The breath-taking arrogance of private sector contractors has been laid bare today with the publication of a letter from the CEO of Monster Jobs defending the shambolic Universal Jobmatch website.
Universal Jobmatch is the scandal-hit website which unemployed people are forced to use to look for work. Monster Jobs were paid almost £20 million to create the site which recently won a ‘worst website’ award at an industry event. According to The Guardian, Universal Jobmatch is set to be scrapped when Monster’s contract expires in 2016.
This is not the case pleads Monster boss Sal Iannuzzi, in the joint statement co-written with Head of Jobcentre Plus Neil Couling. The website is ‘here to stay’ he claims. What’s more it is a ‘powerful tool’ and a ‘secure, and effective recruitment site’, whilst criticisms are based on ‘misrepresentation’.
The letter highlights two main areas of concern, the huge number of bogus jobs posted to the site and the number of duplicate or inappropriate vacancies. According to Monster, the previous government jobs website also suffered from these problems, with 145 scams acted on in 2012. 11,000 fake jobs were recently removed from Universal Jobmatch due to just one scammer uncovered by a Channel 4 News investigation. Around 200,000 job vacancies have disappeared from the site over the last couple of months when opportunistic politicians woke up to the reality of this scandalous abuse of public money.
Duplicate jobs remain an ongoing problem. Recently over 100 adverts appeared for the same ‘four or five’ vacancies. Many of these duplicate adverts were posted by Monster themselves. These bastards must think we’re fucking idiots if they expect us to believe this is anything other than the greatest online rip off yet.
Perhaps the most laughable part of the statement is the bizarre claim that “Universal Jobmatch puts all of our customers on an equal footing with everyone else seeking a new job in the UK”. Sal Iannuzzi seems to think that unemployed people were incapable of using the huge array of other recruitment websites- like the one Monster already run – until Iain Duncan Smith came out with the whacky idea that perhaps you can find jobs on the internet nowadays.
The truth is that Universal Jobmatch was not developed to help people find work, but as a means of enforcing ‘conditionality’ for unemployment benefits on the cheap. Iain Duncan Smith had hoped that claimants could be remotely monitored for 35 hours a week as they pointlessly clicked through the range of spam, scam and spoof vacancies that the website is so famous for.
Unfortunately for the Secretary of State he didn’t bother to check the law first. Under data protection rules you cannot be forced to tick the box giving the Jobcentre access to your account and due to laws on cookies, you can only be forced to use the website on Jobcentre computers (PDF)*. You can also untick the box in the picture above which gives consent for the DWP to send you emails. There is no requirement to tell the Jobcentre if you have a home computer, tablet or smart phone.
For once in their miserable lives, the DWP are correct when they say it would be ‘irresponsible’ not to respond to cultural shifts in the way that people look for work in the ‘digital age’. So no doubt the Jobcentre will welcome the launch of Universal Automation, the app which carries out jobsearch on Universal Jobmatch automatically. This type of service is without doubt the future of online recruitment and it allows claimants the chance to take a break from their ‘work related activity’ and do something useful instead. Like try and find work using one of the many other, better online job sites.
These bastards are openly laughing at us now. You can tell Monster Jobs what you think of their joke website @Monster_UK.
*There are regular reports of people being threatened with sanctions if they refuse to tick the box allowing the Jobcentre to snoop on their accounts. The best advice comes as ever from @refuted, which is to ask for this request to be made in writing, so you don’t forget. If this type of harassment persists ask to speak to the Jobcentre manager. For advice on making a complaint about the behaviour of Jobcentre staff visit: https://www.gov.uk/complain-jobcentre-plus
For advice on appealing or disputing a sanction decision go to: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/27/appeals/
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