members deserve the best terms and conditions to be able to deliver the best services to the public. Instead we have to suffer oppressive working conditions that simply result in high levels of stress and sickness and staff leaving at an alarming rate. 2,779 staff have left Jobcentre Plus call centres since April 2010. This is over 20% of the total workforce.

No Alternative PCS has tried to secure a settlement to the dispute during months of negotiations but due to the intransigence of Jobcentre Plus management the union is left with no alternative now but to call a strike. Together we will win.

Defend jobs and public services Our members in the DWP are on the front line of helping workers who lose their jobs pick up the pieces and we know how vital these services are. We are acutely aware of the great disparity between the number of job vacancies and people who want to find work. PCS is vigorously opposing the plans to close the Newport Passport office, Cardiff DSA office and Milford Haven coastguard station which could have a devastating impact on jobs and services in the local economy, where every job matters. We will work with other unions and communities to campaign hard to defend jobs and quality public services.

Picket lines Picket lines will be outside our offices between 7.30-9.30am I have put the addresses of the sites taking industrial action below

Contacts Katrine Williams PCS Wales Chair and Newport Contact centre striker 07877477603

PCS Wales Office 029 20666363

Offices on strike in Wales

           Newport Contact Centre

Sovereign House 1 Kingsway Newport NP20 1WR

Bridgend Contact Centre Crown Buildings Angel St Bridgend CF31 4AA

Pembroke Dock Contact Centre Trident House Cleddau Bridge Business Park Pembroke Dock Pembs SA72 6UP

Caerphilly Contact Centre First floor Bryn House Caerphilly Business Park Van Road Caerphilly CF83 3GG

Bangor Contact Centre Ty Pont Britannia Ffordd y Parc Parc Menai Bangor Gwynedd LL57 4FD

DWP Presser[edit]

> From: Martin Katie DWP PRESS OFFICE

> Sent: Mon Apr 18 18:57:35 2011

> Subject: Call centre strike

> Hi Brian,

> As discussed, out statement is below.

> Kind regards,

> Katie

> A DWP spokesperson said:

> "We are disappointed that despite three-quarters of staff across the centres having voted not to go on strike, the PCS have decided to take industrial action.

> "The contact centre staff at DWP have good terms of employment including generous holidays, and have a good amount of flexibility. But we have to ensure that our service is available when our customers, who include some of. the most vulnerable people in the country, need us.

> "We use performance measures to ensure that performance and productivity are high, and we deliver value for money for the taxpayer."

Notes from call with DWP[edit]

When I spoke to Katie, she stated that the PCS had informed them that approximately 40% of the 9,000 staff in JSP contact centres would be taking action; this was, as far as the DWP is concerned, largely accurate.

I asked if they planned to change working practices in light of the dispute I was told there were "no indications they intended to change their way of working".

Call at around 18:50 BST. --Brian McNeil / talk 18:29, 18 April 2011 (UTC)


Images! Please help![edit]

According to some googling, may have some images from today's strike. flickr is blocked here at work, can someone check for anything useable? --Brian McNeil / talk 18:49, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Images are copyrighted. --Patrick M (TUFKAAP) (talk) 14:09, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Yeah, got that pointed out to me last night. Then I submitted this for review. Now it's about 12-18 hours later and I've had to change today to yesterday here, there, and everywhere in this. --Brian McNeil / talk 15:08, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Review of revision 1216834 [Passed][edit]