Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1030/28729
From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2019
Universal Credit staff ballot for action
PCS strikers, photo Iain Dalton (Click to enlarge)
The possibility of strike action on 11-12 March is on the cards at Walsall and Wolverhampton Universal Credit service centres. The ballot finishes on 25 February.
Workers in Universal Credit sites constantly suffer under the pressure of huge numbers of phone calls, many from desperate claimants. Chronic understaffing means only one in four claimants gets through to their designated case worker, and staff do not always get the time to help callers.
Dave Semple is a civil servants' union PCS rep and leads the Universal Credit negotiations in the Department of Work and Pensions. He's a member of the union's national executive committee. Writing in a personal capacity, he said: "Five all-members meetings at these two sites have made clear staff are unhappy and want changes."
"The union has talked to the Department of Work Pensions, has talked to Parliament, and has raised every reasonable argument. But they do not want to listen. The union will support members taking action - and socialists must fight to broaden out this dispute to the many other Universal Credit workplaces deeply unhappy at their treatment."
PCS estimates that at least 5,000 additional staff are needed to deal with the Universal Credit workload alone! Universal Credit is another area where staff are hired on fixed-term contracts, despite the massive workloads.
Hand-in-hand with the issues facing Universal Credit workers are the appalling problems that claimants deal with. Universal Credit's roll out has brought with it sharp rises in foodbank usage and homelessness.
The union will soon be balloting nationally over pay. It's so low in the Department of Work and Pensions that more than 10,000 staff have to claim tax credits and will ultimately be on Universal Credit.
Universal Credit must be scrapped. Claimants and workers must unite in fighting against all forms of Tory austerity and attacks on the working class.
A PCS member
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 20 February 2019:
Nationalise Airbus and other manufacturing plants to save jobs now!
NHS crisis deepens: Workers' and community action can save our health service
What we heard
What we saw
Youth climate strikes
"There's no planet B": Thousands of youth strike against climate change - we need socialist change!
Youth strike for the climate reports: "There's no planet B"
TV: Les Misérables - Hugo's novel and this adaptation both offer a message of hope
The Socialist Inbox
What we think
Eight Blairites split - Now kick out the rest
PCS Left Unity must unite on pay and elections
Universal Credit staff ballot for action
Annoyed?! I'm annoyed to be on poverty wages
Nationalise to save jobs at Honda!
Birmingham bin strike against 'blacklisting'
Deliveroo riders strike against exploitative pay and conditions
Leicester college pay strike goes on
Cardiff Uni: urgent action needed to stop job cuts
Hackney: Unite fights racism and victimisation
Harrowing accounts of austerity at Unison women's conference
Unite GLL pay campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Spanish state: social polarisation and budget defeat force snap election
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Unite union London council workers back Enfield Labour no-cuts call
Leeds TUC presents a no-cuts alternative budget
Socialist Students conference shows potential for fighting leadership
London housing campaigners disrupt auction
Birmingham Uni: Standing up to racism is not harassment!
Leicester Socialists stand against Blairite mayor
Lincoln students back UCU ballot
Leicestershire needs NHS beds
Claimants and union slam Universal Credit
Energy retail firm collapse hits Tyneside
New recession fear stalks the world economy
The Socialist 20 February 2019 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook