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HomeNewsPudsey Job Centre security staff join national strike over pay

Pudsey Job Centre security staff join national strike over pay

Job Centre security guards in Pudsey are among hundreds across Yorkshire and the North East who have started a week-long walk out today (Monday) as a pay dispute escalates. 

The guards – employed by private outsourcing giant G4S – will walk out from Monday 1 July – Saturday 6 July across the regions. 

GMB research shows more than 80 percent regularly suffer abuse, including being savaged in the neck by dogs, punched, attacked with screwdrivers and customers behaving ‘like wild animals’.

GMB Union says 90 per cent of the guards are now paid just the minimum wage. 

GMB claims the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has shelled out £211 million to G4s since Dec 2022 – despite staff costs being just £161 million during the same period, a difference of £50 million.

ACAS is attempting to arrange talks to settle the dispute, but the DWP is refusing to participate. 

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National Officer, said:  “It’s not rocket science – if the DWP and G4S want to end this dispute, make sure these guards are paid enough to live on. 

“G4S has been handed millions by the Government, yet our members can barely afford to feed their families. 

“The work they do is hard; they are attacked with alarming regularity just for doing their job. The least they expect is to be paid a proper wage.” 

G4S said it was “keen to bring this dispute to an amicable conclusion”, adding that its pay offer was for a 6.5 per cent rise from April 2023, and an average 9.3 per cent increase from December 2023 to April 2024. The strike was expected to continue until Saturday, July 6.

A G4S spokesman said: “Our dedicated security colleagues do a great job, sometimes in difficult circumstances. We urge the GMB to present our offer to our employees, which is both above minimum wage and inflation. We are keen to bring this dispute to an amicable conclusion.

“Our contingency plans, agreed in partnership with DWP, have proved highly effective in maintaining a full service, and we continue to adapt them to ensure the safety of DWP locations, employees and the service users.

“This is our best and last offer put to the GMB in April 2024 and the union has refused to put it to a vote by its members. Once agreed all backdated pay would be paid to our employees. Since 2022, G4S has made 12 pay offers and the GMB has taken only two to a ballot.”

The DWP has said the strike would not affect benefit payments, or its telephone services. It said Job Centres would remain open ‘where it is safe to do so’, adding: “In any instances where a Job Centre might have to close, we will contact customers if appointments need to be rescheduled and will signpost urgent appointments to alternative locations.”

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