Cuts Watch #224: Temporary staff at Jobcentre Plus
Welfare to work blogs are starting to report that ‘most’ of the 16,000 temporary Jobcentre Plus staff, who were recruited to deal with increased demand for services at the start of the recession, will now not have their contracts renewed.
Should this be true, it would be extremely worrying – not least for those facing unemployment. The claimant count remains 84 per cent higher than at the start of the recession, the labour market recovery is fragile, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are set to face unemployment and over a million disabled people will shortly be migrated from incapacity benefits, with many likely to end up on JSA. Demand for Jobcentre services will remain high for some time to come – these cuts would be extremely misguided.
PCS is campaigning hard to have all of the contracts of these FTA staff converted into permanent staff or at least have the contract extended, and note that there is still a huge amount of work for the FTA staff to do despite the small decreases in unemployment recently. PCS believe that if these staff leave the only result will be fewer staff available to help unemployed people back into work with a higher cost to the taxpayer in the long run, as unemployment will stay higher for longer. PCS are also developing ongoing campaign work against the cuts, and specifically are making the case on the need to protect DWP funding.