Jobcentre staff in 48 hour strike

STAFF at a Sheffield Jobcentre Plus call centre are to stage a 48 hour strike this week in a row over working conditions and claims of "excessive monitoring".

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union in seven towns and cities will take industrial action on Thursday and Friday.

The union said staff have complained of "intolerable" conditions, including excessive monitoring and inflexible working conditions.

Around 3,500 workers are due to take action. Also affected will be Glasgow, Newport in South Wales, Norwich, Makerfield near Wigan and Manchester.

The union said it wanted staff to have the same flexi-time arrangements as in the rest of the Department for Work and Pensions, more varied, satisfying work and an end to a target driven culture, particularly by changing the way "unrealistic average call times" are used.

Officials claimed "oppressive" working conditions in Jobcentre Plus call centres were causing high levels of stress and sickness, and staff were leaving at an "alarming" rate.

PCS official Martin John said: "Our members want to give genuine customer service but call handling targets mean callers are not having their inquiries dealt with.

"This is about respect. We will continue to push for decent working conditions and a properly resourced public service."

Sheffield Jobcentres are not affected by the strike.

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