Tag Archives: Lord Fraud

Zero-hours Contracts and Universal Credit Are Still A Car Crash Waiting To Happen

DWP officials meet to discuss the implementation of Universal Credit

DWP officials meet to discuss the implementation of Universal Credit

Comments this week by the barely employable Employment Minister Esther McVey are so out of touch with the realities of work that they could only have been made by someone who’s never had a real job.

Forcing claimants to take on zero-hour contracts will be unworkable under upcoming changes to the benefit’s system and is likely to lead to huge numbers of people having benefits sanctioned and facing homelessness.  This will not be ‘enabling’ as McVey claimed.

For a long time now DWP Ministers have been panicking about how Universal Credit and increased benefit conditionality can possibly work alongside zero-hours contracts.  When the new benefit is fully introduced (stop laughing), claimants working part time will be forced to carry out ‘work related activity’ in the hours they are not working or have their in-work benefits stopped.  The DWP appear to have confirmed that this will include Housing Benefits, meaning that homelessness is to be added to forced work and child poverty as yet another weapon to police the poor.  Work related activity might mean attending a private sector company for shoddy job search sessions or CV workshops, signing on at the Jobcentre everyday, or in many cases workfare.

Claimants will also be expected to give up their current job for one with more hours at the drop of a hat, or take on an additional job until they are earning the equivalent of the minimum wage for 35 hours a week (or slightly less for lone parents).

What this means is that nobody will be able to sign a contract with irregular hours which expects the worker to be available at any time and not to work for anyone else.  With 1.4 million employees now on zero-hours contracts, that will mean unemployed people will not be able to take these kinds of jobs and stay within the new benefit rules.

The Government have said they are looking into banning ‘exclusive’ zero-hour contracts which tie workers into one employer.  They will have a fight on their hands with some of the greediest and most powerful companies in the country. They also say claimants will not be forced to take up these kinds of contracts.  But none of this will make any difference in practice to people in low paid insecure jobs under pressure to be at work at short notice.

As anyone who’s ever had a real job will know, most bosses are wankers.  You just try telling some jumped up supermarket manager that you can’t take a shift because you have to go and do your other zero-hours contract job instead and see how long you last.  It won’t matter if they are banned from saying in your contract that you can’t work for other people.  They’ll just sack you if you can’t go to work one day because your shift clashes with your other job.  The whole point of most zero-hours contracts is that workers are expected to be available to turn up at any time or at short notice after all.

Comedy toff Lord Fraud had already suggested that people could have two zero-hour contracts when he begged the business community not to use exclusive contracts and change their business practices to fit in with the Universal Credit regime.  He seems to think employers care more about implementing Iain Duncan Smith’s latest crazy scheme than they do about making money out of ripping off their workers.  But at least he realises there is a problem.  McVey is either in complete denial or is just plain ignorant about how the business world now works.

Universal Credit long ago became a bad joke, and one that will have desperate consequences.  Jobcentre advisors will soon have more power over workers than their bosses as people are forced into an endless juggle to keep one, two or more employers happy and maintain their ‘work related activity’.  Whether someone gets sacked or sanctioned, or both,  the outcome will be the same.  Thousands of people, some with children, left without any money to buy food and unable to pay the rent.

Above pic from here

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The Chilling Truth About Universal Credit: Bosses To Be The Gate-Keepers Of Benefits

lord-fraud-freudEmployers failing to provide tax information on time or going out of business could lead to vital in-work benefits going unpaid Lord Fraud confirmed in a speech this week.

When Universal Credit is finally introduced (stop laughing) it will replace almost all current in-work benefits including Child and Working Tax Credits, along with Housing Benefits.

Unlike the current system, benefit rates will be calculated monthly based on tax information sent to the DWP by employers.  This had led to concerns that if employers fail to send in PAYE information on time, or go out of business, then benefits will go unpaid or be paid at the wrong rate.  Lord Fraud confirmed that this would be the case in his speech this week when he said:

“the new PAYE in real time system has been designed to support Universal Credit payments. 99% of employers are now reporting their PAYE in real time every month. Not only does it prevent fraud, it ensures that every person who is in work on Universal Credit has their award automatically adjusted every month, based on these returns. So it’s absolutely crucial that you as employers report this accurately, as this will affect the payments of claimants.”

So should you have a dispute with your employer, or get the sack, then your boss will have the power to fuck up your claim for benefits.  For those with the most unscrupulous employers the implications are terrifying. Join a union, or complain about working conditions, and your employer will soon be able to stop your Housing Benefit and make you homeless.

Not to worry though because Lord Fraud suggested that under Universal Credit people could have multiple zero hours contracts instead of real jobs.  According to the minister these kind of contracts: “support business flexibility, they provide entry to work for young people and give people the flexibility to combine work with other commitments”.

In-work conditionality rules under Universal Credit will mean part-time workers face Jobcentre harassment and benefit sanctions to force them to constantly look for a better paid job or more work elsewhere.  They could even be sent on workfare in the hours they aren’t working.  This would make accepting many zero hours contracts – which require staff to be available for work at any time and at short notice – impossible for claimants.  Lord Fraud’s answer to this particular fuck up – which could see people sanctioned for failing to apply for a zero hours position, and then sanctioned again when they get the job and can no longer meet their claimant commitment – is that people can have more than one zero hours contract.  Which of course doesn’t solve anything, but Lord Fraud is hoping no-one notices.

The real reason for Universal Credit, which is to create a flexible, casualised workforce, was at the heart of Lord Fraud’s speech this week.  The new system will make it “easier to recruit – particularly when it comes to part time positions or for temporary work” and allow employers to find “more people willing to take on irregular work”.

Universal Credit is a blueprint for exploitation, forcing all low paid employees into a desperate competition for worst kind of insecure, casual work.  Step out of line for a second, and you will be sanctioned and face absolute destitution.  Despite the endless propaganda, this is not just an attack on those out of work, it is an attack on everyone’s pay and conditions.  As Lord Fraud’s speech confirmed this week, this is welfare reform designed to help your boss, not you.

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Picket Lord Fraud In Manchester – 27th June

lord-fraud-freudMinister for Welfare Reform Lord Fraud and Housing Minister Mark Prisk will both be speaking at the national exhibition and conference of the social housing industry, Housing 2013, in Manchester on 27th June.

Manchester Against The Bedroom Tax have called morning picket to greet the Tory filth outside Manchester Central Conference Centre from 9am.  Facebook event 

A protest has also been called earlier in the week on the 25th June to Lobby the Landlords, the social housing providers who will be present at the three day beano.  Facebook event

Those not in Manchester can join in on twitter, where the conference organisers will be tweeting from @CIH_Housing2013 using the hashtag #housing2013

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Lord Freud Doesn’t Know How Much JSA Is!

Lord Fraud, the comedy toff who also happens to be Minister for Welfare Reform, doesn’t even know how much the weekly unemployment benefit  Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) is worth.

Speaking recently to the Work and Pensions Select Committee the former banker stated:

“the JSA amount is £64, or whatever the precise figures is.”

JSA is £71 for those over 25 and £56.25 for younger people.

Lord Fraud’s  staggering ignorance of the benefits system is far more telling than often repeated stories about out of touch ministers not knowing the price of a pint of milk.  Lord Fraud has been involved with welfare reform since 2006 and is currently attempting the biggest changes to the benefits system since the birth of the Welfare State.

Had he actually been doing any real work then it might be expected that the basic facts about the most common benefits would be burnt into his brain.  After all, it is his fucking job to know these things.

It comes as no surprise that this inept clown should not even bother to learn anything about the very benefits he is tasked with reforming.  After all  Lord Fraud himself has admitted: “Nearly everything I’ve done has been total chaos.” 

Jokes have been pretty thin on the ground at the DWP since the departure of the Chris Grayling comedy show.  It appears however that Lord Fraud is only too keen to step into his bungling, bull-shitting shoes.  Sadly for the millions of people who will see lives and incomes devastated due to welfare reform, Lord Fraud’s incompetence will be anything but a joke.