JOBCENTRES, benefits offices, the Pension Service and Child Support Agency (CSA) will be hit today as up to 80,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) take strike action.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) faces a two-day strike against the imposition of a below-inflation pay offer.
The PCS said yesterday: ‘The two-day stoppage adds more pressure on a government surrounded by controversy and comes as the DWP impose a pay offer which sees approximately 40 per cent of staff set to receive nought per cent pay increase next year.’
It is anticipated that the two-day strike followed by an overtime ban will cause significant disruption leading to some offices being closed and those remaining open offering little or no service to the public.
The union added: ‘Staff are angry over the imposition of the three-year pay offer, which sees cost of living increases for longer serving staff members of two per cent this year, nought per cent next year and one per cent in the final year.
‘The pay offer averages just one per cent a year over the three years and sees the lowest paid receiving increases which take their wage to only 24 pence above the minimum wage.
‘DWP management had enough money to guarantee every member of staff an increase in line with inflation this year, instead they chose to squander £39 million on bonuses.’
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘This is a dispute the government and the department could have avoided.
‘But instead they have provoked staff into strike action by imposing poverty pay on a workforce that has already experienced massive job cuts.
‘It is completely unacceptable that some of the lowest paid in the civil service are receiving increases that take their pay to just 24 pence above the minimum wage and that staff who have stuck with the DWP through thick and thin are expected to receive nothing next year.
‘Staff will not sit back and be allowed to be used by the government as an anti-inflationary tool, especially when there is no evidence to suggest that their pay fuels inflation.
‘The government and the department need to understand the impact that imposing a real terms pay cut has on the morale of staff.
‘The staff at the forefront of delivering the lowest unemployment in a generation deserve better and its time the department and the government recognised this by paying them fairly.’