For DWP Vice President
I am standing for election as DWP Group Vice President (VP) and am again seeking your support. Along with being an officer of the Group I am currently an elected member of the NEC and Vice Chair of the North West Regional Committee.
As Group VP I have responsibility for policy, so have worked to build improvements to terms and conditions, the most notable at present being our winning our long battle for period dignity at work.
Working for an employer that is all too ready to implement government ideology, with the hard line on benefit claimants, the move to reduce the DWP estate and their clear disdain for civil servants, PCS have faced some real intransigence in negotiations. Despite this the Left Unity leadership has been robust in our pushing for improvements and winning protections for members. With the negotiating team I have ensured equality is high on the agenda and was instrumental in drafting policies such as the Childcare and Carers policy, demanding the welfare of children and disabled family members was paramount, with home working or paid time off provided as necessary. This policy is held by the TUC as an example of how unions have supported workers throughout the pandemic, while employers, and government were found wanting. Also the mandatory BAME Risk Assessment, which was picked up by employers across the Civil Service and beyond, so bringing a further layer of protection for Black workers.
I have further overseen the change to this Risk Assessment as its scope has been widened to encompass all members with equality needs that are expected to return to work; Covid-19 remains a threat, we continue to demand that members at risk are allowed to work from home.
I was further instrumental in the talks that brought:
- sick pay for Brook Street members taking time off with Covid-19,
- 1808 staff on the Brook Street contract brought in house – a 97% conversion rate
- over 13,000 new work coaches
- thousands of FTA’s made permanent
- the suspending of sanctions and conditionality.
As our members continued to provide vital support to the public the team fully recognised the extreme challenges Jobcentre staff were facing on the front line, at risk of Covid and refused home working. As DWP moved to implement late opening in November 2021, I pushed for the Equality Impact Assessment and highlighted serious risks to our women members and Trans members and those within the community we serve, including women with children. With the Left Unity leadership of our Group, I made the bold decision to ballot members in Jobcentres and UC service centres. The ballot and the issues raised within the EIA were crucial to our stopping late opening at that time and winning important concessions such as Work Coach Empowerment.
I worked within the Campaigns committee to build for the ballot on pay, pensions, the CS compensation Scheme, and job security and now we are on strike I am often seen on picket lines bringing solidarity to both PCS members and unions across the movement.
We have much work still to do to win our campaigns; as a socialist that fights for equality, fairness and justice, I know that DWP Group needs this Left Unity leadership to do the necessary work.
Left Unity means real unity, the team is a fully diverse Group that does not stand for ego’s sake, but to take up the hard work on our members’ behalf. I ask that you please give me your vote, I pledge to keep our members’ needs paramount, to continue to fight for better pay and conditions of service, as well as to protect your safety. Please also vote for the names on the Left Unity slate attached and give me the right team to work with, with the mandate to continue the excellent work we have been doing on your behalf.