How The TUC Always Planned To Abandon Out of Work Benefit Claimants

boycott-workfare-real-jobsThe TUC’s shameful support of workfare may be part of a deliberate strategy of trying to win support for the welfare state by abandoning those they believe people see as the ‘undeserving poor’.

Towards the end of last year the TUC invited disability and anti-poverty charities to a one day conference called Winning on Welfare.  The real reason for this misnamed vol-au-vent munching session however was to discuss the terms of surrender as the TUC announced they planned to focus their support for social security on working claimants only.  They were quite candid about the reasons for this, a document accompanying the event explained:

“We must understand that the government has majority support for its general approach and that there is very strong support for some changes such as the benefit cap … People think that the current system is unfair as they think there is too much abuse and a dependency culture which keeps people from getting a job.”

The remedy for this according to the TUC is “to show that the government’s welfare reforms are a threat to the hard working people the government claim to support in the welfare debate.”  As such the TUC have decided to abandon people who are unemployed or unable to work due to chlld or other care commitments, sickness or disability.  Instead they will focus on the five week wiating period set to be a part of Universal Credit and on warning ‘hard working people’ what might happen to them if they lose their job or become unable to work.

This policy was manufactured based on a poll they carried out which found that some people had negative views of benefit claimants.  This was followed up with two further focus groups made up of people with “soft support” for the government’s current policies.  Somewhat predictably these groups were found to have views which softly supported the  government’s current policies.

Despite this however, most people strongly supported the principles of social security, even down to specific types of benefit such as Tax Credits or disability benefits.  The only benefit which was unpopular overall was Housing Benefit, which goes into the pockets of landlords, not claimants.

This apparant contradiction has been a feature of other research into people’s views on the benefits system, including that produced by the DWP.  Whilst Iain Duncan Smith has made much of the popularity of the Benefit Cap, the number in support fell to less than half if it was shown to cause people to have to move from their local area.  A DWP poll showed support for the Bedroom Tax initially, yet once people realised the suffering it would cause it became an electoral liability.

What all the research seems to show is that some people, usually slightly over half, are responsive to the kind of scrounger rhetoric that has poisoned the debate about social security.  But they are also often passionate supporters of the principles of a welfare state and do not want to lose it.

Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are built on lies: two of the main ones being that the social security system was generous to begin with, and that there is a job for everybody if they just try hard enough.  These lies began under the last Labour government who decided that even people with serious illnesses should be declared fit for work and forced to compete in the jobs market.  They called this equality, even empowerment.  It has caused breath-taking suffering.

There are around four million people on out of work benefits.  The most recent figures show there are about 650,000 job vacancies.  The idea that there is enough work to go around isn’t even taken seriously by the Tory think tank who designed current welfare policies, and who recently said that reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible nor desirable.  As for the lie that the social security system was generous, well a million people using foodbanks soon demolishes that claim.

Many of those using foodbanks are working and of course in-work benefits must be defended.  The TUC could even go further and fight – really fight, not just print leaflets – to get those workers a decent wage.  That is the point of trade unions after all.  But to betray those out of work, just because 52% of people agreed that “too many people depend on government hand outs”, is inexcusable.  Winning on welfare means actually having the fucking argument not cravenly following the whims of whatever a polling company says public opinion is this week.  It means not cowardly accepting the Labour Paty’s current policies which seem to favour a two-tier social security system based on how long people have been in work, with benefits stopped or means tested for the young and forced work for people who are longer-term unemployed.

This is how we lose the welfare state.  By begging for compromises instead of demanding comprehensive social security for everybody.  By conceding defeat based on weak public opinion instead of arguing that it is an atrocity that people should go hungry in one of the richest countries in the world.  By not fighting against unpaid work, the one area where the TUC could actually make a real difference.  Unless they radically change course, the TUC must not be allowed to set the terms of this debate.  Because at the moment they are sadly not on our side.

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73 responses to “How The TUC Always Planned To Abandon Out of Work Benefit Claimants

  1. overburdenddonkey

    well i never, unions were @ 1st highly unpopular but they won consensus, by fighting for they are cosy they snuggle up to this grotesque co-dependency..citing their lack of spine for a fight, as the reason they do!

  2. This is really interesting – I’ve been invited to speak at my local TUC meeting later this month on the effects of Welfare Reform on disabled people – I’ll let you know what they say to this!

  3. fired4having_social_difficulites

    dont forget they will fuck you over and not pay you for the first 3 days of your claim while they “process” your claim. so in total that would be 6 days they have wormed there way out of paying you.

  4. So instead of the TUC protecting people from injustice, as they should, instead they completely ignore the fact that most support for Tory and Labour benefit cuts and demonisation is based on partial information or misinformation.

    The TUC could have challenged such ignorance and misinformation, but no, they choose to do the the Daily Mail’s job for them.

    Ridiculous state of affairs.

  5. There ARE and have always been “enough jobs/work for everyone” the problem is the Government thinks only they and their old University buddies deserve to be PAID for doing them. They could insist on a real living wage from employers and drop all the in-work benefits but thats not going to happen.
    There is nothing intrinsically good about work without pay, in fact the more actual hard work you do in your lifetime the more likely you are to die young-take a look in a retirement home, what proportion of the residents were in construction/mining or any other heavy industry compared to the pen pusher type occupations?

    • Half of those who worked in heavy industry are in nursing homes because the pen pushers put them there unnecessarily to free up housing, or to make those who own their own homes use the value of it to create jobs in the care sector.
      The middle/upper class can afford to pay for a carer to live in with their aged parents just as they have nannies, cleaners etc.
      The problem lies in wage difference and indifference.

  6. Fuckin typical. Like their fellow-collaborators the Labour party, they base their policies not upon long-held values or conviction, but upon whatever’s popular with the ill-informed, dumbfuck public. Christ, it’s pathetic.

  7. It is extraordinary a Union supporting people doing jobs for companies at taxpayers expense. This destroys jobs – why would employers pay wages if they get workers for free? What ‘s going on here? You go to work and pay taxes. Even if you don’t go to work you pay taxes. You lose your job or can’t work. Employer provides a job but only if the taxpayer pays the wages. Nice little number for the employer. But is it the taxpayers job to pay the employers wages? Who dreamed up this racket. Have our Unions been infiltrated by the Mafia that they are going along with it?

  8. Rosemarie Harris

    The trouble with the TUC now is they are run by people who have no brains but get loads of money pretending they are for peoples rights.
    Should be sacked the bloody lot of them or perhaps we should volunteer to do their jobs after all they aren’t doing any good .. and now .just part of the problem!
    Who gave them the mandate to speak for all the other unions?

  9. These “polls” are the product of the framing of the questions asked, of course. If “too many live on handouts” was asked with the added caveat that £2 out of every £3 goes on pensioners, and the breakdown figures for the in-work and unwaged also shown, one knows instinctively there would be a different response. Of course. But we all know that propaganda is the game here, not illumination.

    I feel there may be a turning of the tide, when staunch Tory voters I know have started saying that Cameron has f**ked the UK, where they see that where we once led, we are now the poor relatives, especially on the NHS, and transport and things that matter to the workers even in SE England. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

    As for the Unions, let’s save the condemnation for the leadership, as many grassroots I know are horrified by this turn of events, but are somewhat afraid of the propaganda coup their open rebellion would hand to the ConDems. For all who have abandoned us, there will be a day of reckoning, even for the union bosses. Guaranteed.

    • I would definitely say that the way questions are framed in many surveys are biassed and contain leading questions that are designed to elucidate a certain response. Many of these so called ‘scientific’ survey questions refer to garbage printed in the Daily Mail and other newspapers aimed at those dead from the neck upwards.

      As for propaganda, that is certainly the case, so maybe we should be producing our own propaganda that points out the real figures? I shall certainly start to do that with all the literature I produce for the local IWW branch I’m a member of.

      I’m not sure that anything will change within the TUC. I know that many workers who are in constituent unions are horrified and that there are many good activists in the mainstream unions who feel totally let down by their union leadership. Open rebellion would probably be an own goal, but why not become ‘dual carders’ and join a union like the IWW as well? There are many members of the IWW who are also members of one of the mainstream trade unions who have become totally hacked off by the craven attitudes of their leaders and the TUC. If there was a significant shift in the direction of people joining the IWW the TUC unions would soon take note – though many of the mainstream union leaderships don’t like the IWW because it’s too ordinary member orientated for their comfort…

  10. you see when we the real labour party their children went to public schools and then followed their parent into politics has it doesnt take much to be a mp but a good talker now the same happens to the unions and cosying up to tories is hobnobing with them but the lower ranks can p off it seems we been sold down the river by all jeff3

  11. Always a difficult choice; To do what is popular, or to do what is right? It ought to be easy but of course money once again gets in the way of sanity. TUC needs to keep it’s support and it thinks this is the way to do it. The non working poor are clearly too toxic even for them.

    It scares me that the media has seemingly brain washed people so completely they no longer see the suffering of others as repunant and wrong. Rather it is a rightful punishment to encourage the lazy poor to do the right thing and support themselves, no excuses.

    People going hungry, cold, losing their homes and yes, starving to death in our country should be shocking yet it is not. Instead we reserve our revulsion for beheadings and suffering etc abroad where we reason the perpetraters are barbarians and not like us.

    I think if we take a step back we should see that hungry is hungry, cold is cold and dead is dead. Shame on our country that it passes judgement without compassion or understanding, preferring to close it’s eyes to the suffering of it’s fellow countrymen rather than open it’s heart and it’s wallet a little. Can anyones judgement really be considered sound, when they condone the suffering of human beings?

    Labour and the TUC need to ‘Man up’ and tackle the myths about the dependacy culture and scrougers. Looking after the welfare state isn’t about condoning fecklessless, it’s about decency and compassion and providing a much needed safety net for those in need, at home and a civilised country holding it’s head high in the world.

    • Completely right. It is all lies because the jobs aren’t’ there. It is just scapegoating to distract from the govt ‘s failure to provide jobs.

      • Another Fine Mess

        because the jobs aren’t’ there

        I’ve just been on yet another employability/cv improving ‘course.
        I spoke to most of the 18ish of them there, there was an ex-teacher, ex-civil service, and various tech bods, even I’m shocked at the amount of jobs, work experience and qualifications people had.

        • Hit the wrong button. Sorry. Stigmatising the unemployed when the jobs aren’t there is a disgusting tactic from the people who are responsible for the jobs not being there. They are the ones who should be stigmatised – not forgetting their cheating and scrounging on expenses etc.

  12. Vote NO. Under Wee Alec Salmon’s Tartan dictatorship everything would be far worse.

    • You obviously don’t see what is going on do you? I’m not voting for Salmond, I’m not voting for the SNP. I’m voting YES for the future of Scotland and my grandchildren and so on. You are obviously on another planet if you can’t see just how great a country Scotland can become without Westminster.
      You only have to go on the net, or YouTube and you’ll find the amount of foreign countries who believe in Scotland and their reasons which have absolutely no bias.

    • The McSporrans (undecided)

      Although a “YES” victory does sound kind of good in a chocolate-chip cookie kind of away we can’t helped thinking of the initial euphoria that surrounded Blair’s victory (Things can only get better) and the pile of cow-dung that soon descended into. We have a feeling that a “YES” vote would soon descend into a similar pile of cow-dung only this time excreted by one of the Highland variety. A fascist state?: The evidence speak for itself; we only have to look the damage the Scottish Parliament has done to the Scottish legal system, not even surpassed by the English in over 300 years; and there will be a parcel of lobby-groups waiting in the wings to seize the opportunity to inflict more “progressive”/fascist laws on the good people of Scotland. It we be good if we got the kind of Utopian society we all dream about but going by past form and knowing the way politicians will all to readily sell the electorate down the river I fear that Scotland would become an “experimental” fascist country where it’s people were subject to all kinds of abuses. Saying all that, however, we still think that Scottish “independence” , although unlikely to happen, would be an interesting “experiment”. Maybe we could have a dual YES/NO victory and enter a sort of parallel universe equipped with a time-machine into the future to to see which turned out for the better.

      • overburdenddonkey

        The McSporrans
        i could see blair for what he is..he didn’t fool me for a minute…i just don’t get that same feeling with the yes camp..their will be no utopia, but slow gradual change for the better…download weebluebook…

      • Agree, Scotland has being moving in the direction of a “progressive” tyranny, thus far that is the dominant political narrative of an independent Scotland.

        • overburdenddonkey

          yeah a bit like we have now, body mind and soul have to exist somewhere ..we can no longer hunt and gather freely for vitality giving, vitals of life, so tyranny will always exist, in some form or another..we’ll always be working for a master….we need land reform, alt techs perma-culture, eco developments et al…we can reduce tyranny gradually…see the work of the jimmy reid foundation…instead of continuing to be sucked dry to the marrow by those that control assets.. but can you give me an alternative, so what’s your solution?

      • Time machine and parallel universes are the stuff of science fiction… 🙂

      • The McHaggis's (probably won't vote)

        The evidence speaks for itself – indeed, and probably why failed solicitor Kenny “bawbag” MacKaskill has shelved his iniquitous plan to drop the corroboration requirement in Scottish criminal trials; corroboration being both time-honoured and the cornerstone of Scottish justice. Anyone who was (unfortunate) enough to watch this particular debate on the BBC Parliament channel must have had at least some misgivings as to giving this particular parcel ‘o rogues ( and Police Scotland – the most corrupt organisation in Scotland) even more power and control over their lives.

        • The McHaggis's (probably won't vote)

          Holyrood ‘has harmed’ Scots law

          The Scottish Parliament has been accused of doing more harm to the independent Scots legal system than Westminster managed in 300 years.

          In an article in The Times, a leading legal commentator says legislation has often been passed to satisfy tabloid newspapers’ agendas.

          Solicitor-advocate Alistair Bonnington said huge damage had been done to Scots law by the Holyrood Parliament.

          He said long-held beliefs on the right to a fair trial had been dumped.

          Mr Bonnington, a former honorary professor of law at Glasgow University, cites the ending of double jeopardy – where an accused person cannot be tried twice for the same offence – as one example.

          Paradox and tragedy

          And he argues that proposals to end the need for corroboration and also allow juries to be told the previous convictions of a person in the dock represent “the destruction of two of the gold standards of Scots criminal law”.

          Mr Bonnington writes: “From the Union of 1707 until the present day, Scots law has managed to continue to exist, and sometimes even thrive, as an independent legal system within the UK.

          “It is one of the main things which has made Scotland different. Indeed, without Scots law, the claim to have distinct nation status would be absurd.”

          He continued: “It is a paradox and a tragedy that since 1999 huge damage has been done to it by the Scottish Parliament.

          “Sadly it is not going too far to say that Holyrood has done more harm to Scots law than Westminster managed in over 300 years.”

          He is particularly critical of MSPs passing legislation to make criminal offences which have been illegal under Common Law since the Middle Ages.

          Examples are the recent enactment of sectarian aggravation of breach of the peace and anti-stalking legislation.

          “The approach of the Scottish Parliament often seems to be to legislate in accordance with the agenda of tabloid newspapers,” he said.

          “This, instead of creating laws for public benefit.”

          Reform consultation

          His criticisms have been supported by Anne Ritchie, vice-president of Glasgow Bar Association.

          She said such legislation was passed in reaction to an event – but ultimately it was not satisfactory.

          “In any crime, there are a number of people affected, including victims and their families,” she said.

          “Passing legislation afterwards, however well-meaning, doesn’t affect their lives or undo the harm they have suffered.”

          In a statement, the Scottish government said it agreed law reform must be properly considered and researched.

          “Reform of the law on double jeopardy followed a detailed assessment by the independent Scottish Law Commission and a government consultation exercise,” the statement said.

          “The principle against multiple trials has not been abolished. As in England and Wales and other jurisdictions, a limited exception has been created to allow a new trial only where new evidence with a significant impact emerges following the first trial.”

        • The McHaggis's (probably won't vote)

          “has shelved his iniquitous plan to drop the corroboration requirement [until after the Independence Referendum]” … oops, bit of a late night for us 🙂

    • And the UK has done so very well under Tory and Labour leadership? To name a few; Lee Rigby, Slough Indoctrinations, Sanctions, out of control immigration and the list goes on. I’m not Scottish but wish them every luck in getting out of being linked to this vile state that is more invested in the war effort and wayward political correctness…

  13. I’d like to know why anyone pays their dues to unions like this. After all, if you are made redundant or lose your job for any other reason, the TUC won’t be interested in you anymore, ‘cos you are not working!
    The only way to stop the unions getting so far up themselves is for everyone to stop paying their dues. They can’t throw everyone out of a job so why pay to work.
    And, I’ve always been a strong Labour supporter, but have never been fond of these arrogant people who are getting rich from our money!

  14. Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    The TUC – not a good union at all.

  15. Landless Peasant

    Fuck the Unions, fuck the Politicians, fuck the Employers, fuck the Work Programme, fuck Capitalism. I know I’ll never work again and I’ve perhaps another 15 – 20 years left on this planet if I’m (un)lucky? Bollocks to it all.

  16. Wake up people, the leaders of the TUC (just like politicians) do as they are told!, the NSA/GCHQ know ALL their dirty secrets.

    The USA rules the USA/Europe with it, “Knowledge is power”.

  17. Johnny, why do you come across as surprised by this ratcheting up of whats left of the welfare state in favour of social differentials and unionised labour?

    Most socialists I have engaged have always been ambivalent if not hostile to comprehensive welfare and have chocked on the compassion element of that principle.

    • Well, I very much doubt they are really ‘socialists’… I’ve never described myself as a socialist for that very reason – because when it comes down to it most so called socialists I have met are full of it and lack any true compassion or real understanding of what socialism really means.

      I’m just an anarchist, so what do I know?

  18. Reblogged this on SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH and commented:
    I said something similar HERE (Better than Nothing?)

    I have als0 always advocated that socialists are not very good at explaining the failings of capitalism and the benefits to the working man of socialism.

    And here the TUC highlight that proposition admirably; argue the damned case and don’t allow popular opinion, cultivated by politicians and the media to take the high ground.

    • “ … People think that the current system is unfair as they think there is too much abuse and a dependency culture which keeps people from getting a job.”

      IDS could have dictated that TUC statement of principle, the ideological trick is that it is not the TUC that is outwith their ideological boundaries but IDS playing the revolutionary politics of the left – strange a capitalist cheerleading full employment and the welfare of collective and rigid employment.

  19. Part of the problem is that the current welfare state is supported by taxes on people’s income from work, and not unearned income like rents, dividends, corporate profits, financial transactions, inheritances. And all the loot stashed away in tax havens. In the best of all possible worlds, (!) you’d think the TUC would target these to expand welfare at a time when the number of jobs are shrinking, but no, the same old contributory nonsense, as though working class people haven’t been ‘contributing’ to the general capitalist surplus for generations. To say nothing of the empire.

    The reliance on earned income taxes for welfare creates the structural division now exploited by the media and politicians. And hidden behind by the TUC. The worst of it is they don’t even seem to realise that they’re shooting themselves in the foot – the expansion of workfare, as pointed out by others, will only further decrease the number of decently paid jobs under the unions’ remit. (And while they’re not bothering to organise people on zero hour / precarious contracts…)

    A recent pilot study in Sheffield showed that when it was explained, there was 80% support for unconditional basic income. A recent Guardian poll (much less scientific) came up 78% in favour: So there are polls and then there are polls. If the TUC had any courage they’d take a look at this.

    Although I realise the immediate need to directly defend people from policies which are killing them, I think we also have to campaign for more positive solutions – like basic income, like higher taxes on private unearned income, like universal provision of housing, healthcare, education. So the TUC is doing what it’s always done for at least the last 30 years – capitulating to capital – but it’s not enough to grouch about it, we need to fight for something better.

  20. Fenriss is obviously a wee zombie fan. Best avoiding debate with the likes of him who think they are the people and they cling to the belief they are part of some British empire with there lizard queen ruling all before them.

    Mary doll was great last night and she could have just swung it our way.

    • Rab C. would have raged at the political glitterati Mary doll’s lack of commitment to welfare.


    • The Famines over…..

      • What a fucking wanker you are Fenriss. Your racist song shows that I was correct in what I said. This is a song that the nazi zombie fans sing about the irish famine. They are obsessed with songs of hate and I could spot you a mile away you nazi prick. Thanks for proving me correct.

  21. Highlighting the fact unions, the Tories and Labour cannot be trusted only raises the bigger question as to what alternative is there? UKIP? I’m very hesitant to vote at all but choosing the lesser evil of three options seems to be the only clear choice as no-one seems capable of providing any other solution…

  22. The trouble with Unions, Labour, and Socialism altogether, is that it defines me and you as “Workers” from day one. I am not a Worker, I am a Human Being. I do not belong to the Corporations, I am not owned by the Capitalists. I might consider becoming a Worker IF you pay me a very good wage and I happen to like the job. Otherwise, get fucked.

    • Leave out the first sentence (“The trouble with unions…”) and you could put the rest on a t-shirt! You hit the nail on the head there, LP. Your Best. Comment. Ever. (And, wow, no swearing!)

  23. Pingback: How The TUC Always Planned To Abandon Out of Wo...

  24. i believe that jobs as we knew them are over. but the system/establishment can’t allow that. it will make them also redundant.
    thinks about it.. how many skilled people are on the scrapheap now?
    i kinda did a rough blog about it a while back, and a lot has become clearer since then. but hope it makes sense:

  25. I attended two job fairs in the last twelve months and the same employers you expect to see were in attendance. The one at the city hall and the one at the jobcentre had no one checking. They used to make us queue up and give our names to someone with a clipboard before they allowed us entry but that seems to have been stopped. In fact, the employers at the jobs fair held at the jobcentre wanted everyone to apply online for any jobs they had. At least it is an activity that we can put in our job efforts.

  26. Last job fair I went to I was ordered to attend by the Job Centre as It was mandatory. I spent 40 minutes on two buses, only to speak to several employers who were recruiting amongst school leavers only for apprenticeship schemes paying £100 per week. No one was there to take my name and i returned home by the next bus five minutes later. To add insult to injury when I next signed on the desk clerk refused to refund my £8 bus fares as travel by train was the cheaper option. I explained that I was not prepared to walk half an hour to the station to wait another 20 minutefor a train, and repeat the process on the way back. I was then reluctantly given the return train fare of £4. I have also been given the details of another job fair in the town I live in, but no details of employers except for one who is offering several jobs I have ALREADY applied for online. If I am mandated at my next Job Centre review to attend I want it in writing and they are getting ten minutes at the most.

  27. All of Britain is Enslaved under this Neo Liberalism and Neo Nazism
    and Apolitical Zomblielike State of People

  28. Racial Hatred and Warmongering such as the Demonisation of Russia
    has to be Opposed

    We Need Social Justice in the UK Not to be Stooges of the Nazi Regime
    in Kiev

    So many Boneheads get Brainwashed by this Disease of Racism when
    it does Nothing to Help the Poor and only make’s the World a Nasty

  29. Poor People in England and Wales may Not be Helped by Scotland
    breaking Away short of a Political Earthquake that gets the Con Dem
    Boneheads Out

    People Need to Stop being Apolitical Zombies

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