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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 January 2022

Jobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

Craig Worswick, PCS DWP Manchester branch secretary (personal capacity)

Just before Christmas a number of staff at the Mosley Street Jobcentre in Manchester contracted Coronavirus. In view of the outbreak among staff, and although these affected colleagues were no longer at work, the remaining fifty or so workers had concerns about working in what might be an unsafe office, and contacted their PCS union rep for advice.

The union branch called a members' meeting outside the office which agreed that members would collectively submit Section 44 notices to their employer - a statement that they considered the office unsafe and were not prepared to work there. The meeting also agreed a number of safety demands.

Discussions with management led to an agreement which members accepted as a basis for continuing to work within the office. However, although the immediate concerns in Mosley Street were resolved, the situation brought to the surface dissatisfaction with the PCS DWP Group's union leadership - or lack of it.

Management's disregard for staff safety, work pressures and staffing - with thousands on fixed-term contracts required in the opinion of the PCS DWP Manchester branch - a Group-wide (national) campaign to put pressure on management is needed. There has been no campaign. The union leadership says only that they will support any branch or groups of members that want to fight.

Faced with this 'leadership from behind' approach, the Manchester branch has sent out an open invitation to reps and members in DWP to a meeting on 19 January (on Zoom). On the agenda will be the urgent questions that face DWP workers and what steps need to be taken to make management prioritise the safety of staff and the public, ease the massive work pressures and give job security to all the thousands of temporary staff employed by the DWP.

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In The Socialist 12 January 2022:


News

Super-rich get richer, while we can't make ends meet. Join the fightback!

Blow to establishment as jury backs Colston Four

Covid, stress and cutbacks fuel school staff shortages

Tories concede under cladding pressure but don't go far enough

Low pay, stress and Covid drive: NHS staff crisis

Shameless Johnson partied through lockdown

Energy price crisis: nationalise energy giants to save us from £600 hit

Energy bosses: 'Jump, cuddle and eat porridge while we raise prices'


Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan: Working-class revolt only suppressed by massive mobilisation of troops

Solidarity with workers protesting in Kazakhstan


Campaigns news

Protests against BBC transphobia

Leeds People's Budget: We beat council cuts before, we will again

Communities fight back against Rio Tinto mine

North London NHS - "It's going to be us who saves it"

Southampton student vote for online exams must be accepted


Workplace news

Coventry bin workers' pay strike

10,000 tube workers vote to strike over jobs, terms and pension cuts

East Mids rail conductors force concessions, train managers' dispute continues

Carmarthenshire gritters take action as Plaid-led council reneges on agreement

Jobcentre Coronavirus outbreak leads to reps meeting call

South Yorkshire bus strikes spreading and getting stronger

Weetabix workers defeat 'fire and rehire' and ballot on improved pay offer

Invergordon Royal Mail mutiny wins


Reviews

Don't Look Up: An entertaining satire on corporate power and the US establishment

Anne: Hillsborough and the fight for justice

Money Heist: A Robin Hood tale set in modern-day capitalism


Readers' opinion

War criminal Tony Blair knighted

Bullying weighing room culture at the races

Free prescriptions? Maybe when you're older


Obituaries

Obituary - Pauline Wall

Obituary - Ethan Bradley 1993-2021


 

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Related links:

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triangleFight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

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DWP:

trianglePCS 2022 elections

triangleHarsh Tory regime for benefit claimants and workers

PCS:

trianglePCS Elections 2022: Time for new union leadership

Union:

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party

Manchester:

triangleManchester and Salford Socialist Party: COP26 - A socialist response

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