Civil servants at 13 jobcentres will strike for five days in May in the latest stage of the PCS union’s ongoing action on pay, pensions, job security and redundancy terms.
Department for Work and Pensions staff at the Liverpool and Glasgow sites will walk out from 2 May to 6 May – the day of King Charles’s coronation. Jobcentres are scheduled to open as usual on the Saturday coronation day.
The strikes follow walkouts from DWP officials in Liverpool, Doncaster, Stockport and Bolton in the months since PCS launched its national campaign last December. Jobcentre staff also took part in two civil service-wide strike days in February and March.
Strikes will take place at: Barrhead Jobcentre Plus; Castlemilk Jobcentre Plus; Drumchapel Jobcentre Plus; Glasgow City Central Jobcentre; Govan Jobcentre Plus; Laurieston Jobcentre Plus; Newlands Jobcentre Plus; Partick Jobcentre Plus; Shettleston Jobcentre Plus; Springburn Jobcentre Plus; Toxteth Jobcentre; Liverpool Duke Street Jobcentre; and Liverpool City Jobcentre.
The locations have been chosen to align with other PCS priorities as well as its push for better pay and conditions.
The Glasgow sites are set to take part in a pilot scheme DWP is planning in central Scotland and parts of England that will require Universal Credit claimants to attend 10 jobcentre meetings in a fortnight.
The so-called Additional Jobcentre Support pilot will require certain people receiving Universal Credit to attend more face-to-face meetings. At 60 jobcentres, claimants will be subject to the “enhanced daily support”.
PCS has also objected to a reward scheme for DWP staff being trialled through the same pilot. At 60 sites – including 30 of those where enhanced daily support is being tested – staff will receive vouchers for exceeding targets.
The union has said the reward scheme, which will include a league table for the centres involved, could increase the risk of poverty and make it more difficult for people to claim benefits.
The action in Liverpool includes Toxteth Jobcentre, which is set to close in the coming weeks. PCS has vehemently opposed the closure.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This targeted action in Glasgow and Liverpool will severely disrupt the DWP’s ill-thought-out plans.
“Ministers might have hoped our members’ anger had dissipated as our dispute has gone on, but it hasn’t, and it won’t until ministers make a meaningful offer.”