Tag Archives: Universal Jobmatch

Come And Clean Our Mansion For No Pay … Just One Of Many Exciting Opportunities On Government Job Seeking Website

ujscreenshot3A cleaning job advertised on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website is asking potential candidates to carry out ‘volunteer shifts prior to engagement’ in breach of minimum wage laws. (H/T @AtosMiraclesfb)

The vacancy is at Thornton Manor, a stately home in Wirral which has been converted into a luxury wedding and conference centre.  According to one intrepid jobseeker who inquired about this job, potential recruits are expected to carry out a voluntary shift in case they don’t like it.  It was then admitted that actually this unpaid work is for the benefit of both parties although in some cases potential employees may not have to carry out a full shift.

This is the latest example of grasping employers using ‘try before you buy’ schemes to minimise the cost of recruitment.  Taking on staff involves a level of risk, and greedy companies are now trying to push the cost of that onto unemployed people by forcing them to work for free before they are given a proper job.  Of course starting a new job can also be risky.  There are no shortage of abusive and exploitative employers out there after all.  But there is little in place to protect unemployed people against that.

Thornton Manor are almost certainly acting unlawfully – they are not a charity and if people are expected to work then they are entitled to be paid the minimum wage.  Astonishingly however some companies running government workfare schems are openly advertising this kind of exploitation.  And it’s legal.

Those sent on unpaid work schemes by Jocentres have little or no workplace rights, including the right to a wage.  Welfare-to-work company Ixion Holdings are currently offering employers unpaid workers on Traineeships for up to six months with ‘nominal risk or cost implication’.  ixion-trybuy2

Ixion were also recently caught lying to potential employers that forced unpaid workers Community Work Placements are ‘volunteers’.  They are wrong about the time Traineeships are expected to work without pay as well.  The latest guidance states that the work experience element of a Traineeship should be 240 hours, or eight weeks.

What is taking place is a simple wealth grab from the very poorest to the rich.  Unemployed people being expected to bear the cost of risks associated with recruitment means fatter salaries for company directors.  It also means that under the cover of so-called work trials like these, unscrupulous companies can  maintain a rolling stock of free workers and never actually pay any of them.  And the DWP will cheer them on because making the life of unemployed people as miserable as possible is now far more important than helping them get jobs that pay a wage you can survive on.

Thornton Manor are on twitter @thorntonmanor and have a facebook page.

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Hundreds of Illegal Sexist Job Advertisements On Government Job Seeking Website

handyman2

Hundreds of jobs advertisements on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website are in breach of equality laws and the problem extends far beyond the shameful age discrimination featured on the BBC yesterday.

Radio 4 reported on adverts on the website asking for ‘young’ or ‘recent’ graduates, warning this may be illegal under the Equality Act.  It is not just older people however who face discrimination on the website that unemployed people are forced to use by Jobcentres to look for work.  The shocking truth is that there seems to be no control over whether jobs advertised on the site meet equalities legislation.

Over 600 current job vacancies ask for a “handyman”, whilst one employer is looking for a “girl friday”.  Another discriminates against same sex couples by asking for a “guy and girl Friday”.  All of these advertisements are likely to be illegal.  As Citizen’s Advice explain:

“With a few limited exceptions, it’s illegal to publish or broadcast an advert which discriminates because of sex, or which advertises discriminatory services. For example, it is illegal for an employer to advertise for a job using words like ‘craftsman’ or ‘handyman’, as this might give the impression that the job is only open to men.”

Significantly, it may not just be the employers posting these vacancies who are breaking the law.  As providers of an “employment service”, the DWP themselves could be acting illegally for publishing these advertisements.

This doesn’t seem to bother anyone at the department, who have already brushed off the BBCs claims saying they don’t think phrases such as ‘recent graduate’ are discriminatory.  This is despite the government’s own recruitment guidance to employers clearly stating: “Only use phrases like ‘recent graduate’ or ‘highly experienced’ when these are actual requirements of the job. This could discriminate against younger or older people who might not have had the opportunity to get certain qualifications.”

Not for the first time the DWP are treating laws that don’t suit them with contempt.  Perhaps of equal concern is that so many employers don’t yet seem to have caught up with rules that were first introduced as part of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975.  But of course employers can do no wrong in the eyes of Iain Duncan Smith.  That’s why he largely left them to their own devices as they cluttered up Universal Jobmatch with scam, spam and spoof vacancies.

Universal Jobmatch has been a fucking shambles ever since it was launched at huge cost back in 2011.  Even the job adverts that actually manage to stay within the law are often duplicates, flaky self-employment ‘opportunities’ or employment agencies touting for CVs so they can spam people for the rest of their lives.  With no safety information and clearly no checks on whether employers posting jobs to the site are genuine, then unemployed people are at real risk if they use Universal Jobmatch.  But use it they must, on Jobcentre computers at least.  Otherwise they face their benefits being sanctioned

If you are required to sign up to Universal Jobmatch you still do not have to tick the box giving the DWP access to your account and can untick the box giving them permission to send you emails.  You should only be forced to use the website in Jobcentres.  For tips on how to avoind being pressurised by Jobcentre busy-bodies visit the Refuted website.  To save time when using the site you can also download Universal Automation.

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Scam-Ridden Universal Jobmatch Just Fine Says Monster Boss As He Laughs All The Way To The Bank

untick-ujThe 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.

For the latest updated leaflet on Universal Jobmatch rights visit: http://refuted.org.uk/2014/03/26/jobmatchrights/

*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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Over 100 Advertisements For The Same “Four Or Five” Jobs On Universal Jobmatch

UJ-IT-jobsIn a shocking breach of the rules, over 100 job vacancies posted on the Government’s Universal Jobmatch website are for the same “four or five” jobs.

121 vacancies for computer programmers in Reading are currently posted on the website and all trace back to the same recruitment company, computerfutures.com.  On contacting this company it was established that in reality they currently have “four or five”  jobs available in the Reading area.

The reason for this duplication is that the same jobs are being posted by different recruitment agencies, all of who appear to be in breach of the rules which state vacancies must not be duplicated.  Appalling some of these fake job ads appear to have come from Monster, the company paid millions to run Universal Jobmatch who apparently can’t even keep to their own rules.

This fresh embarrassment comes just two weeks after thousands of job advertisements were taken down from the website after a Channel 4 news investigation found many of the positions were not genuine.  Last week The Guardian reported that Universal Jobmatch is scheduled to be scrapped when Monster’s contract expires in 2016.

This will be of little comfort to hundreds of thousands of unemployed people bullied into signing up for a Universal Jobmatch account – sometimes under the threat of benefits being stopped if they refuse.  Claimants can then face being forced to apply for vacancies, despite no-one, including the Jobcentre, having any idea whether the jobs actually exist.

The good news is that you still do not have to tick the box giving Jobcentre busybodies access to your Universal Jobmatch account and you cannot be forced to use the website on your home computer anywhere but Jobcentres.

A recent leaflet produced by the DWP (PDF) makes the position  clear:

“What if I don’t want cookies to be installed on my device?

“You will not have been required to register with Universal Jobmatch or to use it unless there is a DWP  Internet Access Device (IAD) reasonably available for you to use (please speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser). You can use the DWP IAD if you do not want to accept cookies or have chosen to delete cookies and do not want to accept them again. Cookies have already been accepted on all DWP IADs.

“If you are in receipt of a working age benefit, are using Universal Jobmatch voluntarily and do not want to accept cookies, please speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser to find out whether an IAD is available for you to use.”

For the most up to date info on your rights visit: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/13/jobmatch/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Universal Jobmatch Falls Apart – The First Nail In The Coffin Of Universal Credit

discarded-old-computer-1In a major blow for Iain Duncan Smith’s flagship welfare reforms, The Guardian are reporting that government job-seeking website Universal Jobmatch is to be scrapped.

Universal Jobmatch was launched at huge cost towards the end of 2012 as a means of spying on unemployed people to ensure they are carrying out sufficient jobseeking activity.  Changes to conditions for receiving benefits mean that in some cases unemployed claimants are expected to spend 35 hours a week looking for work.  When Universal Credit is finally launched (stop laughing), millions more people, –  including part time or self-employed workers, lone parents and disabled people – will also be expected to endlessly look for ‘more or better paid work’.

With Jobcentres already desperately over-stretched due to other reforms to social security, Universal Jobmatch was intended to be a ‘digital by default’ way of policing this new regime on the cheap.  Iain Duncan Smith had intended the website to be a form of virtual workhouse, with claimants endlessly clicking away or applying for even unsuitable jobs through the site under the threat of benefits being stopped.

In truth Universal Jobmatch was anything but cheap, as private contractors Monster spent millions creating a website that fast became a laughing stock.  Alongside this huge cost, estimated to be as high as £20 million, thousands of ‘Internet Access Devices’ were installed in Jobcentres for claimants who did not have a home computer.  All this money now appears to have been squandered as yet another of Iain Duncan Smith’s crazy schemes collapses in an embarrassing shambles.

With no adequate checking procedures to see whether employers using the site are genuine, Universal Jobmatch has quickly filled up with scams, spoof vacancies and spam.  A recent Channel 4 investigation has found that thousands of jobs on the website are bogus, with at least 11,000 vacancies generated by just one person being paid to harvest CVs for recruitment agencies.  Almost anyone who has ever used the internet could have warned the DWP about this.  Meanwhile technology is racing ahead, and Universal Automation – an automated app which does your jobsearch for you – has made a mockery of Iain Duncan Smith’s plans.

Bungling DWP officials even failed to check whether their plans to remotely spy on benefit claimants were legal.  It turns out that in many cases they weren’t and there is currently no requirement for claimants to tick the box giving Jobcentres access to individual accounts.  EU internet laws on cookies also mean that no-one can be forced to use the website anywhere but Jobcentres, whilst claimants can also untick the box which allows DWP staff to send them emails.

Whilst Universal Jobmatch may creak on until 2016 when the contract with Monster ends, it is clears that Iain Duncan Smith’s plans are in tatters.  The impact of this on Universal Credit is huge.  There is simply no way that the Jobcentre can monitor the job-seeking activity of millions more people at current staffing levels.  The demise of Universal Jobmatch is the first nail in the coffin of Universal Credit, and it won’t be the last.  If Iain Duncan Smith can’t even run a fucking website then what hope does he have of implementing the vastly complex IT system required for his back of the envelope reforms to the benefits system?

At presents claimants can still be mandated to register with Universal Jobmatch, but do not have to tick the box giving the Jobcentre access to accounts.  For the most up to date info on your rights visit: http://refuted.org.uk/2013/10/13/jobmatch/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Universal Jobmatch Still Riddled With Illegal Unpaid Work

uj-unpaid-work“Not paying the National Minimum Wage is illegal and if an employer breaks the law, government will take tough action,”

“Anyone considered a worker under the law should be paid at least the minimum wage, whether they are an intern, or someone on work experience.”

Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson MP

The Government job-seeking website Universal Jobmatch is still littered with illegal unpaid work despite David Cameron’s claims that companies who fail to pay the minimum wage will be ‘named and shamed’.

Many employers are using the site to offer unpaid work experience roles or internships such as this advertisement calling for”extremely hardworking” graduates to work in exchange for lunch and travel expenses.

Unless unpaid work experience positions form part of a formal Jobcentre scheme they are illegal under minimum wage laws.  The law is very clear and guidance on who is entitled to receive the minimum wage can be found on the same gov.uk website which hosts Universal Jobmatch.

These exploitative employers are far from the only criminals making use of this website to fleece unemployed people.  According to opportunistic wanker Frank ‘Atos’ Field, several of his constituents have been scammed after using the website by fake employers asking for bank details or money upfront for criminal record checks.

Field claims that half the jobs advertised on Universal Jobmatch may breach the terms and conditions of the site, a fact backed up by the recent Channel 4 investigation which found that over 11,000 bogus jobs on the website were invented by just one man.  Shady businessman Mark Coward received money from recruitment agency CV Library every time a jobseeker sent in their CV to apply for one of the fake jobs.  Last night Channel 4 News also revealed that over 20% of the jobs advertised on the site are duplicates.

It is genuinely astonishing that the DWP is aiding and abetting outright fraudsters by giving them an online platform to recruit victims.  Meanwhile one Government department is claiming they are cracking down on employers who don’t pay the minimum wage whilst the DWP are happily advertising these kinds of jobs on their own website.

Iain Duncan Smith can’t even run a fucking website without it being over-whelmed by scammers, fake jobs or illegal job vacancies. Yet he is still being handed billions to build a new IT system which he claims will revolutionise the benefits system when Universal Credit is finally launched.  The DWP already claim that Universal Jobmatch “revolutionises the way jobseekers look for work”.  If this is a sign of things to come then Universal Credit could be the most expensive and embarrassing Government IT farce that the UK has ever seen – and we’ve seen quite a few.

Whilst registration on the Unversal Jobmatch website can be mandated by Jobcentres, there is currently no requirement to tick the box allowing the DWP to snoop on your jobsearch (you can also untick the box which asks if they can send you emails).  You should be under no obligation to use the website anywhere but Jobcentres and there is really no need to tell the DWP if you have a home computer.  For the most up to date information on Universal Jobmatch and your rights visit: http://refuted.org.uk/jobmatch/

Fancy a break from work related activity – there’s an app for that.  Let Universal Automation take the strain whilst you put your feet up.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Workers Of The World Relax, Universal Automation Hits Google Store

Universal-Automation1-appIain Duncan Smith’s plans to force claimants to spend 35 hours a week endlessly applying for unsuitable jobs via the DWP’s shoddy jobsearch website have suffered another humiliating blow.

Universal Automation, which was recently released as a trial version, has now been launched in google’s Chrome store and is free to download.  The app automatically applies for jobs on Universal Jobmatch, the Jobcentre website that claimants are often forced to use as a condition of claiming benefits*.

According to the developers the latest version has several new features:

  • You can now set all Universal Jobmatch search parameters in the extension options. We added distance, posting date and job type.
  • The extension will apply for jobs on all pages of search results, not just the first one. To control that, you can set the maximum number of jobs the extension will apply for in a single session.
  • When the extension finishes applying, you can see a report with all jobs that were applied for.
  • There is a new delay option. It can be used to slow down automated applications so that the extension behaves more like a human using Universal Jobmatch.

Universal Automation was recently featured on The Guardian website, where those behind the app explained that the project was about more than just making life easier for unemployed people and winding up Iain Duncan Smith, but also aimed to highlight the drudgery of much of the work we do:

“We need to look at structural issues, such as role of unemployment in capitalist economy in general and also the particular condition of British economy at the moment. Basically most of work we do is at best socially useless and at worst actively harmful. Constant banging on about strivers, hard-working families, the squeezed middle and so on is only meant to obscure that,”

Whilst the app has designed to appear as ‘human’ as possible, obviously claimants should us this at their own risk.  As ever @refuted has good advice on twitter: “Would suggest anyone mandated to use #Jobmatch should create alternative account for experimenting with”.

To report any bugs or suggest improvements Universal Automation can be contacted via their website or @UniversalAutoma.  You can download the app at the link below in the time it takes to put the kettle on.  As the collective behind the app say themselves ‘Workers of the world … relax’.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/universal-automation/apfiloagjkhkilmdhlhppcnfpldmceke

The collective are blogging on tumblr at: http://universalautomation.tumblr.com/

* Whilst registration on the Unversal Jobmatch website can be compelled, there is currently no requirement to tick the box allowing the DWP to snoop on your jobsearch (you can also untick the box which asks if they can send you emails).  You should be under no obligation to use the website anywhere but Jobcentres and there is really no need to tell the DWP if you have a home computer.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid