Updated: Universal Credit staff to strike

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. PCS members are demanding 5,000 new staff, permanent contracts, controls over work volume, and better management practices.

The PCS states that Universal Credit has been a disaster for claimants and for its members working in the service.  They want to see a properly funded humane system that helps those in need, not one that that punishes and sanctions people for falling on hard times.

Since 2010 the DWP has lost 30,000 staff because of government job cuts.  Many experienced staff have left and have been replaced by staff on fixed contracts given only a few weeks of training.  Jobcentres have been closed. Remaining staff feel ill-equipped to deal with the victims of domestic violence, people with mental health problems, and those with disabilities who are being forced on to the Universal Credit programme.

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