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Hello fellow strikers, we are delighted that so many of you are continuing to withdraw your labour and want to assure you that the action is having a big impact in your offices. Please stick with PCS throughout the dispute and do not be tempted back into your offices by the nonsense being put out by management to convince you that this action is misguided.

Remember that there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes to keep the strike going and to ensure that we continue to make a strong showing on the picket lines.

Play your part. If you feel able to we would really appreciate you visiting Streatham and Balham picket lines in support of your colleagues.

Streatham in particular needs more support and I call on all Streatham staff past and present to get down to Station Approach in support of your fellow strikers some of whom have not had a day off since the strike began.

It is interesting to note that despite the fact that a minibus full of around 15 HEO's from elsewhere pulls up every day, Balham office remains closed to the public.

Why is that? Could it be that management didn't get the number of volunteers that they were hoping for to process claims and run the counter? Could it be that they are not organised properly? Could it be that they lack training?
Or could it be that these managers lack the bottle to undertake the counter work with screens that they so readily want us to conduct without screens?

I for one would welcome the office being opened to the public with these characters running the counter.
Maybe then they would get a taste of what exactly it is like in an inner city office when you are telling somebody that they are not entitled to benefits and they would get a valuable insight into the reasons why we are on strike.

For your information, the preferred method for dealing with the customers at the moment is to have the managers on the picket lines such as Helen Clements, Barbara Gibb, Ruhi, Konrad or Rosemary taking notes of their queries outside the office or giving them the switchboard number to ring.

A couple of customers have already expressed concern about dealing with their personal business "in the street". The office has been opened only to those lucky ones who get through on the phones and arrange counter giros and these have been paid out in the afternoons.

We have started a petition for members of the public who wish to support our stance and the response has been fantastic so far. Again, you can help us by collecting signatures.

The wording of the petition is:
"We the undersigned agree that the removal of security screens represents a risk to the health and safety of staff working in Benefit Offices."

Alan Ambrose, who was due to go to the Streatham picket line on 14/9/01 was unfortunately the victim of a mugging attempt on a 57 bus in the Streatham area the day before by a group of teenagers. Due to the quick actions of the bus driver who shouted out that he had called the police the gang fled empty handed and Alan was thankfully unharmed. Understandably he was reluctant to go to Streatham the next day but to his credit he did picket at Balham. The incident has been duly reported to the police.

Remember, the strike centre at PCS HQ in Clapham Junction is run by strikers not PCS Staff. There is plenty here to occupy idle hands so come and help us between 11am and 3pm. We have a nice office and great facilities to use. All strikers are welcome.

Phone: 0207 924 2727 ext 2305 (11am -3pm), Mobile 07903 056983 (Pay queries)

Provided you have submitted both your payslip and a completed orange strike pay application form, your strike pay (85% of gross pay) will be in your bank on the last working day of the month. For September this has been calculated from 4th September - 30th September = 27 days. Your employer will pay you for 1st -3rd


Support for our strike comes in all shapes and sizes and is very welcome. While collecting signatures from customers outside the office John Stanley had a conversation with a man who said that he backed us 100%. He said that we definitely need screens as he himself has been imprisoned for three months for breaking our windows! He signed the petition and acknowledged that it is not the staff that made him angry but the benefit rules.

Another customer who signed the petition made the point that screens protect him from doing something which may be out of character due to frustration brought about by the benefit system.

Tribute should be paid to those hardy souls who I have braved the picket lines on a regular basis so far in this dispute. And we would like to express our thanks to those who have picketed on a regular basis.

Thanks also go out to the well-wishers who drop by to see us on the lines now and again but do you think you can handle doing a full stint on the picket line sometime? As for the rest of you. Come on down and greet the minibus with the visiting HEO's at Balham or spend some quality time with Chris Nichol at Streatham, you'll find that being outdoors for a few hours is good for your complexion!

Reports reach our ears of intense intimidation being dished out to ES members in Streatham to discourage them from going on strike. It is disgusting and wrong but unfortunately it is having its desired effect. The turnout from ES members on strike at the moment remains low. It seems that Chris Nichol and his cronies will stop at nothing to ensure that they deliver a service in the Streatham office and to hell with the human cost involved in this. The tactics seem bizarre however members are able to do very little in the face of such intimidating individuals. (Examples that we have been told of are Streatham staff being moved to other sites and other staff and managers being brought in to cover these posts).

You can be assured that PCS can deal with this problem if the members are willing to speak out about
it. Unfortunately there would appear to be great reluctance to go public about this outrage due to fear of reprisals. This is the culture of ES management, it may seem like a different world but under Jobcentre Plus most of our senior bosses will be from ES background and will be trying these stunts with what are currently BA staff. I stress, they will try, and we need to show them that we will not tolerate that rubbish from them.

A well-attended demonstration took place at Streatham office on Friday 21 September. Colleagues and fellow strikers from Brent came down to show their support for our dispute. For the pickets who have been on duty at Streatham this show of solidarity was a welcome morale boost because of the enthusiasm that the numbers of people brought with them, and the looks of panic on the faces of management! A further demonstration on the same basis is planned for Thursday 27 September please try to get along and show your support.

The inaugural meeting of the Streatham strikers took place on Friday 21 September at PCS HQ in Clapham Junction. It was attended by nearly 100 people, which took the security guards by surprise as the room was booked in anticipation of considerably less than that. Thank you all for proving us wrong and please keep attending to keep up to date with what is going on. The meeting was opened and chaired by Tony Church a full time official from the Leeds office. He explained that he would be the link between the strikers in Streatham and Brent and the senior union infrastructure. The meeting was welcomed by the attendees and was successful in geeing members up to take part in further strike activity. There will meetings each Friday at PCS HQ at 11 .30am. The next one will therefore be on Friday 28th September. Please try and attend especially if you didn't make the first one.

Other News.
As the national campaign starts to develop the Brent Strike Committee has called for a National Demonstration of support at Wembley Jobcentre on 28th September at 7.30am. Anyone interested in showing solidarity with our fellow strikers try and make the trip. We are meeting at Balham tube station at 7.00am.