PCS

Sick pay for outsourced workers (John Moloney's column)

PCS's “Dying for Sick Pay” campaign, demanding full sickness and isolation pay for all workers, is continuing. We’ve been applying political pressure, and have written to the government demanding that the right of all workers, regardless of contractual status, to full sick pay is written into agreements across the civil service on a permanent basis. MPs who work with the union have also raised this issue in Parliament. Crucially we’re also contacting every outsourced worker member to discuss the campaign with them and encourage them to get active in the union. Our reps working in Department...

John Moloney's column: Strike ballot in DWP

Around 800 workers in Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) job centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Merseyside, Sunderland, and Washington will be balloted for action over health and safety concerns. We’re also empowering members to take immediate action to refuse unsafe work using Section 44 of the 1996 Employment Rights Act, issuing members with pro forma letters they can use with their bosses. The ballot will likely begin on or around Tuesday 27 October, which will set up the possibility of industrial action in early November. Union pressure and the threat of a national ballot already secured...

Winning more in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Negotiations with bosses in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), over plans to extend job centre opening hours and increase the number of in-person interviews with claimants, are ongoing. The union position is clear; we believe these proposals will put both workers and claimants at risk. Further concessions have now been offered, including devolving some of the decision-making down to individual workers. This means DWP job coaches could make a decision about whether they need to see a claimant in person, or if they could speak to them remotely. That is a meaningful concession, although...

Concessions won in DWP (John Moloney's column)

Bosses in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have offered a number of concessions in our ongoing dispute about Job Centre opening hours and arrangements. The union’s Group Executive Committee for the DWP meets on Monday 5 October to consider these concessions and decide the next steps. If the GEC decides the offer isn’t adequate, the dispute will continue and likely move to a formal ballot for industrial action. We need a comprehensive settlement that covers the whole department, on an indefinite basis. There’s been some suggestion that decisions around opening times and arrangements...

Southbank workers fight 70% cuts

Southbank Centre [in London] is cutting its staff headcount by 70%, but this will only reduce the payroll by an estimated 38%. The lowest-paid staff with minimum hours contracts in the Visitor Experience and Ticketing teams are to be cut entirely, as there is no prospect of the Royal Festival Hall fully reopening to the public until April 2021. The Exhibition Hosts at the Hayward Gallery, who’ve spent the past month reopening the gallery in a new Covid-secure way, have also been told that they will be made redundant when the current exhibition closes on 31 October. In 2018-19, the Chief...

Scrap "conditionality"! (John Moloney's column)

The Group Executive Committee for our members in the Department for Work and Pensions met on Tuesday 22 September to discuss the results of a recent indicative ballot of Job Centre workers, which returned a big majority for industrial action against extended opening hours and other unsafe working conditions. Although a final decision has yet to be made, there are now active discussions about moving to a formal, statutory, ballot for action. The general picture, in terms of civil service bosses’ “back-to-the-office” push, has changed since new restrictions were brought in and the Prime Minister...

Statutory ballot in DWP? (John Moloney's column)

The consultative ballot of our members in Job Centres returned an overwhelming majority in favour of industrial action over safety concerns. The union's Group Executive Committee for the Department for Work and Pensions meets on Tuesday 22 September and will discuss whether to proceed to a formal, statutory ballot, which they're very likely to do. Anyone who was wavering on whether action is necessary is likely to have been galvanised by events in recent days. Management is increasing the number of claimants required to attend physical meetings at Job Centres, which is a huge risk given...

Virus: indict the Tories!

Of people who test positive for the virus and should self-isolate, only 20% or fewer are doing so fully. That’s an official estimate. No one knows what percentage of people who are identified as contacts of the infected — and may be infectious themselves, without having symptoms — are self-isolating. Most people asked to self-isolate get no or minimal isolation pay, so isolated properly is economically difficult or impossible. Of those who do self-isolate, many can do so only in overcrowded housing. However careful they are, they’re likely to infect others there. In New Zealand, the government...

The 80% gesture (John Moloney's column)

The government has announced a target of 80% of civil service workers to back in the office from the end of September. They want to use the civil service as a beacon for their wider “back-to-work” drive. It’s a crude political gesture, effectively a form of virtue signalling. Currently, 74% of civil service workers are still working from home, so to go from that to 80% being back in the workplace would be a huge leap. In reality the target is not serious; the government plans to count people who come into the office for just one day a week as part of the 80%. The safety measures the employer...

Action on jobs and re-opening (John Moloney's column)

Strikes to resist job cuts by our members at Tate galleries are continuing. I attended picket lines on 28 and 29 August. Tate bosses have now identified the workers whose jobs they intend to cut, cruelly doing so by sending out emails late at night on Friday 28th. Meanwhile, Tate is advertising for new jobs and is still recruiting staff! We’re therefore demanding that the workers facing redundancy be reallocated to the positions for which Tate is now recruiting. We’ll begin a ballot of our members at London’s Southbank Centre, also over job cuts, on 1 September. Bosses there have extended the...

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