Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 August 2020

PCS union: Vote Yes in DWP ballot! Reject longer opening hours

  (Click to enlarge)

Katrine Williams, vice-president, PCS DWP group (personal capacity)

PCS members in all the Department for Work and Pension's (DWP) Jobcentres and 21 Universal Credit service centres must vote Yes in the ballot which starts 17 August.

This will give a very clear message to management, to stop their plans to open workplaces until 8pm, to open on Saturdays, and to bring back conditionality.

The threat to open these workplaces into the evenings and all Saturdays shows no regard for PCS union members who have worked flat out to deliver services to the public in the pandemic and ensure the massive influx of people making claims for benefit have all received payments.

We have achieved this with only 60% of our members in the workplace, and our members at home have had to put up with delays and issues getting the kit to work from a government department that was the worst prepared with IT equipment for their workforce. All adding extra pressure on our members delivering services.

We have seen the fiasco of rolling out the reopening of Jobcentres to meet the Tory ministers' aim of making things look like they are getting back to normal, but with scant regard for the health and safety of our members.

There is no reason why we could not continue to provide the bulk of our support remotely over the phone or digitally, which would help keep our members and the public safe.

The plans to open Jobcentres later, and on Saturdays, are even more flawed, putting everyone further at risk.

But they also harm the services that can be provided during the peak working times during the week.

During the pandemic there has been flexibility to concentrate the opening hours to the public at normal office hours, so that we can focus the limited resources and staffing to when there is the most demand for support.

This has helped our members deal with the issues caused by the pandemic, allow them to juggle their personal issues, and deal with limited public transport.

This should continue, as we are far from out of the woods in dealing with the impact of coronavirus.

The concept of having the potential to have opening hours until 7.30pm or on Saturdays was to have the flexibility, if required, to offer services to the public who need support from the DWP but would struggle to access these services during normal business hours from 9am-5pm.

The collective agreement is clear that operating hours should be directly related to demand from the public, and not just implemented for the sake of it.

With the economy in recession, and large numbers of jobs at risk, the vast bulk of the demand from the public will remain during the day.

Any move to stretch our members' working patterns to cover longer working days and Saturday opening will damage the services to the public when they are most needed.

With such a difficult economic climate, the focus should still be on supporting the public, and we remain opposed to the return to conditionality.

The priorities of paying benefit and supporting the public whilst keeping our members safe must remain.

Management can be made to back off. This will require a huge turnout and Yes vote.

Branches and reps have the key role in talking to members to encourage them to demonstrate their opposition collectively to management's plans by voting Yes.

Management's plans are unsafe, unnecessary and unacceptable.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 19 August 2020:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Students 2 : 0 Tories - Protests work!

Student protests force government retreat

"As a working-class student, I already faced struggles"

Tory track and trace failure

Tory planning deregulation: a charter for building profitable slums

NHS workers demand improved pay - 15% for all now!

International socialist news and analysis

Revolutionary mood in Lebanon following horrific explosion

Mass protests and strikes rock Belarus

Leon Trotsky

80th anniversary of Leon Trotsky's assassination

Yorkshire: Celebrating the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky


September school return must be safe for all workers and students

NHS pay

NHS pay: unions must take fight to U-turn Tories

Socialist history

75 years since the publication of Animal Farm: From 'two legs bad' to 'two legs better'

Workplace news and analysis

300 Covid cases at Northampton food plant - management to blame, not the workers!

PCS union: Vote Yes in DWP ballot! Reject longer opening hours

Support the Tower Hamlets council workers, vote for Hugo Pierre!

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Black Lives Matter: this generation is willing to stand up and fight

We can't take any more cuts

Nottingham: oppose the far right and attempts to divide us

Your donations help us campaign

Leeds: Little London residents are celebrating

To push change we need to be organised - why we joined the Socialist Party

Sheffield: Support Sue

Brighton: Another luxury development

The Socialist: back to weekly soon


Home   |   The Socialist 19 August 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleLatest podcast: PCS elections - the struggle for fighting trade unionism

triangleSupport the Broad Left Network for a democratic, fighting union leadership

trianglePCS elections: increased support for Broad Left Network

trianglePCS members at Swansea DVLA to strike for safety

trianglePCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay


triangleThurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

triangleSPS Technologies workers end strike after management backs down

triangleRally for sacked RMT rep Declan

triangleAmazon - union vote lost


triangleHMRC: Pay deal agreed but at what cost?

triangleHMRC: Divisive pay deal leads to expulsions

trianglePCS: Vote for rank-and-file socialist Broad Left Network candidates


triangleCovid inquiry? Workers must decide

triangle'Covid passports' discriminatory and questionable - fight for workplace safety

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Latest podcast: PCS elections - the struggle for fighting trade unionism



Workers strike and protest


Socialist Students

Students in action: Protest on 21 April


Socialist Party

Why you should join the Socialist Party



Cardiff: Hundreds protest to free Siyanda



Worcester: Kill the Bill


Fighting Fund

Fighting fund target smashed. Can we do it again?



Youth under attack



St Mungo's maintenance workers on indefinite strike



Thousands of London bus workers strike across multiple companies



Rally for sacked RMT rep Declan


East London

East London cleaners fight outsourcing and redundancies



Bristol Water workers walk out



SPS Technologies workers end strike after management backs down



London: #BuhariMustGo protests are back

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021