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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 September 2021

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

Jobcentre Plus, photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)

Jobcentre Plus, photo Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

Katrine Williams, PCS DWP rep (personal capacity)

Resistance must be built to Tory attacks on the unemployed. In their drive to ramp up their harsh welfare system, they are prepared to put everyone's safety at risk. They plan to drag every claimant back into Jobcentres for even more mandatory interviews, especially 18-24 year olds.

All safety measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and protect both the public and PCS members in Jobcentres are under threat - including using every desk to put everyone in close proximity, failing to address inadequate ventilation, and slashing the additional cleaning.

A flawed risk assessment review process was deliberately rushed through during peak summer leave. Local managers have been forced to open up all the desks previously marked as unsafe to use, regardless of their misgivings and safety reps' opposition due to the risk.

Enormous pressure is being put on PCS members in Jobcentres to work to meaningless targets on the numbers of claimants being seen, cramming in as many interviews as possible, and getting claimants on schemes which bear no relation to the support that individuals need. Many of the 13,000 extra staff recruited into the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to help people get work are on insecure, temporary contracts themselves.

While our members are being put under unbearable pressure, and union branches are abandoned to fight on their own, the PCS DWP group leadership are devising any method to keep kicking the can down the road rather than give a decisive lead.

By contrast, PCS Broad Left Network members in DWP are encouraging branches to mobilise members to collectively challenge the employer, to utilise health and safety rights and, crucially, put pressure on the union leadership to act.

We are also promoting joint campaigning with claimant organisations to fight against the common enemy. Building support for the Youth Fight for Jobs protests on the 9 October is an ideal way to build the pressure on the government and highlight the demands we have in common:

Safety for all must be paramount while delivering quality, tailored support for claimants and ensuring benefits are paid on time in DWP

Fighting for decent, safe permanent jobs on a real living wage for all, including all the temporary staff in the DWP and public sector, to directly recruit workers and stop use of agency workers

Fight for the uplift on Universal Credit to be retained as part of a campaign for a fully resourced, supportive, public social security system

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In The Socialist 8 September 2021:


NHS and social care

NHS and social care - make the rich pay, not the workers

Workers shouldn't pay for health and social care plans

End service cuts and care charges

Families demand rights for care home residents

Whipps Cross hospital workers reject the 3%


What we think

A pivotal moment for the trade union movement


Socialist Party news and campaigns

Socialist Party national council - members enthused by excellent in-person meeting

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Education

Union action needed to make schools Covid safe

Fighting NEU leadership needed to tackle school funding crisis

Schools funding crisis fails vulnerable children

University bosses push through pension cuts proposal


9/11 twenty years on

9/11 and the 'War on Terror' twenty years on


Workplace news

Bexley bin workers win big gains after six-week strike

Equity protest to save arts centre forces talks from Newham Council

DWP: Demand safe working and more jobs

DHL workers to strike against wage theft


Youth Fight for Jobs

Organising to defend our future: 9 October- Youth fight for jobs day of action

Building Youth Fight for Jobs in the South West


International news

Libya - ten years after Gaddafi's overthrow

US Supreme Court refuses to challenge Texas abortion ban

Keep fascists out of Portland: Build a mass movement to fight the right


Readers' opinion

The street I live on

Socialist change, not climate change

Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Obituary

Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter


 

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