Supporting DWP staff on strike

Earlier this morning, I joined striking Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) workers on the picket line outside Shettleston Jobcentre to show my support for their industrial action.

The strike, organised by PCS Union, is targeted action impacting all of the job centres across Glasgow. Workers are striking for better pay and conditions, over the terms of their pensions, and in protest at the impact that harsh new UK Government policies are having on their roles.

The DWP is piloting a scheme in Glasgow which forces Universal Credit claimants to attend job centres ten times in a fortnight. PCS Union members are raising serious concerns that this could increase the risk of poverty, make it more difficult for people to claim benefits, and create unmanageable workloads for staff.

The trade union has also condemned the Department's plans to introduce incentives for staff and the introduction of league tables.

At Westminster, Tory ministers often talk about getting people into better-paid work, and have recently introduced secondary legislation which forces some people who are already in work to have to search for additional employment.

In reality, their own staff working in job centres are not being paid enough and are struggling to make ends meet. A recent survey of over 35,000 PCS members working for the DWP found that 20% of respondents were in receipt of benefits to top up their wages.

The UK Government cannot simply continue to ignore the genuine concerns of their own staff. PCS members continue to have my full support.