Radical Action – Why I think DWP agents hold the key to forcing change

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It is well know that Universal Credit is causing hardship, suffering even death. While the public are all too aware of this, employees of The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are living it everyday. That’s why I’m proposing radical action.

Jobcentre Plus Universal Credit SuffererI will admit that this may not be the most popular of ideas but ask that you hear me out.

Day in day out, thousands of staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) deal with some of the most vulnerable people in society. We’ve all seen the stories in the media about how people have suffered because of Universal Credit. Those staff members are literally part of those stories.

I was emailed by a reader who stated that although I like many others are highlighting the failure of the system this in itself will not bring change. They went on to say that I had not addressed one key demographic of the system; DWP staff.

At first I wasn’t sure about this but thinking on it more I came to the realisation that they were right. Who better to appeal to for help than the very people inside the system.

It is almost unanimous, unless you are a Tory that Universal Credit is not working. There are many different views on what should be done. They range from halting the roll-out until it’s fixed to outright scrapping the scheme.

If you hadn’t noticed the government don’t care how bad Universal Credit looks, they just plough on anyway. So this is why I think a few thousand people hold the key to kick-starting change.

Radical Action

As I said this may not be popular but in my opinion it could be extremely effective to force the Tories to act fast.

While it may be easy to group the staff at jobcentres and call centres as complicit, I don’t think that will help. What I propose is appealing to them for help.

In no way am I excusing the actions of the staff who’ve intentionally caused suffering, let that be clear. However there are tens of thousands of members of staff at the DWP. Many of them will and do have a heart.

I propose that we appeal for them to strike.

Now this can be put in very simple terms to them why it is in their interest to force change.

Better system, better working conditions

Mark Serwotka PCS

Head of the PCS Union Mark Serwotka

I think they can strike on the principle that the failures of Universal Credit are causing an adverse impact on them. After all it’s no secret that staff are unhappy.

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union leader Mark Serwotka has said on record that the training staff receive in various areas is well below standard. Add in that some staff will be dealing with extremely traumatising cases, this doesn’t exactly scream good working conditions.

Yes we the claimants need the suffering to end, but we are all human and no matter what, I don’t think that DWP staff members should be dealing with what they are. Unfortunately some obviously do enjoy their job, there’s no denying that fact either.

But if they froze the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) demanding action on Universal Credit and Welfare Reform in general I believe the government would be between a rock and a hard place very very quickly.

Why would the government have to act?

thinking man

It’s very simple. Money.

Can you imagine the compensation claims put in when cases are delayed because of strike action? It wouldn’t take long for the pressure to build on Esther McVey to act.

It’s not like she can draft in replacements to cover those on strike either, the job is too complex. Add in temp staffing costs and it puts them under more financial pressure.

Not without risks

In no way am I saying that I’m 100% educated on this. That would be a lie. For all I know it could be futile or even impossible.

I do however accept that their is one huge risk if strike action happened. That claimants would suffer because of it.

Is that justified? Honestly I don’t know as I’d be one of those at risk.

Would I rather suffer in the short term for a long term solution? Yes I would. I however am one person, there’s 800,000 other claimants who might disagree with me.

In short, I think if staff democratically voted to strike, the government would be forced into a position to act swiftly.

That’s just my opinion.


Should any staff or contractors from the Department for Work and Pensions be reading this I am in no way suggesting unofficial strike action. I am a firm believer in Unions and their democratic processes.

I do urge you to approach your union representative or join the PCS union and push for improvements to the welfare system. If that should include striking that is your opinion and yours alone.

Alex Tiffin

@RespectIsVital on Twitter

Universal Credit Sufferer on Facebook

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  • I will pass this on to Leicester Unite Community, my Union for debate and share to others in my networks, perhaps a post address to these groups and shared with TUC is a way forward?

  • I don’t think any claimants will be affected if DWP employees went on strike I think all payments would go through as usual but they would be pressured into making up the sanctions they impose on claimants. I have asked them for company name contact details and hours of employment when the Muppet once mentioned a sanction. he said it was not up to the job centre to give the claimant a list of jobs, I was only looking for 25 hours max, he tried to change it to nearer 40 hours so before he could alter it I said I wanted a duplicate copy before I left as I would be prosecuting the job centre and the DWP for denial of benefits and discrimination of a disabled person. Result no sanction, and the next time he was there when I signed on he just said sign here and see you in two weeks. I was a nightmare for them they knew it and so did I.

  • Whilst I have spoken to some members of staff who are sympathetic whilst they talk to you, I doubt that any would go on strike as they simply don’t care enough. Conservative governments have created a society where everyone only cares for themselves whilst showing very little compassion to those less fortunate. The British public know what is going on yet very few stand up and support us because many of them consider us lazy and a drain on the public purse due to a biased media insisting that that is what we are. They might ease their conscience by making a charitable donation once or twice a year but they won’t go as far as ridding us of this evil, callous government at election time. Apologies if I sound bitter but I genuinely hate what this once great country has become and I for one can’t wait to get off this ride.

  • It’s a load of crap dwp staff won’t go on strike they are on a bonus every month for people that they sanction because they are stopping benefit claims. there was story with pictures on twitter showing dwp staff laughing at claimants because they were stopping people’s benefits and that’s a sign of saying dwp staff will go on strike and also feel sorry for the way the departments are treating the public it’s bullshit I got no time for dwp they deserve everything that comes to them i don’t even know how they feel safe to walk the streets with the way they treat people

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  • The best information i ever got was from staff insiders. It helped fill in the answers to why staff act in some ways they do. It gave me a lot of in site of thinking towards staff acting in such way. Also Paul, i have seen the very pictures he was talking about along with the space invader poster and the sheriff badges they had made. This was from way back in 2012/13 which gives you an insight of how they saw claimants.

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