Civil servants to strike over staff cuts

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working in Jobcentres, benefit offices, pension centres and the Child Support Agency have voted to strike in a dispute over service levels and job cuts.

Staff endorsed the unionÕs call for a two-day nationwide strike followed by other action across England, Scotland and Wales.

The axe has so far fallen on about 15,000 posts in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as it seeks to cut 30,000 jobs as part of the government’s Gershon review efficiency drive.

The PCS said the resultant pressure on staff has reached unacceptable levels and the deteriorating service has led to a significant increase in problems in local offices.

The union is calling for the DWP to halt the job cuts programme and to objectively assess staffing levels based on operational need. The union is also seeking a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

If no agreement is reached the union will announce its planned strike dates on 11 January.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “The department and the government need to halt the job cuts programme and engage with the union in objectively assessing staffing needs and the impact of staffing levels on services.

“But if no agreement can be reached we will have no other option but to strike in defence of key public services.”

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