There was another great turnout on the picket lines on the second day of the latest 2-day strike at Walsall and Wolverhampton Universal Credit service centres where members are fighting for more staff and better working conditions.
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 this week. 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.
The strikers were joined on the picket lines by PCS president Fran Heathcote and DWP group president Martin Cavanagh, as well reps and trades council members.
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members who work to support some of the most vulnerable members of society will not put up with DWP management ignoring their real concerns over staffing and under investment.
“This strike will be part of sustained campaign of action which could spread to other parts of Universal Credit, if the government doesn’t meet union negotiators to discuss workers’ concerns.
“Our members care passionately about the work they do and the people they support. However, they cannot stand idly by while ministers make the job of supporting claimants impossible.”
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.