Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 January 2011

Strike at sweatshop DWP centres

DWP PCS workers on strike, photo The Socialist

DWP PCS workers on strike, photo The Socialist   (Click to enlarge)

PCS members in Jobcentre Plus who have been compulsorily transferred from benefit processing into contact centres will be taking strike action on 20 and 21 January over our working conditions.

Katrine Williams, PCS DWP group vice president

The only thing that is important to our management is hitting call centre targets about how many calls are answered and how quickly the public can be fobbed off.

We are angry that the quality of the calls and really dealing with the public takes a low priority.

We clearly see that the work of coping with high volumes of calls is just being shunted to our fellow PCS members in benefit processing. This is frustrating for us as we are prevented from addressing the individual's issues and frustrating for the public as there will be further delays in being dealt with whilst they wait for a call back within three hours from busy processing teams. January is always a really busy month with large numbers of people making claims for Jobseekers' Allowance.

Customer service is constantly being quoted at us as the reason for the reorganisation. But as experienced benefit processors, we can clearly see ways that our jobs could be improved by being able to resolve more on the phone and straightaway with the public. This would also remove some of the inefficiency and delays that are built into this system.

The quality of services is really important, given the drive from the previous government and pushed forward by the coalition government, to limit people's access to public services. More and more is being done remotely by phone and the internet rather than face to face.

Our members can be disciplined for inefficiency if they continue to spend too long on the phone, using their judgement when dealing with the public and not conforming to the rigidly tight call times target.

After winning a ballot with an over 70% 'yes' vote for strike action in November, management was brought back to the negotiating table for talks over Christmas and New Year.

The talks broke down on 10 January when it became clear that management has no respect for our members nor the services we want to deliver to the public. Our members have worked flat out during the recession and continue to do so with the high unemployment since. But the Jobcentre Plus contact centre management does not believe that we can provide services without being constantly monitored every minute of the day.

We are building for a strong turnout on the strike days. If management refuses to move then we are ready to ballot all the contact centre staff across Jobcentre Plus to escalate the dispute.

The strike affects around 3,500 workers in Bristol, Chorlton, Glasgow, Makerfield, Newport, Norwich, and Sheffield.

Please send messages of support to PCS DWP Group via email to Financial support is also very welcome and any donations can be sent to PCS Leeds, 3rd Floor, Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8LY. Cheques should be made payable to PCS DWP Group Hardship Account.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 19 January 2011:

National Shop Stewards Network

Unite against all the cuts

Discussing an NSSN anti-cuts campaign

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Save our NHS!

International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia in revolt

Socialist Party news and analysis

MPs' expenses scam continues: for workers' MPs on a worker's wage

Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election: A left-wing workers' alternative needed

Wales referendum: Vote Yes on 3 March - Defend public services in Wales

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Fighting cuts in Somerset

Socialist Party youth and students

Student receives draconian sentence

Students demand - 'save our EMA'

Education Maintenance Allowance: 11 January day of action

Urgent action needed to end youth unemployment

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS members vote for battle against cuts

Strike at sweatshop DWP centres

Teachers strike against redundancies

Heinz strikes force improved offer

Cameron 'thanks' postal workers by axing their jobs and pensions

Workplace news in brief


Home   |   The Socialist 19 January 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleFight expansion of disastrous 'Universal Credit' welfare system

triangleUN slams Tories for disabled rights ruin

trianglePCS: strikes to defend jobcentres

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleDWP announces office closures and job losses


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

triangleBalloting members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice