HUNDREDS of Universal Credit workers are set to go on strike next month in protest at the Government.
More than 200 workers at call centres in Wolverhampton and Walsall will walk next month over staff shortages and heavy workloads.
Getty – Contributor Universal Credit replaces six legacy benefits and rolls them into one payment
90 per cent of workers who voted in a ballot backed the strike action, the PCS union announced.
A two day walk-out is now on the cards for March 11 and 12.
They say they are under pressure with too many phone calls coming their way, and not enough staff to cope.
They want to hire 5,000 extra staff to help with the new benefits system, limit the number of calls per person, and for management to limit the size of their hub.
The PCS union says it would be the first walkout since the new welfare reform has been fully rolled out.
It says: “Universal Credit has been a disaster for claimants and our members who work in the service want to see a properly funded, humane system which helps those in need, not one that punishes and sanctions people for falling on hard times.”
PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said of the strike news: “The message from our members is clear – changes need to be made otherwise they will walkout for two consecutive days.
“The union has tried to negotiate for months but to no avail.
“Ministers have stuck their heads in the sand and our members are now sending them a very loud wakeup call.
“PCS members have not taken the decision to strike lightly.
“But the fact is industrial relations have broken down because ministers seem intent on running this service into the ground while treating staff with utter contempt.”
Getty Images – Getty Some Universal Credit staff are set to go on strike next month
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Department for Work and Pensions officials insisted they would get in extra staff to make sure it won’t affect Universal Credit claimants.
A spokesperson said of the news: “This result is disappointing, we greatly value the work that our colleagues do and our top priority remains assessing and making payments to customers. We are comfortable with current staffing levels and will monitor and reallocate resource where necessary.
“Contingencies are underway to ensure the smooth running of our services to minimise any impact. We urge PCS to seek to resolve this through further dialogue.”
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