Enthusiastic support for call centres strike
call centre workers supported the strike by PCS (civil service union)
in the Department of Work and Pensions today over inhuman working
conditions and a bad service to benefit claimants. The five call
centres in Wales at Bangor, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Newport and Pembroke
Dock were all heavily affected by a massive stay away by PCS members.
the picket line was bathed in sunshine as workers turned back from the
picket line and refused to go into work. A group of managers
completely failed to intimidate members into breaking the strike and
were heavily outnumbered by pickets and by great support from the rest
of the trade union movement. There was a number of discussions about
how to bring about co-ordinated action on June 30th when
action over pensions is possible.
Dock a breakfast barbecue replaced the traditional pickets’ brazier as
PCS members were supported by trade unionists and supporters from
Swansea, Llanelli and Milford Haven.
there were over 20 pickets as members enthusiastically opposed what
the DWP is trying to do to the service to claimants.
scoffed at the DWP statement that “we have to ensure that our service
is available when our customers, who include some of the most
vulnerable people in the country, need us”.
Williams DWP Group Vice President replied "The problem is that
management obsessed with targets. We should be able to use our
judgment about how long a call takes.
"We want to
spend the right amount of time with the person on the phone. It's very
difficult doing that - and we can potentially be disciplined if we
spend too long on the phone with somebody.
people would be pleased if we could actually answer and deal with the
query on the phone the first time they ring up.
very complicated benefits system and navigating that is very difficult
and what somebody doesn't want to have happen to them is be fobbed off
on the phone and be rung back some number of hours later by another
member of staff that's also very hard pressed.
are absolutely adamant that the call-handling time targets and the
number of calls we take is more important than how we deal with people
on the phone."