DWP 'faces disruption' as jobcentre security-staff strikes loom

Union says members working on G4S contract need an uplift on National Living Wage
Lisson Grove Jobcentre Plus, in central London Photo: Google Maps

By Jim Dunton

25 Apr 2024

The civil service's biggest union has warned that strikes by jobcentre security guards have the potential to be "very disruptive" for the Department for Work and Pensions, potentially forcing many of its 700 offices to close.

PCS members who work on the DWP security contract with G4S Solutions are being balloted for strike action over pay from 1 May, with 200 staff being asked for their views on industrial action.

Around 1,000 members of the GMB union who work for G4S on the DWP contract have already voted to strike over pay next month, with four two-day walkouts scheduled.

PCS said it is seeking a pay rise for all its G4S members on the DWP contract, as well as the reinstatement of a pay differential between grades. It said the staff are currently being paid the National Living Wage – which is £11.44 for workers aged 21 and over – and are still waiting for a pay offer from 2022 to be implemented.

The union said supervisors on the DWP contract are paid just 1p an hour more than the security guards they oversee.

PCS general secretary Fran Heathcote said jobcentre security staff support the delivery of vital services to often very vulnerable benefits claimants.

"Our members work on the front line, playing a critical role in keeping their civil servant colleagues safe," she said.

"They put their bodies on the line every day and it's only fair they're fairly rewarded for their work with a decent pay rise."

A G4S spokesperson said: "We are continuing to engage with our employees and their union representatives and will continue to try to reach an amicable agreement without the need for industrial action.

"In the event of industrial action, we have contingency plans in place in order to minimise disruption to our customer."

DWP told CSW that payment of benefits and state pensions will not be affected by the proposed strike action but it acknowledged that some jobcentres may have to close.

The department said jobcentres will remain open where it is safe to do so but that customers will be contacted in any instances where a jobcentre has to close.

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