Strike scheduled for 28 and 29 August
A two-day strike action by members of the PCS union working at Stockport’s Universal Credit centre is scheduled to proceed late this month after an overwhelming vote in favour of action in a ballot of members.
The union’s statement on the action described declining staff numbers, unmanageable workloads as the core of problems workers are facing in trying to process an ever-increasing number of claims and cases.
The union is demanding the recruitment of a significant number of new staff and the removal of unworkable restrictions on existing staff:
PCS members fighting to improve their Universal Credit service centre are set to strike following a huge vote in favour of action.
Staffing on Universal Credit at Millennium House in Stockport has been in decline since its introduction in 2016/17. Despite existing staff being switched to UC to support hard-pressed members and further staff from the remaining legacy command incoming in September, we believe this is not going to tackle the problem of increasing workloads and the demands placed upon staff.
We therefore believe action is needed to make important changes for members and this was supported in the ballot which closed today with a 71.4% turnout, members voted 91.9% in favour of strike action and 95% in favour of action short of strike.
Case managers have seen their caseloads increase week by week. The volume of telephone calls has gone up in line with those caseloads and members are now expected to be working on several claims at the same time. Stress-related absences are higher on the UC command compared to the legacy commands.
PCS demands the DWP:
– Recruits 100 new staff members
– Limits calls to 30 a week for case managers
– Scraps the one minute after-call work limit
– Allocates time for case work to be completed
– Ends the attack on flexi
– Ends the unnecessary restrictions on breaks and lunches
– Ends the victimisation of a PCS rep and member and the dropping of cases against them.
The Tories have long been heavily criticised for their botched, dishonest and consciously-cruel roll-out of Universal Credit, a system inflicting absolute misery on huge numbers of vulnerable individuals and families.
Supporters who wish to contribute to the workers’ hardship fund can do so via direct transfer to the Stockport and Tame Valley Hardship Account, sort code 60-83-01, account number 20260684.