Keeping up the fight

PCS members and activists have been fighting back and winning recently.

DWP job centres and back offices have been saved through local campaigning, members have been striking to prevent the closure of a Sheffield jobcentre, a planned strike ballot by Met Police members was called off after concessions were won, and driving agency staff are being balloted for industrial action.

Members have the confidence to campaign and take action because they know PCS is backing them up. A major weapon in this fight is the union’s fighting fund, which assists striking members, like our DWP colleagues in Sheffield.

If the union’s 7,000 activists each contributed £2 per month it would generate almost £170,000 per year. Please sign up if you can, and urge others to do the same via the fighting fund web page.


Disputes and campaigns latest:

• DWP

Phoenix House in Barrow – which processes claims for industrial diseases including asbestos-related illness – faced closure but was rescued by a PCS-led local campaign. It focused on the loss of expertise in a specialist benefit and the impact on vulnerable customers. Our members worked with local MPs, the media, the trades council, and other local union branches. They also had a successful petition and connected on social media to relevant campaign groups like Ban Asbestos Worldwide. It culminated in a march through the town.

In Bishop Auckland PCS activists also succeeded in rallying the local MP and media against the closure of Vinovium House, and the plans were reversed. A petition and town march gathered support, and PCS publicised how much money would be lost to the local economy by re-locating 83 staff.

Meanwhile six out of the original 78 jobcentres earmarked for closure have been saved - Glasgow Castlemilk, Edmonton, Glasgow Cambuslang, Newcastle East, South Shields and Plymouth Old Tree Court – but PCS has condemned the department’s continuing plans to decimate the estate.

The fight continues for members at Sheffield’s Eastern Avenue jobcentre, who took strike action in June and July to save the jobcentre serving one of the most deprived areas in the city.

• Met Police

The threat of a ballot for industrial action by civilian staff who work in the Met Police’s 999 call centres led to concessions over staffing and workloads.

The action had been planned to coincide with the Notting Hill Carnival, but was called off after PCS secured a range of commitments in further talks. Union reps had been pushing for months for improvements to new ways of working that they feared would compromise the safety of staff and members of the public.

• Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)

Members at the DVSA are due to be balloted for industrial action in a protracted dispute over travel time arrangements and other changes to their terms and conditions, including overtime pay. The dispute involves operational staff including driving examiners and vehicle testing staff.

Remember:

•    Use and share the PCS cuts map tool for local campaigning.

•    Help promote the Fighting Fund. Click here for ideas.

 

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