Nearly 80% of members don’t feel safe going into work, following the full reopening of job centres last week.
The shocking stats obtained from a survey of over 1,000 members in DWP, found that 58% felt 'unsafe' going into work while another 21% said they were 'unsure.'
Only 21% of staff could say for certain that they 'felt safe' dealing with dozens of face-to-face claimant appointments in job centres up and down the country.
PCS is clear that the vast bulk of the in-person interviews, carried out on Universal Credit and other benefits, can and should be done remotely.
However, the union strongly suspects DWP is pursuing a policy of full re-opening in order to make it easier for JSA claimants to be sanctioned.
DWP ordered jobcentres to be fully reopened last Monday despite opposition from PCS.
Reacting to the survey, general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “These results reflect the anger and frustration our members feel every day.
“Thousands of DWP staff have been providing support to claimants safely from home throughout the pandemic.
“The only logical reason they would insist on fully reopening is because management’s obsession with sanctioning vulnerable claimants.
“These stats show how staff feel and should send a strong signal to ministers that they need to urgently meet with the union to avoid potential industrial action.”
The survey details are as follows:
As of 13 April we have had 1,299 responses to our survey of Jobcentre PCS members with the following results:
- 759 said they ‘felt unsafe’ (58%)
- 266 said they felt ‘unsure’ (21%)
- Only 274 said they ‘feel safe’ (21%)