Civil servants, including employees at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), have reacted angrily to confirmation from UK government of thousands of public sector job cuts.
It follows a letter from outgoing PM Boris Johnson outlining the government’s intention to cut 91,000 civil service jobs.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) says it members, who include DWP employees, have reacted by writing “in unprecedented numbers expressing their outrage, not just against these cuts but how another dismal pay award would affect them.”
Pam from Birmingham told PCS: “We should all keep our jobs as we are making a difference to the lives of millions of children with disabilities.
“I am proud of the job I do because as DWP members of staff we are making the parents’ lives a lot easier.
“It is bad enough that our wages do not reflect the work we do. We have been fighting for a pay rise for many years. We are getting paid below the inflation.
“Let’s fight to keep our jobs safe and also get a decent pay rise. We all deserve some recognition.”
Gill, a Universal Credit Case Manager, said: “The PM’s statement about civil service job cuts should have been delivered prior to the announcement of the office closures, which preceded it by a few weeks.
“It should’ve most certainly been delivered prior to upsetting media headlines stating staff should ‘get back to the office’ as though staff were refusing to return, yet many offices no longer have the capacity for all staff to be in at the same time!
“It is the ultimate betrayal; staff have worked exceptionally hard during the pandemic, constant overtime has been needed, even with the ‘extra’ temporary staff, just to tread water.
“Universal Credit has been a monumental disaster. The resources from the other benefits did not transfer in the numbers required to deliver such a massive task.
“Case managers are not managing cases, they are dealing with payments and journal messages only, never getting to do maintenance tasks, resulting in massive under and overpayments which are being postponed to an indeterminate date, akin to the 12th of never.
“With inflation estimated to be 9% and a 2% pay rise offered, to cut jobs at the same time will mean us working even harder for proportionally less money.
“Yet MPs award themselves big pay rises and they are not reducing their jobs, or even restricting MPs to actually giving their job their full attention, most having several other interests as directors etc.
“Please don’t include a question ‘Do you feel proud to work for DWP?’ On this year’s staff survey as the answer will undoubtedly be unprintable!
“After 30 years of hard work, to hear Jacob Rees Mogg’s snide, headline grabbing slur, the PM’s agreement, then when they realise what an own goal they’ve scored, a hasty all staff letter to try to smooth things over, made me feel totally unappreciated, it had all been a waste of time and yet again we are scapegoats for the government’s mismanagement of the public finances!”
David from North Wales said: “I feel that a cumulation of the shambolic EO permanency recruitment campaign, the lack of communication and leaving colleagues weeks before the end of their fixed term contracts without knowing if they have a job, the insulting 2% pay rise offer, the increase in targets for the number of appointments and provision referrals and the latest announcement to cut 91k jobs justify a strike ballot at the earliest opportunity.
“The government is on borrowed time and the threats to cut civil service jobs, poor pay and badly handled FTA permanency exercise as well as their general unpleasantness and ineptitude I hope will result in people voting with their feet at the next general election.”
A civil servant with 44 years’ service said: “I think most of my colleagues share the same opinion. The PM’s statement that it is a moral duty to cut staff and rein in costs in the civil service caused much anger. I for one have never been fined or abused the rules.
“I had to live in seclusion shielding for four months spending Christmas alone after my brother had died.
“This government has no moral authority in any shape, size of form to lecture me about a moral duty.
“Cuts will create even more chaos across the civil service. I do wonder how he keeps a straight face when writing this nonsense.
“Unfortunately civil servants and the public we serve will pay the price and the wealthy elite that make up the government escape scot free.”
Cathy, a jobcentre work coach, added: “Job centres seeing an increase in claims, staff battle to ensure ever increasing numbers of people fleeing from the war in Ukraine are seen and helped, whilst managing the migration of legacy benefits over the next two years.
“UC work coaches were promised that they would have control over their diaries. This has turned out to be completely false.
“We are now going back to 10min appointments which by time identity checks are done leaves a couple of minutes to discuss work, let alone answer any questions a customer might have.
“Work coaches facing constantly changing targets are worn out, demoralised and stressed. Staff taken on in the pandemic are disillusioned by the tasks they are now given.
“Staff cuts will make matters so much worse than they already are.”