PCS protests at changes to working conditions

Tagged as: commercial local_communities public repression services union work
Neighbourhoods: nottingham

Friday 30th November 2012

At 12.15 I met with staff from the Station Street Job Centre JCP who gathered to protest at the government attacks on thier working conditions.

















It was part of a nationwide co-ordinated series of events included 15-minute protests to take Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude at his word, after he suggested last year union members could walk out for a quarter of an hour to "get their point across without losing pay".

So, organisers said this is exactly what they did! Of course, it remains to be seen if this sort of action is anywhere near enough to achieve thier objectives.  Personally, I think not!

A little latter, union members attended a rally at the Navigation Inn with assorted speakers in Lilian Greenwood MP.

In a statement, the PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "We have been fighting cuts to jobs, pay and pensions as ministers seek to make us pay for a crisis caused by bankers and politicians. Now our members are having to defend everything they rely on to manage their working lives.

"As well as the cuts across our transport services, it is impossible to separate the plans to cut some very basic working conditions in the civil service from the Tory-led government's wider political project to drive down pay, conditions and employment rights across the economy, and we are determined to oppose it."


PCS Day of protest against government plans to rip up rights



Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)




Photographer - Media: One Eye on the Road. Nottingham.  UK

Email:                 tash@indymedia.org

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Member of the National Union of Journalists [NUJ]


"It is not enough to curse the darkness.

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Email Contact email: tash@indymedia.org



Are these Jobcentre staff the same ones who refer people to the "Work Programme", and therefore possibly to workfare?
If not, they have my full support.

hope this helps


Since it went live on 19th November, Universal Jobmatch has encountered various problems, such as the advertising of bogus vacancies, and is attracting wider public interest.

Following our initial discussions with DWP, the background to the new service was given in DWP/BB/153/12. In response to critical press coverage and enquiries from campaign organisations members and branches PCS pressured DWP for clearer information about the current difficulties with Universal Jobmatch. Additionally, PCS is receiving reports and queries from members concerned that some local managers appear to be putting pressure on advisors to misrepresent the mandatory nature of signing up to the new service.
Non Mandatory

At the recent meeting, DWP management confirmed that the use of Universal Jobmatch is non-mandatory. On the security issues, management acknowledged that there had been ‘teething issues’ but that these were being resolved. PCS has put pressure on management to ensure a human rather than an automated IT check for the placing of vacancies by employers, to avoid the embarrassment of the bogus MI6 vacancy being repeated.
PCS believes that it is essential for the future of the new service that jobseekers can have full confidence in the security of the system and trust and respect their employment adviser. It is therefore extremely damaging that some managers are putting pressure on jobcentre staff to tell jobseekers that they must register or
grant their adviser access to their Universal Jobmatch account. This is clearly not currently the position and to suggest that it is would amount to official misdirection. PCS is now seeking to establish exactly what the legal position is and in the meantime strongly advises members not to put themselves in the position of misinforming the public about Universal Jobmatch.
Performance Management

There is likely to be management pressure to hit the target of 80% of jobseekers using the system by August 2013. However, it is clearly inappropriate for individual targets to be applied to Universal Jobmatch account registration, and any reports of excessive pressure on advisors to hit this target should be raised locally with PCS in the first instance. PCS has also had some reports that in some areas it has been suggested that the rate of jobseeker registrations or even the possible number of jobseeker directions associated with Universal Jobmatch account registration may be used to assess performance or lead to some form of monitoring or even to a PIP. PCS advice is that it is impossible to see how this would be appropriate and that in all cases where it may arise members should talk to their workplace rep.

Work Programme and Workfare?

Glad to see the PCS giving direction regarding Universal Jobsearch.
Still wondering about referrals to the Work Programme and Workfare.

Unachievable benchmarks

Department for Work and Pensions group

Revised DMA 'expectations' - Unachievable benchmarks

7 December 2012
Members working in DMA will have recently been informed of revised "expectations" for Decision Makers in a Gatekeeper issued on the 4 December to DM Managers.

This Gatekeeper introduces changes to benchmarks to be implemented from 7 December with the expectation that staff will achieve the required benchmarks by February 2013. PCS are shocked by this cavalier approach by management. There was no consultation with PCS in advance of this provocative gate-keeper being issued.
Members’ anger
Members are rightly angry at being told they must hit these benchmarks. Many have contacted PCS complaining about them, saying that they are not achievable and if they did try and achieve them then customer service would suffer and appeals would rise even further.
PCS is demanding an urgent explanation from management and will seek to get these benchmarks amended. The failure to consult on such a sensitive issue is unacceptable. Management have previously shared their concerns about the very high volumes of DMA work and the fact that they see Decision Making and appeals as a priority area. But these benchmarks are not the solution.
Some additional resources are being deployed into DMA work. For example in early November it was announced that over 60 staff would transfer into Benefit Directorate from Lowestoft contact centre to support ESA decision making in advance of their roles on regulated social fund ending in March 2013. Management are also exploring using AOs to cover straightforward cases to free up capacity to concentrate on the outstanding workloads, though this brings with it the risk of inappropriate down-grading of EO work.
Benchmarks are not a target
Benchmarks were first introduced in 2009 into BFD and details of an early review were issued to members in February 2011. Since then Benchmarks have been an issue of concern to PCS members. Despite the assurances from management at the centre there have been a variety of approaches in implementing and interpreting them at a more local level. Benchmarks should be seen as an expectation and adjusted downwards to take into account a variety of factors including:- if an officer is responsible for clearing more complex work, Working patterns, Experience, Capability, Health (including, but not exclusively, reasonable adjustments required by law) and Personal circumstances. They should not be used as a rod to beat staff or as a short cut to performance improvement action.
Members should seek advice from their local representative if unable to resolve issues with their line managers. In the meantime PCS are pressing management for a realistic approach to productivity to deal with the urgent need to deal with DMA work. It is clear to PCS that using benchmarks as an attempt to increase productivity is masking the very real staffing shortages within DWP. The answer is more staffing not higher benchmarks.
Further updates as consultation progresses will be issued to members.
Active Operations Management
PCS wrote to management earlier in the year for a progress update on AOM following on from the issue of DWP/BB/159/11. Management have indicated that following full implementation they wish for the process to fully bed in before further discussion with PCS. It would be helpful if representatives could provide recent feedback to:
172 Revised DMA 'expectations' - unachievable benchmarks

Dodging the question

I assume from the amount of dodging the question here that these PCS members ARE responsible for putting people on workfare.

Solidarity my arse.

Oh Dear

It's still all about you, isn't it?
The only positive here is that your refusal to give a straight answer might just mean that you know you are guilty of crapping on those less fortunate than yourselves.
Next time you feel like whining about your "special leave" spare a thought for those you condemn to sanctions, poverty, hunger and homelessness.

PCS bullyboys

Oh, PCS, you're not very good at that solidarity thing, are you?
Hope you get what you deserve from your bosses.