Staff at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are set to strike over Christmas in a dispute over pay. Around 200 back office benefits staff will walk out of offices in Liverpool and Doncaster - areas expected to have a significant impact on employers’ operations and the government - during the industrial action from December 19 to December 30.
It comes after 87.6 per cent of members of the The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) voted for strike action on a 50.4 per cent turnout. The union said the “targeted” action would cover only a fraction of the union’s DWP members - but warned that more dates are likely to follow in its national campaign for a 10 per cent pay rise.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Our members have been plunged into ever-increasing depths of poverty. They shouldn’t have to rely on food banks to feed their children or be forced to make the choice of either working from home because the journey into work is too expensive or working in the cold under blankets because the cost of heating is too expensive."
A DWP spokesperson said: “We greatly value the work of our staff but the PCS Union’s demands would cost the country an unaffordable £2.4 billion when the focus must be on bringing down inflation to ease the burden on households, protect the vulnerable and rebuild our economy.
“Benefits, the state pension and child maintenance payments are paid automatically and people who rely on that support will continue to receive it.”
Will Universal Credit, Christmas bonus and other payments be affected by the DWP strike?
Although union chiefs expect the walkout to disrupt benefit “conditionality” interviews, which would normally lead to sanctions, benefit payments are not set to be affected by the upcoming strike.
It’s worth noting however that bank holidays can affect when you’ll get paid, so if you usually get your money on December 26 or 27 of each month, you should get your payment on December 23 this year. This is because Boxing Day is a bank holiday and? December 27 is a substituted bank holiday for Christmas Day, and payments aren’t made on these days.
If you normally get paid on the 24th or 25th of each month, you should also receive your payment on December 23. Bank holidays in Scotland and Northern Ireland are different, so households may be paid after their usual payment date.
If you don’t receive your benefit payment on time, it’s worth checking with your bank first before contacting the DWP via the gov.uk website.