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Universal Credit Staff To Strike Over ‘Oppressive Working Conditions’

Around 1,500 Universal Credit staff will strike for two days next week.

DWP staff working on the government’s flagship Universal Credit programme are to strike for two days over ‘oppressive working conditions’, the PCS union has announced.

PCS says staff are responding to ‘a lack of resources, an oppressive management culture, inadequate training, hard to reach targets and staff shortages’.

Around 1,500 staff from two service centres in Bolton and Glasgow will strike for two days next Monday (20) and Tuesday (21). This will be followed by further industrial action in August.

PCS represents 80% of staff processing claims for Universal Credit and handling enquiries from claimants.

Staff are demanding improved working conditions and opposing ‘predetermined start and finish times and severe restrictions on flexible working’.

A recent poll resulted in 84% of respondents voting for strike action, while 90% voted for other forms of industrial action. The turnout was 56%.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The introduction of universal credit has been a textbook example of how not to reform essential public services, and the DWP’s handling of every aspect of it has been disastrous.

“These harsher working conditions must be withdrawn, they simply heap more pressure on staff who have battled against poor IT, inadequate training and a lack of resources.”

PCS haven’t ruled out balloting members at other Universal Credit service centres.

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