Reports are suggesting that thousands of unemployed people may be forced to sign up to Universal Jobmatch this week despite the site being so poorly constructed that registration is near impossible at times.
Several Jobcentres are believed to have threatened people with a ‘Jobseekers Direction’ unless they register with the new government job search website and allow DWP snoops access to their account. This unprecedented and chilling intrusion means that anyone claiming benefits could now be forced to sign away their rights under the Data Protection Act or face poverty and possible homelessness due to having benefits sanctioned.
It will not just be unemployed people who face being stripped of their privacy rights should this continue. When Universal Credit is launched next year millions of people, whether single parents,or those who are sick, disabled or working part time, will be expected to constantly prove they are seeking ‘more or better paid work’ to satisfy benefit conditions. With DWP staff already over-stretched it seems certain that Universal Jobmatch will be the mechanism used to police and monitor claimant’s jobsearch.
Universal Jobmatch is a job matching website where employers can browse the CVs of claimants and use the DWP to threaten people into applying for jobs. Jobcentre staff can also select job vacancies which claimants must then apply for or face losing benefits.
Already many employers have refused to use the service due to concerns about being overwhelmed by mass spam job applications. Many of the jobs on offer are part time, self-employed or appear to be recruitment agencies simply attempting to hoover up personal details of claimants for their databases. Barely any checks are made to see if an employer is genuine leading to fears that the site could be exploited by everyone from illegal gang masters to abusive ex-partners. Over the weekend the vacancy pictured above appeared for an ‘elimination specialist’ with MI6 quoting a reference number of 007.
Despite this some Jobcentres are attempting to sign people up by force in direct contravention of DWP guidelines insisting the scheme is not (yet) mandatory. Other claimants have reported that their Jobcentre barely seem to have heard of the scheme. Perhaps most importantly, the website simply doesn’t work. The site constantly times out with accessing job vacancies and registration just not possible at times. Claimants mandated to sign up to the site could find themselves stripped of benefits merely because the shabby Universal Jobmatch website is virtually unusable.
Claimants may be expected to do one of two things. Firstly they could be ordered to register with Universal Jobmatch and secondly to tick the box which allows Jobcentre staff to access their accounts. Unless forced to under threat of sanctions the best advice is to do neither. There is no need to register with the website to view and apply for most of the vacancies.
The DWP are attempting to launch a crude surveillance system of jobseeking activity on the cheap. If Universal Jobmatch fails then upcoming plans to force part time workers into endless jobsearch, or compel unemployed people to spend 35 hours a week looking for non-existent jobs, are likely to prove unworkable.
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