Unhappy DWP staff telling us directly that they are unhappy. The reality of the situation has now hit them. 

Some people mistake the reason why we stand outside Ashton Under Lyne Jobcentre. We stand there in protest of the disgusting regime enforced by the government. We also stand there to help and advise claimants, both are equally important. We don’t stand there shouting, our main purpose is to empower claimants, so they can feel confident enough to fight back against the system, and the advice that we give them is invaluable. 

Today was a strange day, the weather was warm, and a good crowd turned up. We were busy helping a claimant who had been told to claim JSA (Job Seekers Allowance) because she had failed her ATOS assement. She is appealing this, and as a result now has to apply for JSA whilst her appeal is dealt with. She was given no information on how to conduct her job searches etc, and I’m sure that her advisor was expecting her to fail on this. She won’t however, because I instructed her on what to do and not to do and she felt happier. She had told us that her advisor had warned her not to speak to that lot outside, but thankfully she ignored her and asked us lots of questions. 

Just as I was finishing helping this woman, two DWP workers purposely walked out of the building. This is a very rare sight indeed, because they usually prefer to use the back door, or they take their badges off. It certainly looked like they had had enough. They shouted that they only do sixteen hours work a week and will be punished for doing this. I said, yes you will be because it’s all part of the new in work conditionality of which everyone who will be shifted over to universal credit off JSA or Income support will have to do.  ( I’ve wrote about this in an earlier blog.)  Our answer to this was, yes we know that you are having a hard time, we do sympathise with you, and we also know that you will be sent to another Jobcentre to comply with the rules and receive any sanctions etc that you may receive. They were angry, but sadly are a victim of the system that they have helped to create, either knowingly, or un knowingly. I’m not going to go into the problems that exist within their union the PCS. There’s a lot of internal things that urgently need to be sorted out, and help from the top is much needed. But I sympathise with the decent workers and union reps trying to take a stand and to change things. This does not mean that I sympathise with the workers who actually enjoy applying sanctions and harsh conditionality for claimants. They need to be held accountable for their actions, as do those who prevent positive action. One day I hope that this will happen. 

I’ve no idea if these women are unionised, a fair amount of DWP workers aren’t, and here also lies the problem. But what I can say is that you can never dance with the devil and expect to get away untarnished. Everyone working less that full time hours and claiming any type of benefit will be affected when they get shifted over to Universal Credit. And as I’ve said before, Universal credit has been purposely created to work this way. There’s no mistakes, it’s created to harm and demoralise people to push them to the edge. 

I also believe, alongside others, that the only time that people will start protesting against Universal Credit is when they are hit themselves by the in work conditionality element of it. It will affect working people, people who thought that they were safe, will soon realise that they aren’t safe. Maybe the regular claimants won’t be demonised as much then, but I doubt that. 

Many thanks to everyone who came along and supported us today. It makes all the difference. Thank you very much. 

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11 thoughts on “Unhappy DWP staff telling us directly that they are unhappy. The reality of the situation has now hit them. 

  1. I attend a mental health group set up and run at the premises of a national mental health charity. I attend this group because I was so physiologically traumatised by a system that kept me in perpetual state of government sponsored abject fear and uncertainty that I attempted to end my life on several occasions.
    I attend the group because to be honest there is no other form of mental health support any more. Its been decimated by government austerity measures year after year and like food banks its left to a charity to provide a service that should be provided by the NHS.
    In the group there are two members who claim to be suffering from depression and anxiety, and who am I to dispute their claims. It transpires the both are in full time employment with the DWP (jobcentre) and constantly bleat on and on about how hard their life is doing a job that, quote ” Dealing with Customers in a forward facing role who wont play by the rules” and how depressed its making them. When I challenge them and by god I do it at every opportunity they come out with the age old cop out of “well I’m only carrying out orders” and “its no me who sanctions its the decision maker”
    It may not be them that shoots the gun but it certainly is they that make the bullets. I have one or two other issues that I challenge them on. When did the unemployed and the sick become customers or at least claimants, or at the very best human beings and when did carrying out orders become any form of defence for cruelty, deceit and deliberately causing psychiatric injury to any other person.

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    1. You are right. I don’t dispute the fact that they are stressed, but they have to admit that they do sanction people. The decision maker makes the final decision, but they always agree with the original decision made by the Jobcentre advisor. It also sounds like they are still using DWP lingo which shows me that they are totally indoctrinated by the system, and only when they take a part of this blame will they move forward and help themselves. Saying I’m only doing my job isn’t good enough. That’s not good enough for the families who have lost a loved one due to suicide because of a sanction.
      Now I don’t dispute that there are those DWP workers out there who hate their job, who try everything to get away with not sanctioning folk. I know of at least one story regarding this. These workers admit to the full affect of them applying a sanction to someone and sending that decision to the decision maker. Most of these workers leave or go on long term sick, then they get bullied by the DWP.
      What the PCS union needs to do is to sort out their internal differences, sort out the union reps that fail to support their workers in taking action and to start implementing the guidelines agreed at conference last year.
      I also know some PCS union reps that are fantastic, but as a result have a hard time from the members that won’t comply. It’s awful, and I’m sure that the Tory government are loving evenly minute of their unions internal battles. For the good reps out there, keep fighting, keep up the good work, you can do it.
      For the rotten DWP workers out there, start admitting that you are ruining life’s. Just saying I’m just doing my job is not good enough by any means. Show some remorse.

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  2. Thank you for being there for people who are being bullied, sanctioned and made to feel like they don’t count in society anymore. I only wish that every Jobcentre in the UK, and everywhere that people have to go to for assessments could have people like yourselves there.

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