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Strong Campaign Secures Improvements In Call Centres

A strong campaign by PCS members in Department for Work and Pensions call centres has won improvements in working conditions to settle a long-running dispute.

In a ballot of more than 6,000 members across the contact centres, there was a three to one vote to accept a deal that addresses our key complaints and includes a commitment from senior management to escalate issues if they resurface in any workplace.

The workers, who advise jobseekers on a wide range of issues regarding benefits and employment, had taken strike action against draconian policies that meant they had almost no flexibility or freedom and that the time of their calls was unrealistically monitored.

The new agreement states that DWP and PCS "want to do the best that they can for staff while providing quality services to our claimants, who are often the most vulnerable in society".

It adds: "This means providing interesting work, flexibility, rewards, a safe supportive environment and development of skills and capabilities."

The union is advising its members to ensure any breaches of the agreement are challenged escalated.

On behalf of the DWP's group executive committee, PCS industrial officer Charles Law and DWP group president Fran Heathcote said:

"While there remains a lot of work to be done to ensure that the agreement is made to stick we are confident we will make this happen.

We would like to thank all members and reps for their hard work and support throughout this long dispute. There is no doubt that it is only through the determination of members to fight for better working conditions that we were able to reach this agreement."

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said:

"I'm pleased we were able to shift the DWP from their starting point, and this result again goes to show that when we stand together and fight we can win."

Source: PCS

Advice on call centre environments can be found in the E-Library Database here

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