21 January 2022

PCS responds to DWP forcing all staff back into unsafe workplaces

Following the prime minister’s announcement to lift the Plan B Covid restrictions, the DWP has followed suit in effectively lifting Covid-related safety measures for staff and jobcentre claimants, increasing the risk to our members and the public.

What this means for members

This means that all the easements introduced to reduce footfall in jobcentres before the festive period will end on Monday, (24 January). This will result in an unwelcome return to what the DWP describes as “business as usual” for jobcentre members.

For staff in non-customer facing roles this will mean a return to hybrid working in their workplaces by the end of February.

No forced return to workplaces for DWP staff in England

PCS has demanded that the DWP reconsiders and ceases forcing DWP members back into workplaces until it is safe.

The Scotland and Wales devolved authorities have not at this stage followed the lead of the Westminster government. The DWP has assured PCS that it will follow the guidance issued from Wales and Scotland.

PCS response

PCS will hold an all DWP members meeting to consider our response to the DWP’s latest irresponsible actions at 6pm on Wednesday (26 January). This will be held by Zoom – save the link - and will also be accessible on the PCS Facebook page. This meeting will be addressed by senior PCS representatives and officials.

The last time we held a mass members’ meeting, on 16 December, to respond to the DWP’s actions in jobcentres more than 1,250 members attended. Following that meeting, where over 90% of members indicated that they were prepared to take strike action over jobcentre safety, the DWP backed down and introduced measures designed to reduce footfall in jobcentres.

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