13.01.2020:
Our membership department has had many phone calls this morning from members concerned about emails they have received asking them to reset their password for the PCS website. Do not act upon these emails. Do not follow the links to reset your password. www.pcs.org.uk/pwreset


IT'S AGM SEASON AGAIN.

2020 PCS Branch AGM: Date: 14/02/2020. Time: 13:00 to 14:00. Venue: 4th Floor Conference Room, Elizabeth House, Bolton.

(Guest Speaker: Ian Bartholemew-Full Time PCS Industrial Officer. Tea and Biscuits will be provided).

Prestwich AGM: Date: 21/02/2020. Time: 13:00 to 13:30. Venue: 1st Floor meeting Room, Prestwich Jobcentre,

Bury Jobcentre AGM: Date: 27/02/2020. Time: 13:00 to 13:30. Venue: 1st Floor meeting Room, Bury Jobcentre

These meetings are YOUR chance to have YOUR say in how YOUR branch is run.
It is important that as many members as possible attend


Branch briefing on campaigning on pay, pensions and the civil service compensation scheme
This briefing informs branches of decisions of the national executive committee concerning a new campaign on pay, pensions and the civil service compensation scheme. Branches are urged to invite NEC speakers to their AGMs to update members on the preparations for the campaign.

At January’s NEC meeting, it was agreed in principle that preparations for a new campaign should be made that will bring together three central issues for public sector members: pay, pensions and the civil service compensation scheme. The bargaining picture shows that national developments in these three areas are converging.

Pay

Meetings with the Cabinet Office on pay are taking place. A meeting of senior lay reps from each group will shortly be held to discuss a national pay claim for above inflation pay increases to redress years of pay restraint, and the establishment of national civil service pay bargaining.

Pensions

We continue to campaign against the government’s unjustified suspension of the public sector pension valuation process, which is denying our members the improvements due to them, following the breach of the pension cost cap in 2018. PCS has agreed to join the FBU’s judicial review of the suspension maintaining that it is unlawful. Our members are fully entitled to have their pension contributions reduced by 2% or more, and to benefit from other pension improvements.

CSCS

Next month it will be 4 years since the government first attempted to change the CSCS terms. Our campaign has defended the 2010 terms over those years, resulting in £100s of millions available to workers covered by the scheme. Since we won the judicial review on the government’s lack of consultation on changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme in July 2017, we have managed through ongoing negotiations with the government to maintain the CSCS at the 2010 terms. Talks with the employer continue. We have been consistently clear that there is no case for changing the terms of the scheme that were reinstated by the Court.

Campaigning
The NEC will decide at the appropriate moment whether, and to what timetable, an industrial action ballot should take place. At this stage we are preparing to launch initial campaigning activity, including new local initiatives, which will bring the three areas of pay, pensions and the CSCS together.

The new campaign will emphasise a bottom-up approach; the maximum involvement of members will be the key aim and new organising initiatives will provide a forum for members to mobilise in their localities. The objective is to build the union and to build union power. The NEC will take decisions on any new national ballot for industrial action at the appropriate time.
A special NEC meeting will be held on 19 February to finalise national demands and the campaign plans.


ASSUMED CONSENT - MANAGEMENT'S BIG STICK, or NOT?
Assumed Consent Myth Busting

You must discuss with, or seek permission from, your team: False.
There is no legally sound reason for this, and your colleagues have no right to know anything about your personal life if you so choose. Assertion of this relates to incorrect interpretation of FWH Policy 5 and Employee Deal paragraphs 15 clauses b, c, and d which are about TPT shift input negotiations & adherence – these contribute to forming a structure to promote fair access to Assumed Consent long before the actual application of Assumed Consent on a standard day-to-day basis.

You must have a face-to-face chat with you Line manager / Team leader: False.
Your Line Manager/Team Leader can ask you to stay a bit longer/come in earlier, and they can even ask why, but you are under no obligation to do as asked in that regard, additionally, such chats could easily descend into being perceptually intimidating, it also goes against the whole definition of the word 'Assumed'.

We don’t have enough staff in to cover on the team: False.
Teams do not operate in isolation, also, Fixed Start & End times on TPT scheduling are there to ensure we have adequate cover at all key points of the day, in order to provide the necessary standard of customer service.

My Line manager / Team leader told me that today is "Exceptional" so they can’t allow me to go: Probably False.
Unless something significant has happened that causes Business Continuity plans to be put into operation, then the chances of the reason being legitimately considered as 'Exceptiona'l as defined in Employee Deal are pretty much nil really. Remember: Christmas, New Year, Eid, Easter, Summer Holidays, etc, etc, all happen every year and are all pre-mapped and known about in advance, before the demand maps are built, so they are NOT Exceptional (see paragraph 4) for the purposes of overriding Assumed Consent.

I can flex-on/off when I like with Assumed Consent: True - as long as you obey the rules:
* Inform your LM/TL beforehand – mainly for H&S purposes.

* You must complete at least half of your shift before you flex-off OR you will complete at least half of your shift after you flex-on.

* You must have enough flexi-time to ensure you’re not exceeding the flexi-deficit limits under normal circumstances.

* Accurately record your Flexi accrual on the designated flexi-sheets, as prescribed by the Department in accordance with the Flexi Working Hours Agreement and site-agreed allowances.
I’ve been told there is insufficient leave levels for Assumed Consent: False.
Leave levels do not apply to Assumed Consent. Anyone telling you this is confusing Flexi-leave (half day or more leave using accrued flexi-time) with Assumed Consent (ad-hoc variation of shift unfixed end time using accrued flexi-time). Remember Flexi-Leave is treated like Annual Leave, whereas Assumed Consent is not.

If you are experiencing issues surrounding any of the above, then please contact a local PCS TU Rep for assistance and advice.


VITALLY IMPORTANT: ALL MEMBERS (ESPECIALLY NEW MEMBERS):
READ THIS DOCUMENT BEFORE YOU USE A DWP COMPUTER.

One of the most distressing types of personal case that we may have to represent a member on is that of computer misuse.

It is vitally important that every member of staff realises that every key entry on a DWP system is recorded for security purposes and if you misbehave, it can all be checked back on and will be used against you. Certain computer records are marked up as having a relationship to staff and if you access one that you shouldn't, then you WILL get caught. There are also very strict rules about email and Skype use.

If you are given a relative or friend's claim to work on, DO NOT ACCESS IT.
Let your line manager know that you know the person and that you have not gone into the claim.


You should be told this by trainers at your induction and when you are first shown a Departmental computer. Of course it doesn't happen very often and we end up defending a number of staff who look up their best mate's records, their family's records, or sometimes they even look at their own records.

You can legitimately get a copy of your own record via a Freedom of information request, if you need it.

You are not allowed to access ANY benefits records without a valid business reason and supporting tasks or post.

We are trusted with sensitive customer information and the penalties for misusing the system are very severe. Accessing friends computer records and your own records counts as serious misconduct and may lead to dismissal and even to criminal prosection.

There is little or no argument or defence can be made against charges of unauthorised system access.

Help us to help you.
DON'T DO GET YOURSELF SACKED.
IF YOU ARE UNSURE, ASK A MANAGER OR YOUR TU REP.

DWP acceptable use policy v2.5


11 Oct 2019: Threat of action leads to dozens of new Universal Credit jobs

Dozens of new jobs have been secured following the threat of strike action by PCS members at Derby Universal Credit Service Centre who expressed anger at high workloads and their inability to provide a quality service for customers.

In August, local reps organised a meeting on the pavements outside the gates of their office to discuss the workload problems at the site after they were forbidden from using the office car park.  

The meeting addressed by PCS Midlands regional secretary, Andrew Lloyd heard members express their anger at the high workloads and not being able to provide a “quality service for the customers”. Faced with no other option members voted by show of hands in high number to support a call for industrial action, like colleagues at other UC sites.

PCS wrote to Derby UC management to request a meeting. At the meeting last month PCS put the case for more staff alongside the anger members had expressed. Management initially offered 40 additional posts to respond to the issue, then following a written request the number was increased to 56 additional posts. Reps held members’ meetings on site to announce the staffing increases.

The jobs, which will initially be fixed-term appointments for 12 months with a view to making them permanent have been advertised and staff are expected to be appointed by the end of the month.


Bolton DWP has a particularly bad reputation within DWP as 'a problem office' and to have an entirely different management style to the majority of the rest of DWP.

Members (and Reps) on this site need protection from this bizarre, improper and harsh management style and Trade Union membership is key in defending job security.

Issues such as 'Must Improve' performance markings being given to members who have not deserved them, misinterpretation, misuse and distortion of management's own guidance to suit managers are regular tasks for our reps to deal with and we have a pretty good success rate in overturning them because management do not seem to be able to read or follow DWP procedures properly.

PCS is a democratic organisation, run by our members, for our members. We campaign for fair pay and conditions, decent pensions for all and equality in the workplace and beyond. If you're not a member of PCS, there's never been a better time to join the union.

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