Nearly 3,000 civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions across seven sites struck on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 January.
Some of the offices in Bristol, the Chorlton district of Manchester, Glasgow, Makerfield near Wigan, Newport in south Wales, Norwich, and Sheffield, have already been set up as call centres. Others are due to transform to call centres in the near future.
The workers are demanding that they are given a mixture of duties, rather than just answering telephone calls. This work is very stressful. This, coupled with the harsh management regime, means that “Contact Centre Directorate” as management call it has the highest level of sickness in DWP.
Workers are “scheduled” which means they have to come and go and take their breaks at specific times, unlike the rest of the workers in DWP who have more flexibility.
The strikers will now embark on a campaign of work to rule and an overtime ban. The DWP Group Executive of PCS will now ballot all members working in Contact Centre Directorate. Many of these workers are in call centres that have been established for years.