A message from the DWP Group President, Fran Heathcote.
I am writing to send a festive message to all PCS members in the DWP and to thank you and all of our hard working local reps for supporting our union in 2017.
The government decision to end check off was a deliberate attempt to bust the union. They failed because not only did 8 out 10 members stick with the union but since then we have won our fight in the high court who ruled the government’s actions were illegal and we look forward to a financial settlement to compensate our union when the court rules in a remedies hearing.
The DWP decision to close over 70 Jobcentres, as well as back office and Corporate Centre sites has been opposed by PCS with the support of many MPs and campaign groups. Campaigns in Barrow, Bishop Auckland and Glasgow helped us to keep threatened offices open and protect members’ jobs.
Members in Plymouth Old Tree Court, Sheffield Eastern Avenue, Whitley Bay and Hoylake have taken strike action alongside key campaign work at Southall, Coatbridge and in South East Wales, all of which has helped us to ensure that no one has been made compulsorily redundant.
I want to pay tribute to every member who has taken action against the closures. The threat of redundancies remains real in 2018 and the campaign to defend offices, jobs and services will continue.
We have worked closely with MPs to expose the problems of Universal Credit and welcome the pause in the roll out. We are now talking to DWP about what the pause means for members moving into this area of work. Our union will continue to fight to protect our members by pressing for more staff and better training.
At this time of year it is always important to remember the people that use our services. PCS campaigns hard not just for members, but for a fair social security system for those that need it.
The Employee Deal has provided increased pay in real terms for many members and is helping to end the blight of no pay progression. PCS continues to work hard to stamp out bullying and breaches of the agreement around rotation planning and tent pole staffing.
Although Employee Deal brings pay rates in DWP up to levels in other government departments, with increases between 1.1% and 5% each year, scrapping the government pay cap is essential for all DWP members to catch up after 7 years of austerity, to help members who opted out, those in the special location pay zones and SEOs and above who are not covered by the Employee Deal. That is why it is so important that DWP members continue to support the PCS national pay campaign in 2018.
On a personal note, I have enjoyed new challenges this year, being elected as PCS National Vice President as well as DWP Group President, giving me more even opportunity to ensure that your DWP issues remain at the forefront of all PCS campaigns. With your continued support I am confident that we can continue to strengthen PCS and to make gains for members.
I hope that you enjoy the festive break with family and friends