Universal Credit staff working at two centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton will take two further days of strike action this week, after losing patience with the government in their campaign for more staff and better working conditions.
The walk-out, involving more than 200 staff members, will take place over two days from 27 August, after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) refused to meet the demands of workers.
It isn’t the first time staff working at these Universal Credit Services Centres have taken industrial action. Staff walked out in March 2019, accusing the DWP of treating them with “utter contempt“.
The PCS union, who represent the workers, are demanding 5,000 more permanent staff, a limit to the number of phone calls per case manage, a limit to the size of the national telephony hub, improved consultation, and an end to “management by statistics”.
PCS warns that this week’s industrial action could spread to other centres, as they hold meetings with more union members over the prospect of more strike ballots.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The decision to take strike action has not been taken lightly by our members in Universal Credit. They do their best to help claimants get the support they need.
“However, due to cuts, big increases in workloads and victimising reps, they have run out of patience with management.
“The DWP need to stop attacking trade unionists and properly negotiate a settlement which would be in the interests of staff and those claimants that our members help, day in, day out.”
Correction: This article originally stated that the walk-out will take place between 28 and 29 August 2019. This was incorrect and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused.