MEMBERS of Civil Servants’ union PCS entered into their second day of a 48-hour strike action against welfare cuts today, with 95 per cent of the staff walking out for yesterday’s action.
The dispute, brought about by Iain Duncan Smith and which involves nearly 1,500 workers employed by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), has arisen over the Tories’ controversial flagship universal credit.
PCS members at the Universal Credit Service Centres in Glasgow and Bolton have complained about inadequate training, staff shortages and difficult targets as well as an “oppressive management culture.”
Harsh conditions have been imposed on workers, which include restrictions on flexible working.
PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson said “The DWP’s handling of every aspect of universal credit has been disastrous for the public and for those who have to work on it.”
She further said that PCS “are delighted with the high level of support and solidarity shown to our members.
“PCS stands with recipients of universal credit against this conditionality and this shambolic government policy.”
The overhaul has been undermined by long delays, IT failures and confusion for both claimants as well as staff.
Fife People’s Assembly secretary Tam Kirby told the Star that the sanctioning regime will worsen under new universal credit rules.
“This is because a whole host of people receiving other types of benefit such as housing benefit will be brought under the same umbrella with universal credit and may therefore be sanctioned,” he said.
“Part-time workers and single parents may be forced to look for full-time work or face sanctions under the new proposals.”
Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said that “with payments being made once-monthly in arrears we fear this could lead to a rise in rent arrears and homelessness.”
PCS has announced that further action short of a strike will continue for four weeks, running until August 18.