Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Strike Action by Job Centre Staff in Merseyside and Cheshire

Job centre staff in Merseyside and Halton are going on strike for the rest of the week over proposed changes to the service. Workers from the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) are staging the three-day strike from 6 to 8 June.

The PCS is protesting over plans to make some staff work from call centres instead of meeting the public. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said no jobs would be lost as a result of the planned reorganisation. It added that benefits payments would not be affected by the strike.

The union said up to 1,500 workers were taking part in the action and a rally by unions was scheduled to be held in Liverpool city centre on Thursday. Members had previously staged two three-hour walkouts in March.

PCS North West regional secretary, Peter Middleman, said: "Senior Department for Work and Pensions managers are mistaken if they reckoned on us going away quietly while they force staff into call centres miles from home and dismantle vital community-based services to unemployed workers.

"It's time they took their heads out of the sand and put some effort into reaching an agreement with us which will be vital in mitigating the effects of record levels of unemployment".

A DWP spokesperson said: "We're reorganising the work undertaken by Jobcentre Plus staff in Merseyside.

"No jobs will be lost as a result of this, but staff may be responsible for overseeing a different area of our work. We are disappointed that PCS has decided to take industrial action.

"DWP is prepared for any strike action. We have successfully managed several recent periods of industrial action with minimal disruption. Ninety-eight per cent of benefit claimants receive automated payments, including job seekers - these will not be affected by the strike."

Reblogged via: BBC

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