Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

13 April, 2021 Open access

PCS expresses fear that DWP’s decision to resume face-to face appointments is more about reinstating conditionality regime than providing support to claimants

'Reckless move by Ministers is wholly unnecessary and risks putting both claimants and jobcentre staff in harm's way', says Union's General Secretary

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union has said that it fears that the DWP's decision to resume face-to face appointments from 12 April 2021 is more about reinstating the conditionality regime than providing support to claimants.

Highlighting that DWP staff have been delivering services to claimants successfully while working from home, the PCS warns that the resumption of face-to face appointments unnecessarily risks further outbreaks of Covid-19, and says that it fears that -

'... the real driver for targeting 18-24 year old universal credit claimants and customers in receipt of jobseeker's allowance back in to jobcentres, is less about providing much needed support to customers and more about reinstating the previous labour market and conditionality regime which saw thousands sanctioned, having their benefits removed.'

The PCS also says that DWP management has ignored its concerns over potential Covid-19 outbreaks, and that its members will now consider all options, including taking strike action. 

Commenting on the resumption of face-to-face appointments, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said -

'This reckless move by Ministers is wholly unnecessary and risks putting both claimants and jobcentre staff in harm's way.  

DWP staff have been doing an incredible job delivering key services such as universal credit and helping those most in need access the assistance they require throughout the pandemic. 

It is counterproductive and arrogant for ministers to risk staff and the wider public’s health by resuming normal jobcentre opening hours before the vaccine is fully rolled out and when these services are being successfully delivered from home.  

The anger of our members is palpable and we are not ruling out strike action, until a just settlement is found.' 

For more information, see Strike action not ruled out as DWP reopens jobcentres, PCS warns from pcs.org.uk