All Campaigns subcategories:
Welfare rights keywords:
Universal Credit staff ballot for action
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
Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777
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: 020 8988 8786
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: 077 0671 0041