Tag Archives: Minimum Wage

Freud Must Go! Urgent Call Out, Monday Oct 20th Caxton House 12.30pm Or On Twitter #FreudMustGo

lord-fraud-freudAnyone who thinks Lord Fraud ‘mispoke’ or was just ‘thinking outside the box’ when he made the shameful comment that some disabled people are not worth the minimum wage has really not been paying attention.

This is the man that helped devise the despised Atos benefit assessments that have driven disabled people to suicide and ill health in the name of strippping their benefits or forcing them into endless ‘work related activity’.  The same Minister whose department introduced the Work Programme, on which sick and disabled people can be sent on workfare, potentially for months on end.  Lord Fraud was simply saying what he, and his colleagues in the DWP believe, that disabled people lead ‘wasted lives’ and as such do not deserve the same rights as other workers.  That is why this Government has introduced scheme after scheme aimed at coercing – and in some cases forcing – sick and disabled people to work without any pay at all.

There doesn’t need to be a conversation about what Lord Fraud said, as some commentators have suggested.  A conversation that is unlikely to include disabled people or claimants themselves if this week’s news coverage is anything to go by.  The man is a nasty and vindictive piece of shit.  And he needs to go, now.

Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) have called an emergency protest calling for his resignation tomorrow (Monday 20th Oct) at 12.30 pm outside the Department of Work and Pensions in central London.  In the words of DPAC:

“Freud is the architect of the government’s noxious welfare reform programme that is pushing disabled people off benefits and causing untold distress and misery, in too many cases leading to suicides and avoidable deaths.

The policies Freud designed show utter contempt for disabled people. His latest comments made to a Tory councillor at a party conference fringe meeting confirm this …  join us to demand Freud resigns or is sacked. Monday October 20th at DWP head office, Caxton House, Tothill Street, 12.30pm til 2.30″

If you can’t make it to the DWP you can still get involved in online action with the #FreudMustGo twitterstorm, details at: http://dftr.org.uk/Songbird.php?TweetFile=FreudMustGo

Time is short, please share, tweet etc and help get the word out.

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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.

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What’s So Fucking Great About The Minimum Wage?

minimum-wageA minimum wage which condemns people to poverty is an insult to the millions of people who often do the hardest forms of work.  Yet this pittance of just £6.31 an hour – or less for those under 21 – is increasingly seen as some kind of Holy Grail by politicians from all three main parties.

Both Iain Duncan Smith and Liam Byrne talk of gaining a minimum wage job as if this will transform the lives of those in poverty, showering riches, opportunity and joy upon them as they become decent, moral, hard-working wage slaves.   In reality most minimum wage work is temporary, has little or no prospects and is supplemented by and often punctuated by benefit payments.

But worse than this, whilst people are marginally better off on minimum wage than on out of work benefits – despite government lies to the contrary – it still isn’t enough to meet the most basic costs of living.  In Leeds, the bottom end rent for a private sector three bedroom flat is around £150 a week.  A full time job on minimum wage pays just a few pounds over £200 a week.  Whilst a family would still receive Housing Benefits and Tax Credits, even this barely provides an income that will provide for food, bills and other essentials after housing costs.

The so called Living Wage, currently being trumpeted by Ed Miliband, is barely any better.  In London a full time job (37 hrs per week) on the Living Wage would leave a take home pay of just under £270 a week.  A recently announced affordable housing project, based in Stratford and claiming to be for the low paid, is set to charge £323 a week for just a two bedroom flat.  The ‘Living Wage’ isn’t even enough to pay an ‘Affordable Rent’.  And try telling a bank manager you want a mortgage when you are paid just over £8 an hour.

The minimum wage sets a government approved standard of poverty that grasping employers are only too happy to endorse.  As rises in the minimum wage have failed to keep up with inflation, this has meant the lowest paid steadily receiving less and less.  Last year George Osborne froze the minimum wage for young people at a disgraceful £4.98 an hour.  There have been calls within the Tory Party to cut the minimum wage even further or to exclude certain groups such as disabled people or the young.

Neither government or bosses should set wages, workers should.  It is no accident that during the 60s and even 70s, when Trade Unions were at their most militant, working class wages were at an all time high.  Lying Tory revisionists would claim the 70s were a desperate time and these unions had to be reigned in and in many cases smashed.  The truth is for most workers they’d never had it so good.

In the absence of a strong trade union movement the minimum wage is now the only protection against both gross exploitation and in work poverty – and it fails at both.   This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fight tooth and nail to keep it.   In the context of ever increasing benefit conditionality, to lose the minimum wage would be a disaster as claimants could be compelled to take any job, no matter how low the pay.  With trade unionism almost dead in most low paid sectors, whatever scant compromises have been won need to be maintained as the benefits system disintegrates.

But if we are forced to fight to keep it then we should do so with no illusions.  A government set minimum wage, which has never risen above poverty pay, is a failure of the left, not a success story.

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