The Department for Work and Pensions has insisted that the three-year pay award it has offered staff is a “good deal” – despite thousands walking out in protest today.
Up to 80,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) at the department began a two-day strike this morning in protest at the pay award.
Angry workers claim the three-year deal equates to a 0% rise this year and will leave many just 24 pence above the minimum wage.
The PCS said that the strike would cause “significant disruption” to Jobcentres, benefits offices, the Pension Service and the Child Support Agency.
But a spokesman for the DWP said: “The department will do everything necessary to minimise disruption to its customers, and is confident that its services and payments will be maintained.
“The three-year pay award provides a good deal. For those employees lower down the pay scales, during the next three years, the minimum pay increase they will see is 3% a year.”
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka insisted that the DWP had enough money to guarantee every staff member an inflation-matching increase this year.
“Instead they are choosing to squander more than £80m on bonuses and reward people with a 0% pay rise,” he said.
Today’s strike follows a 48-hour walkout in early December over the same issue.