Union slams ‘casualisation’ of DWP staffing

Recruitment drive for job centre staff on temporary contracts slammed by PCS in the wake of departures of permanent staff

By Colin Marrs

24 Aug 2015

Trade union PCS has criticised the Department for Work and Pensions for advertising 2,800 short-term posts less than two months after almost 3,700 full-time staff took voluntary redundancy.

At the end of June, the department shed 3,671 staff, mostly working in administration roles within job centres.

And now the department is advertising for 2,289 staff on 18 month contracts at similar grades.

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PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It is incredible that less than two months after cutting thousands of low-paid staff, the DWP is advertising for close to the same amount.

"The DWP should ensure the proper resources are in place to return the department to one where sick, disabled and unemployed people are given the support they need and deserve."

He said the fact that the new jobs were temporary, fixed-term posts was evidence of further casualisation of the workforce, which PCS opposes. 

“We want to see people employed on permanent contracts,” he said.

Of the 3,671 jobcentre staff made redundant in June, 65% were admin officer grade and 23% were executive officers, according to a breakdown released by PCS.

Of the new 2,289 fixed-term jobs now being advertised, 60% are admin officers, with the rest executive officers, the PCS said.

A spokeswoman for the department said that not a single one of the permanent staff who left recently were made compulsorily redundant.

“We are undertaking some big welfare reforms and we’re recruiting fixed-term 18-month appointments to cover this period,” she said.

Benefits consultant Bill Irvine told CSW: “Most organisations would want to hold onto experienced staff especially those with a breadth of understanding of the system. The ministerial team seem to underestimate the importance of that.”

“If they think they can run welfare reform on the cheap by bringing people and giving them a few days training they are in for trouble.”

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