JOBCENTRES in Ellesmere Port and Neston were this week hit by a fresh two-day strike by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
The union took industrial action on Monday and Tues- day over the imposition of a three-year pay deal, although there were no picket lines in the borough. Everyone is back in work today.
There was previous strike action in December when last- minute pay talks with bosses in the Department for Work and Pensions broke down.
The current pay offer on the table is 2% for year one, 0% for year two and 1% for year three.
The PCS says the Govern- ment has shown no desire to end the dispute and is not prepared to improve its offer so the union had no choice but to strike.
The union has about 60 members at the Ellesmere Port Jobcentre and 10-15 in Neston.
Cheshire branch secretary Helen Flanagan said most of the affected Jobcentres provided no service and the processing centres were staffed by management answering phones. This meant some benefit and pensions were not paid on time.
She said: “PCS members were left with no choice but to take industrial action to highlight the Government’s disgraceful behaviour.
“Our members are furious. The top 300 public servants received on average a 12.8% pay rise, with the Cabinet Secretary taking home £264,400 and £34,600 of benefits in kind.
“We don’t believe that we lower-paid public-sector workers deserve special treatment, we just want our wages to reflect the cost of living.
“Energy bills have increased by 10% on average and food costs have gone up by 6.6% and yet many PCS members are not receiving a pay rise at all this year. Many others are only just above the minimum wage. All we are asking for is a fair pay increase.”