Almost 1500 members of staff that work on the controversial Universal Credit project are set to strike for two over “increasingly oppressive” working conditions.
The scheme, which will see six benefits combined into one, has been “dogged” by delays and staff employees have claims that money has been “squandered” on IT.
IT plays a major role in the dissatisfaction of those working on the government’s flagship social security scheme.
Research conducted earlier this year based on the views of those working on the scheme this year deemed the project an “unmitigated failure” because of the technology underpinning it.
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) says it has consistently raised complaints about a lack of resources, an oppressive management culture, inadequate training, hard to reach targets and staff shortages on behalf of workers.
PCS says that instead of addressing these concerns, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has imposed new harsher conditions including a massive scaling back of flexible working.
“These harsher working conditions must be withdrawn. They simply heap more pressure on staff who have battled against poor IT, inadequate training and a lack of resources,” claimed PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka.
By striking on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st July, staff at Universal Credit centres in Bolton and Glasgow are hoping to achieve improved IT and training to enable them to have the tools to do their job.
Employees are also aiming to relax the new harsher working conditions, with full access to flexi times and existing working patterns honoured.
The strike is not the only recent bad news to hit Universal Credit as the project was recently amber/red in this year’s report from the Major Projects Authority (MPA).