Category Archives: JSA/Workfare/Work Programme

Austerity Might Be An Opportunity Says Welfare-To-Work Boss As She Eyes Up Jobcentres

Pauline could be heading for a P45 if ERSA get their way

Pauline could be heading for a P45 if ERSA get their way

Further austerity and welfare reforms might be seen as an opportunity says the chief spokesperson for the welfare-to-work sector Kirsty McHugh.

McHugh is Chief Executive of the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), the trade body established to lie on behalf of grasping welfare-to-work  parasites like G4S and Maximus.  In a blog post published after the election McHugh warns that some in her sector may view further austerity with trepidation, but points out that others may see it as an opportunity.

The reason for this optimism is because many of the leases for Jobcentre Plus offices are up for renewal over the next five years.  This could mean, according to McHugh, the possibility of out-sourcing Jobcentre services.

This is the long term ambition of the welfare-to-work sector, to take over Jobcentres completely.  Already ERSA have accused the current benefit sanctioning policy of being ‘bonkers’ and lobbied for Work Programme companies to be given a role in deciding whether to stop someone’s benefits.

This slow power grab has been ongoing for over a decade.  The DWP spends billions on salaries and admin costs and ERSA would like to see those billions going towards the companies they represent.  Of course this will mean tens of thousands of Jobcentre workers becoming unemployed (stop laughing).  But it will also mean the removal of any last lingering traces of humanity in the social security system as unemployed, sick and disabled people are transformed into nothing more than human commodities to be bought, sold and destroyed for profit.

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Over 4 Million People Who Want Jobs: Is The So-Called Jobs Miracle Shuddering To A Halt?

work-or-riotNewly appointed Minister of Death, Priti Patel, was allowed to write her first DWP press release this morning as labour market figures showed there were just 35,000 fewer unemployed people in the last three months.  This is the smallest quarterly fall in unemployment in nearly two years, and it is not the only bad news for the DWP – amongst those born in the UK the number of people with jobs fell slightly.

Youth unemployment, for people between 18 and 24, also rose in the latest period, for the second quarter running.  As did the number of hidden unemployed – people without a job who want one but are classed as ‘economically inactive’ rather than officially unemployed – which now stands at 2.298 million meaning the true number of unemployed people is 4.129 million.

The Claimant Count, which means the shrinking number of unemployed people who are still entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, fell by just 12,600, the smallest drop since March 2013.  The ‘experimental claimant count’ however, which also includes unemployed people transferred onto Universal Credit, fell by just 6,500.  The number of people claiming out of work sickness benefits rose by 5000 in the same period.

As ever, a large number of people who are officially employed are working part time – and the number of part time workers who want a full time job also rose in the latest period.  There are also 105,000 people on “government supported training and employment programmes”, better known as workfare, who are classed as employed in the official statistics.

The s0-called jobs miracle on which the Tories based much of their election campaign was always largely a myth that was more down to a growing population that Iain Duncan Smith’s bungled welfare reforms.  Today’s labour market figures suggest that even this may be coming to an end.  What they also show, beyond doubt, is that with over 4 million people chasing 750,000 vacancies, there are still no fucking jobs.

You can view the latest Labour Market Statistics on the ONS website.

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Priti Patel Appointed Minister Of Death At The DWP

priti-deathPriti Patel, staunch supporter of the death penalty, will replace unemployed former Employment Minister Esther Mcvey it has been announced today.  Patel has previously said that she supports the reintroduction of capital punishment as a ‘deterrence’, although she would not say whether she preferred hanging or electrocution.  Wanting to bring back state executions is only half the story of her malevolent past however.

Prior to becoming an MP, she worked as a public relations advisor to British American Tobacco, where she was linked to the sinister ‘Project Sunrise’.  This is believed to be part of the initiative established by cigarette firm Phillip Morris which aimed to create the “dawn of a new day” for the tobacco industry by smearing anti-smoking groups as extremist.

Patel continued supporting the tobacco industry on being elected, voting in favour of ending the smoking ban in 2010 and speaking out against plain cigarette packaging.

Patel also worked in corporate relations for alcohol giant Diageo, whose so-called charitable arm Tomorrow’s People were famously responsible for expecting unemployed unpaid workers to sleep under a bridge during the Queen’s Jubiliee celebrations.  In her new role as Employment Minister she will be responsible for handing out lucrative contracts to manage workfare schemes to organisation’s such as Tomorrow’s People.

In 2012 Patel was one of the auth0rs of Brittania Unchained, a nasty diatribe penned by five Tory MPs which accused British workers of being the “worst idlers in the world”.  The book called on the UK workforce to emulate China, where 70,000 people die in workplace accidents every year, or South Korea, the suicide capital of Asia.

Priti Patel and death have never been far away.  If her past tells us anything it is that she will put money before life at every turn. This is what the modern Tory Party represents.  Whether ex-confidence tricksters like Grant Shapps, or shills for the tobacco industry, if there’s money to be made then they have no care at all what the consequences of their actions may be.  That Priti Patel is now in charge of benefit sanctions and sickness benefit assessments that have already claimed a growing number of lives is genuinely chilling.  Death now stalks the corridors of the DWP like never before.

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Shameful: Scottish Charity Journal Publishes Terrorism Allegations Aimed At Boycott Workfare

glasgow-bwAn astonishing piece of gutter journalism has been published by charity journal Third Force News which accuses Boycott Workfare of terrorism and says that charities have been blackmailed into pulling out of unpaid work schemes.

According to Robert Armour, the journalist behind the piece, three Scottish charities including Glasgow the Caring City, have been “blackmailed, intimidated and bullied by campaigners associated with Boycott Workfare”.  One charity goes even further saying anyone who challenges the campaign is “subjected to abuse and terrorism”.

The above picture is a message left on Boycott Workfare’s facebook page just two days before the article appeared and which shows that Glasgow the Caring City appear to take a very different view of Boycott Workfare to that presented by Third Force News.  They even encourage Boycott Workfare to communicate their positive message to others in the voluntary sector.  Which would be incitement to commit terrorism if Third Force News’ claims were anything other than sensationalist bollocks.

The charity who accuse Boycott Workfare of terrorism  along with an organisation who claim to have received a threat of arson are not named by Third Force News, so there is little way of checking the truth of these allegations.  What is certain however is that Boycott Workfare had nothing to do with this or any other violent threat.  To attempt to blame every single incident on one campaign group is as ludicrous as blaming the fucking RSPCA if an animal right’s group torches a slaughterhouse.

There should be no doubt.  Threatening workfare using charities or their staff with violence is a dickish way to behave.  The person you are threatening might be on workfare themselves for a start. But whilst there are laws against sending communications which are threatening, obscene or designed to cause anxiety there is nothing illigal about firmly telling a charity what you think by writing to them or posting on their social media pages.  Or holding a protest outside their premises.  That is not blackmail, it is legitimate protest.  And that is all Boycott Workfare, and hundreds of other claimants and supporters, have ever called on people to do.  In the case of Glasgow the Caring City they didn’t even do that.  They merely informed people that an offshoot of this charity were using workfare.

There are dozens of groups actively fighting workfare in the UK and possibly thousands of individuals.  Martin Himes, the CEO of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) who publish Third Sector News is one of them.  All are resisting in different ways.  Some have opted for civil disobedience.  Others have protested online.  Perhaps as Third Force News claim a few have grassed up charities to health & safety representatives or the local council.  This is not surprising given the appalling conditions some people on workfare have to endure.  It is hardly fucking terrorism though is it?

The truth is that many people are disgusted that charities are involved in forced labour schemes which are backed by punitive benefit sanctions that are leading to horrendous suffering.  These charities may claim that all their forced workers are happy fucking slaves, but they never see the impact on those sanctioned because they couldn’t or didn’t want to work for them without pay.  The homelessness that sanctions cause, or people queuing at foodbanks, ill health and poverty.  Workfare using charities are responsible for those consequences, no matter how they squirm and spin and try to blame everyone except themselves.  To pretend otherwise is shameful.  For Third Force News to smear those trying to bring this vile system to an end by publishing ludicrous claims of terrorism is beneath contempt.

Third Force News are on twitter @ThirdForceNews if you want to tell them what you think of this trash (in a non-threatening, non-obscene way of course).

Boycott Workfare are holding a week of action against workfare and sanctions this week, join in and spread the word.

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The 2.25 Million Hidden Unemployed People Reveals The Stark Truth: There’s No Fucking Jobs

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A senior DWP manager has a motivational meltdown on twitter.

According to the latest statistics there are currently 1.84 million unemployed people.  There are also 1.3 million people working part time because they cannot find a full time job.  Nearly half a million people who are officially employed work less than six hours a week.  Over 100,000 so-called employed people are actually on unpaid workfare.

But even this only tells half the truth about the number of under and unemployed people in the UK.  There are a staggering 2.25 million people who are ‘economically inactive’ and want a job but who are not included in the unemployment figures.  That means the true number of unemployed people, if unemployed is defined as not having a job and wanting one – which is how it should be fucking defined – is over four million.

The reason you never hear of the missing 2.25 million is because of an international definition of what unemployed means which has been agreed by statisticians to allow comparisons of employment rates between different countries.  As such unemployed, as far as the official figures are concerned,  means someone who is currently out of work, available to start work immediately and who has looked for a job in the last four weeks.  Clearly this does not include everyone who is really unemployed.  It doesn’t even include half of them.

The 2.25 million hidden unemployed include those who have simply stopped looking for a job in despair (40,000 people) along with those looking after the family home but who would rather be in work, people forced into early retirement against their will and sick and disabled people who want jobs.

There are currently just 743,000 vacancies, many of them part time or temporary.  If everybody who was unemployed found work tomorrow there would still be around 3.5 million people out of work who wanted a job.  There are not enough jobs for everybody.  Everybody knows this really, even Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank who said last year that “reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible nor desirable”.

Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people but a lack of jobs.  So trying to ‘fix’ unemployed people with endless workfare, assessments and benefit sanctions will do nothing to fix unemployment.  Yet every major political party pretends to think it will.  The reason for this is that the public used to blame the government, or even capitalism, for unemployment.  Politicians however would rather they blame disabled people or lone parents.  Better that than governments having to admit to their own own ineptness –  or even worse acknowledge that the magical free market will not create a job for everyone.

The latest attempts to cure people of unemployment would be almost laughable if the impact on people’s lives were not so tragic.  Jobcentres are now being run like cults, with managers spouting mumbo jumbo motivational garbage like Sandra Lambert‘s now deleted twitter feed calling on staff to ‘pink up the pace’ and handing out sheriff stars to Jobcentres which meet benefit sanction targets.  Half-arsed online Cognitive Behavor Therapies are on the way, to cure unemployed people’s mental health problems.  Pull yourself together and get a job is the message from the DWP for those who are unable to work due to depression or other mental health conditions.  Forced treatment for some groups has been threatened should the Tories win the election.

That this flies in the face of what is considered good practice amongst psychologists no longer seems to matter.  Unemployed people are now fair game for almost any kind of treatment as long as it’s designed to punish and scapegoat.  Claimants have at best been abandoned and at worst openly attacked even by charities and institutions which claim to support those with a mental health condition.

Towards the end of last year the president elect of the British Psychological Society (BPS),  Jamie Hacker Hughes promised the body would carry out an enquiry into the use of pseudo-psychology, benefit sanctions and workfare.  Yet nothing has happened so far.  As part of the week of action against workfare and sanctions contact them and demand they speak out against the current regime which has driven some claimants to suicide.  Claimants do not have time to wait for them to get their act together, people are being pushed into desperate poverty and sometimes even their deaths now.  To not speak up is to be complicit in the actions of this Government and hands a licence to whoever wins next week’s election to carry on in the same way.

There are not enough jobs.  Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people.  The mistreatment of unemployed, sick and disabled people must stop.  That is what anyone with a conscience must now be saying, as loudly as fucking possible.

The British Psychological Society are on twitter @BPSOfficial  and have a facebook page.

The Labour Market Statistics are published monthly and the latest release on which these figures are based can be found at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/april-2015/statistical-bulletin.html

For more contact details and information about the rise of pseudo-science being used to bully unemployed people visit Boycott Workfare’s website.

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Join The Week Of Action Against Workfare And Tell @bmstores What You Think

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If you exploit us we will shut you down.

From Boycott Workfare

Take action against persistent workfare exploiters B&M Stores as part of the Week of Action vs Workfare and Sanctions!

B&M Stores has won an award from the workfare industry for their support for forced unpaid labour. The harsh reality of their involvement is exploitation of claimants – people working for nothing under the constant threat of sanctions – and workfare being used to reduce overtime and replace paid staff.

“B&M stores started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the other workers.”

Boycott Workfare has had several reports of reduced hours for paid staff as well as the practice of employing paid staff on a trial basis, sacking them after 12 weeks, and replacing them with workfare placements.

“Just to let you know B&M Stores have taken on new staff under a workfare scheme. This was 1 month after staff hours were cut by 50%. This meant my hours were cut from 20 to 10.”

B&M Stores made over £100 million profit last year but still they use forced unpaid labour.

B&M Stores have over 400 stores from Perth in Scotland to Portsmouth in the South of England. They have expanded by using workfare grabs from any local JobCentrePlus. It has been reported that in one B&M Store “older or long term staff were sacked and a new wave of 20 workfare placements taken on.”

What you can do:

Thanks to your efforts, more and more businesses and charities are withdrawing from workfare.  Keep up the pressure and let B&M Stores know:  ’if they exploit us, we will close them down!’

Use twitter, facebook and direct action to expose B&M Stores and call for a boycott of their stores.  Workfare exploits claimants and means poorer pay and conditions for all workers.

Tweet them @bmstores

Email customer services

Phone: 0151 728 5400 (remember to speak politely)

Facebook

Visit their Corporate Website

You could also let workfare apologists ERSA know what you think about awards that celebrate companies that profit from exploiting claimants.

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Week Of Action Against Workfare And Sanctions Begins Tomorrow: Events Announced So Far

Boycott-Workfare-action No workfare. No sanctions. Whoever wins we will resist!

Latest details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4239

25th April, London – Sanction Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shops: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4298

25th April, Chingford – IDS – the Butcher of Benefits must go! DPAC action: https://www.facebook.com/events/630040803794662/

25 April, Leeds – Leeds Welfare Fightback will be out in Briggate throughout the week with stalls and leaflets.
https://www.facebook.com/events/695030883952537/

29th April, Edinburgh – Demonstrate at High Riggs Jobcentre, by Tollcross, Edinburgh: http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/165

1st May, Bristol – Bristol May day demo – Combat Workfare: https://www.facebook.com/events/1578782925705919/

2nd May, London – Sanction the Salvation Army: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4281

Daily leafleting in Haringey, London: email info@haringey.org to get involved

Actions in the Netherlands: http://www.doorbraak.eu/25-april-to-2-may-international-week-of-action-against-workfare-and-sanctions-come-join-us/

Disabled People Against the Cuts have called for a “Revenge Tour” in the same week: https://www.facebook.com/events/726806607436136/

Please share, tweet, blog and help spread the word about all events!

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