Ipswich Unemployed Action.

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YMCA: Partial Victory?

with 8 comments

That Letter.

That Letter.



Latest developments.

Letter from YMCA (received yesterday lunch-time), 

“Dear Mr Coates

 New Deal Programme. Further to our meeting earlier today, I am writing to confirm that you have been dismissed from the New Deal Programme at YMCA Training, Dencora House.

As Discussed, the dismissal is due to our Health and Safety concerns due to the comment made on your Blog, ‘Tendance Coatesy’ which states ‘Storm Denocra House’. Our Duty of Care to our staff and participants on New Deal programmes remains paramount.” (my emphasis)

Operations Manager, Nofolk and Suffolk. “

Phoning my New Deal Adviser at the Dole she was surprised. Later in the day, another call, and I was told that I would indeed be treated as having been ‘exited’ (suspended) from the New Deal. Which means loss of benefits. She had seen this Blog. A special interview was arranged next week  – local manager to be present.

This morning I heard again.

It appears I will not be suspended. No special meeting will take place. I will  have to make a new claim. This means I am not sanctioned, but will have to go through the process again. Not immediately though. Not (I wonder why) with the YMCA. But, eventually, with whoever is running this autumn’s  new ‘Flexible New Deal’ .

Two observations.

Firstly, it clear that this proved more trouble than it’s worth. The YMCA letter indicates that ‘comments’ from my Blog were a cause for concern.  The picture of a medieval Bastille and the legend “Storm Dencora House” ( published start of May) was the cause. Yet, oddly, Dencora House has not been overrun by a pike-waving mob of baying leftists.

The revolutionary acts advocated were two: 1) Send E-Mails to Chris Mole MP, and the YMCA in protest at the New Deal, and 2) Stepping up the Campaign against Welfare Reform and the YMCA-run local New Deal.

It was obviously hard to pin a case against this other than on political grounds – Dodgy for the Dole, Crass for the Christians of the YMCA.

Secondly, there is little doubt that the solidarity shown here, and by many bloggers played a major partin this decision. I would like to thank everyone who did so. We often give solidarity for causes and don’t really think about what it means to those affected. I can assure everyone it means a lot.   

There are those in trouble with this system who do not have the networks we have. We must extend our solidarity to them, and continue the fight. As Harpy says, the Flexible New Deal promises to be worse. Some contracts have been won by private prison companies and similar organisations. Their victims need aid, to organise and for that they must have our solidarity.

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!


Written by Andrew Coates

June 3, 2009 at 10:28 am

Posted in Ipswich, Suffolk, Unemployment, YMCA

Tagged with ,

8 Responses

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  1. Any help I can give re solidarity, support and protest please feel free to ask….


    June 3, 2009 at 11:49 am

  2. Oh, and well done to you all for kicking up a storm in protest… Collective action and all that jazz…


    June 3, 2009 at 11:50 am


    Why didn’t I think of that! lol, their reason to stop your free speech (on the blog – and of course mine) was Health & Safety…

    Perhaps they should look at the hazards they currently have at Dencora House including the metal steps (I wont disclose the others as I personally have H&S concerns with YMCA Training).

    Two points to make:

    1. In order for you to have to reclaim – your benefits must have been terminated therefore a dismissal must have occurred in order for that to happen.

    It is in your best interests to find out the reason (on dismissal form not their letter*) and don’t let any NDPA try to talk you in to thinking differently.

    It is possible you weren’t “dismissed” however there must have been a reason why they ended your claim.

    If they “by mistake” ended your claim as you were dismissed but JCP and YMCA decided a U-Turn was in order to prevent the problems (for obvious reasons) then they should have reopened your claim.

    I personally would have demanded that meeting and as a “customer” of JCP, stuck them under pressure about why they allowed you to be exited. They can NOT dismiss you for misconduct for something you said on a blog before being on the course that has been distorted out of context. If you were acting up, showing agression etc. then adding them both together I think they would have a case BUT as you wasn’t they don’t have a leg to stand on.

    2. Sanctions are not automatic at that point. Before the process begins after being signed off – you have to sign on before the process starts or they otherwise may later down the road do a sanction in your absence. If this happens, first you will be asked to explain your reasons why you were dismissed (IF indeed you were) and then YMCA would get first chance to complain to a Decision Maker who will then write to you much later and ask why you left the “job”. If you fail to respond you get sanctions, if you do its unlikely they will give sanctions.

    * I would have personally consulted a solicitor at that stage of hearing that reason.

    H&S is an very hot topic particually because managers and directors etc. can be prosecuted up to lifetime imprisonment for elements such as corporate manslaughter.

    It isn’t unusual for H&S to be a reason to get out of things. I hope you kept a mental note of what they said on the first day of your course and use that to your defence. Did they state anything about H&S then? Blog stats show they have since visited the site looking very nervously for a reason.

    I am just surprised they haven’t made a claim against you for past acts of god (think lightning on their tin shed – and “storm”).

    It is a bad deal to hear that you will have to experience the Flexible New Deal.

    So when do we hear about the newly formed YMCA England member “Employed Christians Against Unemployed People”?


    June 3, 2009 at 2:00 pm

  4. As expected their Administration skills is below mediocre.

    I can find more problems (such as grammar etc.) in the letter but going easy on them the biggest points of criticism are:

    1. “Blog” needs only be lower-case. The word “blog” is a noun short for “web log” however as it isn’t the name of what is being referred to, like mobile phone, computer and music system the first letter in every word remains lower-case.

    2. When you refer to a name of something you do not stick it in quotes (well done on making both words begin with upper-case letters though). If it was an unofficial name (not the main one) or a slogan its use could be justified however Tendance Coatesy is clearly shown at the top and in the web address/URL.

    3. Could have correctly quoted it as “Storm Dencora House!”

    4. A third paragraph is needed to adequately close the correspondence. This could be something on the lines of “We wish you all the best in your search for employment.” – just goes to show how bitter they really are.

    Alternatively, it could be just to wrap up the previous content with a more formal/professional tone: In this instance of a short and sweet letter I would have made the “Our Duty of Care […]” the third paragraph.

    5. Instead of “YMCA Training, Dencora House” it should read “Dencora House” or “YMCA Training”. Even though there is nothing too wrong with it – both the name of the company and the name of the place isn’t required. I would have used Dencora House instead – it is clearly obvious it is YMCA Training: the letterhead!


    June 4, 2009 at 7:35 pm

  5. Well the lack of sanctions at least makes sense. The DWP may indeed have the legal power to dock your benefits for failing to “attend” a course (depends on how the regs are written) but they can’t compel you to “participate” and/or like it. I doubt that could be supported in law.


    June 9, 2009 at 6:42 pm

  6. My comrade says the point is that the Blog article was written at the start of May. I was due to attend the ‘course’ in June.

    They cannot get you what you wrote, fair comment say I, a month before.

    Andrew Coates

    June 11, 2009 at 9:11 am

  7. Two years ago I was dismissed from a CDG prison camp following complaints to Job Centre. False allegation were made against me by the liar CDG centre manager and I was frogmarched out of the building. I went straight to the Job Centre and told them what had happened. They said not to worry, but warned me my benefits may be stopped by decision makers.

    Later the same day, I posted a damning critique of CDG on Indymedia UK, with more to follow. All hell broke loose.


    I received no letter of dismissal, the Job Centre were not notified that I had left. Some weeks later the Job Centre, by then I was back signing on, had to ask CDG to tell them I was no longer on the course! No doubt CDG were still making money out of my non-presence.

    I was referred to Decision Makers who took the only decision they ever take, which was to stop benefits for two weeks. This was appealed to a Tribunal. Unfortunately a dodgy chairman who refused to consider the evidence put before him. He accepted that from the evidence put before him that there was something very wrong at CDG, but that this was not the place to raise these issues, it should be raised with Job Centre. He would though not accept, that by raising these issues and calling for CDG to be closed down, was the reason why I was summarily ejected from the detention centre. Apparently it was not my place to raise these concerns! Two character witnesses came with me, one a chartered accountant, the other a local councillor, who both said it was not in my character to behave in the way it had been alleged by the liar centre manager at CDG. I would have brought along ex-inmates of CDG, but Tribunal Service was against this. They somehow did not understand the need to bring witnesses. No evidence was put against me. Hardly surprising as it would have had to have been fabricated. No one appeared from DWP as they knew they had no case. The chairman found me guilty on the grounds that I must have done something wrong else I would not have been dismissed from CDG! His decision was perverse and contradicted the evidence before him. He refused to accept my evidence, then referred to it in his own summing up! Even the Job Centre found his decision perverse.

    At a previous hearing (different case), before both parties were called before the chairman, the chairman was found meeting with DWP!

    A formal complaint was lodged with the Tribunal Service that their chairman was not fit to hold office and should be suspended pending an inquiry. They referred my complaint back to the chairman who concluded he had done nothing wrong!

    In light of what had happened at CDG, the Job Centre manager said I did not have to go back. He is no longer there and the Job Centre is reneging on what I had previously been assured. I have told the new Job Centre manager that if I go back, I will be victimised and have false allegation made against me. CDG have already told inmates who have been there for the third time and facing going back a fourth time that they are looking forward to dealing with me should I be sent back!


    I agree solidarity, we must encourage more people to fight. No doubt why I was ‘exited’, as I was encouraging people to fight and advising them how to.


    October 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm

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