and benefit staff today voted to accept an agreement that guarantees their
safety in open-plan Jobcentre Plus offices and resolves the largest dispute in
the Civil Service for more than 15 years.
65,000 staff, members of the Public and Commercial Services Union are backing
the deal which, among other safeguards, ensures high-risk transactions will
continue to be delivered in a screened environment and contains a commitment to
undertake a ‘without prejudice’ review of safety before new offices are built.
Serwotka, general secretary elect, said: "PCS members are satisfied that
their genuine safety fears have now been taken seriously but it is regrettable
that it has taken 300,000 strike days to achieve these safeguards. If Jobcentre
Plus management had agreed to constructive negotiations from the outset we
could have resolved this dispute months ago.
will be fully involved in the impending safety review to ensure that staff are
protected from violent assaults. We now have much work to do to make the merger
of the Benefits Agency and Employment Service as smooth as possible and deal
effectively with any staff concerns."