Civil service union calls for an end to violence in Jobcentres

The trade union branch representing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) staff in Lincolnshire has appealed for an end to violence in local Jobcentres after a man was arrested following an incident involving a meat cleaver in the Lincoln office. The DWP Lincolnshire branch of the civil servants’ union PCS represents nearly 500 staff working for the government department in Lincolnshire.

Branch secretary and Socialist Party member Nick Parker said: “Front-line jobcentre staff do a vital job to provide a helping hand to benefit claimants who find themselves out of a job to get them back on their feet and into work. Staff are doing this on deteriorating rates of pay and with increasing workloads. They have a right to be able to go about their daily working lives without the threat of being attacked or abused by a small minority of people whom they serve.

“There is a rising trend of unacceptable behaviour taking place in offices across the country, with many such incidents linked to benefit changes such as sanctions, the abolition of crisis loans, and re-assessment of sickness benefits. PCS warned the government that austerity policies would put our members at risk, and sadly this prediction is coming true. Tens of thousands of jobs in the DWP have also been cut since 2010.

“PCS is committed to strengthening the health and safety protection for our members, staff and the public when incidents like this occur. The government should listen to PCS and a growing number of campaign groups and immediately withdraw and reverse all cuts to our society’s welfare state.”