Large and lively picket lines have marked the start of a 2-day strike by PCS members at Walsall and Wolverhampton Universal Credit service centres taking action today (May 28) and tomorrow in their fight for more staff and better working conditions.
Today's strike has been very well supported by members and the local community, other trade unions and the local trades council, as well as PCS national president Fran Heathcote who was at the Wolverhampton picket line. Local BBC news visited the picket line at Walsall.
The strikes follow two previous days of strike action in March. Since then DWP has refused to meet the demands of the members, forcing members into taking further strike action today. The strike action will have a serious impact on other DWP Universal Credit sites and DWP should now come to the negotiating table prepared to seriously address the concerns of the members.
PCS has five key demands:
- 5,000 new staff, permanency for fixed term staff
- Limit the number of phone calls per case manager
- Limit the size of the national telephony hub
- Improve consultation
- A quality-focused approach – no more management by statistics.
PCS is currently consulting members in other Universal Credit sites, that could lead to the strikes spreading to other offices.
Pete Hamer, a PCS rep at Walsall said: “The strike action today has again been very well-supported by members and similar levels of support are expected tomorrow. DWP should take notice and start to deal with the members’ issues.”