Jobcentre call centre staff strike over ‘unachievable’ targets

News'DWP contact workers picket tgeir offices in Hartshead square after propsed job changes
News'DWP contact workers picket tgeir offices in Hartshead square after propsed job changes
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JOBCENTRE Plus call centre workers in Sheffield are today on the second day of their 48-hour strike over working conditions and claims of “unachievable” targets.

An estimated 350 members of the Public and Commercial Services union walked out of the Jobcentre call centre at Hartshead Square yesterday.

Union representatives said staff had been forced into working under unacceptable conditions since the contact centre was expanded last May.

PCS branch organiser Linda Woollen said morale had been “on the floor” since hundreds of former benefits processing workers at the centre were transferred to call work.

Since then staff have lost their right to flexible working and been excessively monitored, she added. “We have to take X number of calls a day and in most cases the targets are simply not achievable.”

The Sheffield centre is one of seven involved in the strike, with 3,500 workers walking out nationwide.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “We are disappointed that some staff – only 21 per cent across the centres – have voted to take industrial action.

“The contact centre staff at DWP will continue to receive good terms of employment, including generous holidays.”