As members at the jobcentre in Sheffield took their fifth week of strike action last week senior management has agreed to meet with reps.
The strike, from 18 – 22 September, was well supported and reps reported that the number of non-strikers seemed to be even lower than in previous weeks. The low level of staffing at the jobcentre meant that it was not business as usual and the jobcentre was closed completely over lunchtimes. Reps commented that the staff who did cross the picket line to go in for work would have been putting themselves at risk with regards to first aiders, fire wardens and other health and safety issues.
The offer of a meeting with senior management came early in the week and was well-received. Reps believe that it is the first such meeting offered at this level to any threatened site and that it is certainly as a direct result of the action they have taken so far.
On Thursday reps attended a number of branch meetings where they focussed on how to widen the campaign across Sheffield to gain more support and publicity. The branch believes that they have a lot of support across the community and intends to get other branches to help with the city-wide campaign.
A number of Eastern Avenue members leafletted other Sheffield sites on Friday (22 September) as part of the building of the campaign and leafletters were met with many comments of support.
Members are back in work at the jobcentre this week and awaiting a date for the promised meeting with management.
PCS national officer Steve Cawkwell said: “It takes a special kind of resolve from a determined and resolute bunch of members to be able to deal with the in and out nature of this campaign. These members should be commended for their strength of purpose and also the way in which they are supporting each other and keeping morale so high on the picket lines each day.”