PCS union members in Universal Credit have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over workloads and staff recruitment.
274 staff were balloted for strike action at Wolverhampton and Walsall service centres with over 90% of those who took part, voting ‘yes.”
The decision will mean two days of strike action on 11 and 12 March at UC centres in Walsall and Wolverhampton.
The beleaguered service has faced severe under investment, staff shortages and criticism from claimants on how they are treated.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The message from our members is clear – changes need to be made otherwise they will walk out for two consecutive days. The union has tried to negotiate for months but to no avail. Ministers have stuck their heads in the sand and our members are now sending them a very loud wakeup call.
“PCS members have not taken the decision to strike lightly but the fact is industrial relations have broken down because ministers seem intent on running this service into the ground while treating staff with utter contempt.”
Workers at Universal Credit sites in Wolverhampton and Walsall are demanding the recruitment of more staff, permanent contracts for fixed term staff and a decrease in workloads.
The 5 key demands from Universal Credit workers are as follows:
- 5,000 new staff, permanency for our fixed term staff
- Limit the number of phone calls per case manager
- Limit the size of the national telephony hub; no to contact centres, yes to service centres.
- Improve consultation – no changes to our offices without union agreement.
- Quality-focused approach – no more management by statistics.