Employment

'DWP doesn't seem to care': Jobcentres close on election day as 1,500 security guards go on strike

Unions claim the pay offer from the DWP and security company G4S would 'trap these security guards in poverty' as Jobcentres close due to the strike

jobcentre

A man walks past a Jobcentre. Image: Oli SCARFF/AFP/ Getty

More than 1,500 security guards at Jobcentres across the country have gone on strike on election day in a dispute over pay and working conditions. It has led to the closure of a large number of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offices, including Jobcentres.

Unions claim the DWP and security company G4S have proposed a “below-inflation pay offer that would keep these security guards trapped in poverty“.

Fran Heathcote, general secretary of the civil servants union PCS, said: “It is a scandal how G4S makes millions while exploiting workers like our security guard members in the DWP. It is an even bigger scandal that these workers deliver public services on private contracts, enriching the company with taxpayer money.

“The incoming government will be welcomed by a wave of strikes by our members on G4S contracts in the DWP. They have a choice: to start their administration by ending the dispute and moving to scrap outsourcing or to spend their first days dealing with closed Jobcentres up and down the country.”

The Big Issue has previously reported on the pressures faced by Jobcentre staff – with the DWP facing an “epidemic of mental ill health” among its staff due to pressures and “poor working conditions”, according to previous research by the PCS.

G4S offered security guards a 6.5% pay rise from April 2023, and an average 9.3% pay rise from December 2023 to April 2024.

It is the 23rd day of strikes, coordinated by the PCS and GMB unions, and further action is planned. Security guards will strike from 4 July until 7 July, as well as 15 July to 21 of July, and from 29 July to 4 August.

Eamon O’Hearn, GMB National Officer, said: “DWP and G4S could end this dispute tomorrow. Instead, they’ve made a below-inflation pay offer that would keep these security guards trapped in poverty. 

“Dozens of Jobcentres are being forced to close, customers are struggling to get the service they need and GMB members are struggling to live. G4S and DWP just don’t seem to care.”



The DWP has confirmed that benefits, state pension and other payments will not be affected by the proposed strike action, and people who rely on that support will continue to receive it.

If a Jobcentre is closed, the DWP will contact customers if appointments need to be rescheduled and will signpost urgent appointments to alternative locations.

A G4S spokesperson said: “Our dedicated security colleagues do a great job and support an essential public service, sometimes in difficult circumstances. The majority of our staff have not been on strike.

“We urge the union to present our offer to our employees, which is above minimum wage and inflation. We want to give our staff a pay rise and are keen to bring this dispute to an amicable conclusion.”

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