20-08-2019 \\ England and Wales
PCS Activist and Supporter of Socialist Alternative
Despite only a two-week ballot, over the summer leave period, these members smashed the Tories anti-trade union laws, winning a 92% mandate for strike action on a 71% turnout.
After the disappointing result in the pay ballot earlier in the year, this is empowering news for PCS members. It shows that, despite the union leadership’s insistence that pay is the only battle in town, when workers are faced with escalating workloads, cuts to staffing and attacks on conditions they are more than willing to take action. PCS DWP members at Balham office have just finished a ballot over the proposed closure of their office, while in the Ministry of Justice, members overwhelmingly voted to reject a deal hich would see an attack on their terms and conditions.
With caseloads increasing as more people are moved onto Universal Credit, workers are demanding extra permanent staff to cope, as well as increased time to do essential casework. These are not only key demands for PCS members, but are also important for those claiming the benefit to get the support that they need.
We support the campaigns being organised across the country to scrap Universal Credit and replace it with a social security system that provides the support that people need, backed up by enough staff able to focus on providing this.
These aren’t just challenges facing workers in the DWP. In HMRC and the Ministry of Justice thousands of jobs are at risk as part of misnamed “reform” programmes that seek to close offices and centralise services.
Tackling these issues requires these disputes to spread out from individual workplaces to become part of a broad national campaign on jobs, pay and conditions. Supporters of Socialist Alternative in the PCS look forward to campaigning for this essential strategy within the union over the coming months.
Public and Commercial Service Union members working on Universal Credit at Stockport have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action at their workplace, following in the footsteps of industrial action taken earlier in the year at Wolverhampton and Walsall.