JobCentre staff in 'sweatshop' strike

WORKERS at a Government call centre in Sheffield walked out on a 48-hour strike yesterday in protest at what they called "sweatshop conditions" imposed by bosses at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) who work at the Jobcentre Plus call centre in Hartshead Square, Sheffield, mounted an official picket, and said they would also be on strike today.

Those involved in the dispute were joined by colleagues at offices in Bristol, Glasgow, Newport in south Wales, Norwich, Makerfield near Wigan and Manchester.

PCS officials said last night that about 2,400 staff had joined the walkout,

The union has accused Jobcentre Plus of having an "obsession" with hitting call centre targets at the expense of providing a good quality public service.

A DWP spokesman said: "We are modernising our telephone and benefit processing service. There will be no change to the way benefits are paid."