Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Forced Labour for Jobseekers Pilot.

with 33 comments

Forced labour for Jobseekers (Via Manchester Mule here)

Despite high levels of unemployment due to the recession jobseekers in Greater Manchester will be forced to work up to 40 hours a week as part of the Work for Your Benefits (WfYB) pilot scheme. The region is set to be the trialling ground for a government initiative that will see unemployed people put into mandatory work placements for up to six months just to hold on to their Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Below minimum wage

From October Jobseekers who have failed to find a job at the end of the Flexible New Deal programme will be required to undertake full time employment for between £50 and £65 a week, the equivalent of as little as £1.27 an hour. Concerns have already been raised that, with the numbers of unemployed rising, people who genuinely cannot find a job will be forced to work for next to nothing in an unsuitable role.

Alex Halligan from Salford Unemployed Workers’ Union said, “It’s disgusting that they’ve chosen to trial this in an area with such high unemployment. This scheme is a further attack on the right of people who can’t find work to get the support they need.” Those who opposed the scheme say that it fails to take into account personal circumstances or the condition of the economy.

WfYB is being introduced as part of the government’s wide-ranging reform of the welfare system. Other elements include lowering the age up to which parents can claim child support and measures to force more people off incapacity benefits.

Workers wages could fall by 12 per cent

Some suggest that the scheme will affect the working population as well as those claiming benefits. “This flood of unwaged labour into the market will have a big effect on low waged jobs. When a similar scheme was introduced in the US there was a 12 per cent decline in pay for low-income jobs,” Rebecca Galbraith from ‘No to Welfare Abolition’ told MULE.

Commenting on the fact that private companies rather than Jobcentres will be running the WfYB programme, she added, “Whoever runs this scheme it will be a disaster, but private companies can set arbitrary targets and are much less accountable.”

Businesses will be paid for each person they get into a work placement. This has raised fears companies might ignore difficult cases or put people into unsuitable positions just to receive the commission.

Labour MP John McDonnell placed a parliamentary question in December regarding the employment rights that participants in the scheme will be entitled to. He is concerned that, since they will not be technically employed, those taking part may be put in danger as they may not be covered by health and safety legislation.

Charities set to lose out

Charities and social institutions that rely on volunteers, many of whom are also Jobseekers, have expressed concerns that WfYB will take these people out of important roles and put them into positions that have no benefit to the community.

“The government does not care that many ‘claimants’ are not actually idle and do a lot of unpaid work like caring for others. Real voluntary activities will suffer if people are kicked into work schemes under this pilot,” said Mike from No to Welfare Abolition.

Alongside the WfYB scheme an alternative Jobcentre Plus regime will be trialled, designed to offer Jobseekers increased adviser contact and access to a personal support fund. This trial will receive just £3.5 million of funding whereas the WfYB programme will receive £15 million, raising questions over the government’s priorities.

Uncertainty

Tenders for the running of the scheme have been submitted and will be allocated in April. It remains to be seen which employers will be taking advantage of the cheap labour, or the kinds of jobs people will be expected to do.

Patrick Smith

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Written by Andrew Coates

March 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

33 Responses

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  1. […] jobseekers in Greater Manchester will be forced to work up to 40 hours a week as part of the Work for Your Benefits (WfYB) pilot scheme. The region is set to be the trialling ground for a government initiative that will see unemployed […]

  2. this will undermine those people who are forced to participate and may well have knock on effects’ on those that are currently employed,particularly on this minimum wage.

    why should i pay you £5.80 an hour when i can get paid taking someone on £1.30 an hour,there is risk of dirty dealings between providers and those who take advantage of this opportunity of enforced labour.

    this will cost the taxpayer a small fortune to get up and running and is no solution to long term unemployment,an attempt at applying masking tape at the economies failings’ and a bureaucratic nightmare.this has been proven by the disastrous new deal program where many were on a merry-go-round with repeated referrals.

    the government cannot afford any more scandal that has been witnessed with attempts to bring in the private sector,they are all to willing to take the money,cream and park as its called,this could be seen in the controversial episode where green and amber “rooms” were portrayed and an apparent “look after number 1” attitude by an A4e employee.

    this is an unexceptionable and disastrous environment to place unemployed people particularly with a selective approach.

    when these stories hit the headlines they stir great controversy amongst the public,this could be clearly read by the comments left on the channel 4 website,these were later removed.

    there are great concern’s about health and safety,this could clearly be seen on the new deal placement i was forced to volunteer on,although a safety inspection and risk assessment were supposed to have been carried out,cloths were thrown all over the floor the manager was disinterested and wallowed in mess pulling clothes form donated bags’ and walking off leaving them for someone else,bars on a skylight one flight of stairs to escape in an emergency otherwise it was a case of jumping from a window if that became blocked in a fire.corners were clearly cut just to farm out unemployed people for what was basically a useless reference

    ken

    March 10, 2010 at 5:34 pm

  3. The problems are bound to get wrose: apart from anythign there is no extra money at all to do this. How will people feel having to work hard for this pitiful weekly rate?

    It is a real scandel that the state will make the workless be beasts of burden without even minimum wage.

    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

  4. Won’t the unions do something to protect their members who are presently on minimum wage?

    Steven Adams

    March 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

  5. i dont like the way these companies appear to have selection processes,this was mentioned over at watching a4e in regards to the disabled it looks to be across the board.
    it leads to bullying those who appear less able and not “profitable” in the long and the person can be left feeling why am i being treated like this.

    its totally unfair to treat any unemployed person like this.

    ken

    March 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  6. How is this not against their human rights, more specifically:
    “freedom from slavery and forced labour”

    Mark

    May 28, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    • Mark, you are a human being so Human Rights doesn’t apply to you.

      Its MP’s who decide whether or not proposed laws (Bills) are “compatible” with Human Rights… of course its not difficult to lie. (more so its difficult for them to tell the truth!)

      It is extremely difficult and take a lot of years to go to court to try and win. As for welfare, its not possible to win such a battle.

      European wide welfare is pretty much a corrupt state. Every EU state decisions count. A lot of cases quoted case laws from 20 or so years ago.

      On the other hand, a gay MP who clearly caught for fraud… states he will pay it back and stuffed in a few Human Right elements to stop him from prosecution… such as privacy and sexuality.

      Thats a bunch of shit. There is no person claiming welfare benefits that also has the same right to not declare who they are living with for their privacy sake.

      When you are unemployed you have no rights at all – if you are an MP etc. the rules completely change. This was £40,000+ not a few grand. He thought he would defraud the taxpayer… he is laughing.

      Flexible New Deal

      May 29, 2010 at 9:42 am

      • Have a listen to Jeremy Brown’s risible, pathetic attempt to defend this fraudster on the Radio 4 Today programme:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm

        JB: It’s a human story, not a financial story

        JB: It’s not about David being motivated by money

        He’s an extremely hard working popular MP

        John Humphries: I’m sorry but that’s irrelevant to the point I am making

        JB: The idea of a partner is an ill-defined concept and category

        John Humphries: He’s been living with him since 2001, he shared a bed with him

        Raw Deal

        May 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    • I wonder if there is a legal precedent in that a few years back many German firms and the German government ended up having to pay compensation and donate money to Eastern European Gypsy Organisations as the companies were found to have proffited from Eastern European forced Gypsy labour during WW II?

      Even companies that wern’t in existance at the time but had since absorbed /bought out one of the original offending companies were deemed liable as they were seen to have still proffited from Gypsy Forced labour.

      It would be nice to think that somewhere down the line Mr. unscrupulous Workfare employer now rubbing his hands at the thought of making a mint by replacing his present workforce with free forced workfare workers somewhere in the future is going to get his comeupence when he finds he has to make an unplanned payout of compensation to the forced workfare laborers. Likewise welfare to work providers and the British government presently gloating about getting rich off our backs for free.

      lowestoft's finest

      May 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      • Interesting point, Lowestoft’s Finest!

        It’s no accident that the present situation has come about, the chessboard has been set up well in advance. Big Business and the UK Government are both complicit in fostering the conditions necessary for the introduction of Workfare!

        Raw Deal

        May 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      • Interesting point, Lowestoft’s Finest!

        It’s no accident that the present situation has come about, the chessboard has been set up well in advance. Big Business and the UK Government are both complicit in fostering the conditions necessary for the introduction of Workfare! Workfare is an affront to Human Dignity!

        Raw Deal

        May 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

      • Raw Deal,

        On the down side you have to remember that the US of A has workfare and British governments just toady up to them, so wouldn’t do anything that might “jeppordise the special relationship”.

        But… if Obama was to scrap workfare and this left the British government alone with it this already existing Gypsy precedent that actually predated the British government’s implementation of workfare could make Britain’s legal position and the position of anybody profiting from it very tricky indeed to the point where I see the whole thing could come crashing down around them to leave them in deep sh*t

        Anybody now in the position of about to be profiting from Workfare now needs to be made fully aware that they are abusing human rights and as this case proves there are consequences and repercussions, somewhere down the line their involvement may very well turn round and bite their arse.

        If that wasn’t a good enough wake up call to potential workfare “profiteers” numerous highly educated top East European Gypsy lawyers are now living in the UK and totally revitalising Gypsy Rights Organisations here and what’s more unlike British governments “experts” have no problems successfully draughting a legal document.

        lowestoft's finest

        May 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm

  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm

    To here it scan forward to 1:14:26 – 1:24:26

    Raw Deal

    May 29, 2010 at 11:55 am

  8. Raw Deal

    May 29, 2010 at 12:06 pm

  9. this is painful way these companies appear to have selection processes,this was mentioned over at watching in regards to the disabled it looks to be across the job board.

    Regards
    Sarkari Naukri

    sarkari naukri

    September 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

  10. This is an utter disfgrace in a country that in so many other ways is free, democratic and on the whole, progressive. It amounts to nothing more than exploitation and forced labour for a ‘pay’ that is significantly less than the minimum wage- in some cases interns are working for nothing. The shocking, but perhaps not surprising thing is the general public remain blissfully unaware of this ethically corrupt practise. I say not surprising because unemployed people are second class citizens in Britain today. If it isn’t being demonised by the tabloid press as ‘lazy benefit scroungers’ then it is populist politicians scapegoating claimants. This treatment by successive governments, the tabloid press and the bigotted ignorance of society has to end.

    Nathan Samuel Hazlett

    September 24, 2010 at 8:44 am

    • “in a country that in so many other ways is free, democratic and on the whole, progressive”

      I think you’re deluding yourself.

      We don’t live in a democracy. We vote for one of 3 parties (the others won’t get in), then a party (or two!) get in to power and do what the hell they want. This is NOT democracy. I don’t remember the general public voting on the Iraq war, or what should happen to dishonest MPs.

      You say we are free. This is also untrue. If you go in to town and start protesting, you will get arrested by the SS *cough* sorry I mean the police.

      Now we have enforced work camps, and big brother security cameras, we are getting further and further towards how Nazi Germany used to be. France recently kicked out the Romany Gypsies.

      Also ‘progressive’, NO. We are moving backwards, so it’s ‘regressive’. Please look at the evidence!

      Cameron is going to grow a Charlie Chaplin moustache next week.

      People on £1.27 an hour or whatever it is, should go to the European courts and ask for minimum wage.

      All this will do is fuel hatred towards foreign workers… which again will move us closer to Nazi Germany.

      Just as the people in pre-war Germany did, we are taking this lying down.

      Mike

      October 6, 2010 at 2:34 am

      • Seems like you may be awake to what’s going on around you, Mike

        Progress is a myth, we are conditioned into thinking that we are always progressing (whatever that means), but a blind person (no disrespect to blind people) can see that we are in fact going backwards at a rate of knots.

        Work camps, being established, straight out of Nazi Germany and no one bats an eyelid. But, hey it’s only for “convicts”, well at the moment… 🙂 You gotta start somewhere 🙂

        Next stage of the game is that people who have the audacity to protest won’t only be arrested but THEY WILL NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN.

        Time to get back to sleep.

        Old Timer

        October 6, 2010 at 8:11 am

      • Seems like you may be awake to what’s going on around you, Mike

        Progress is a myth, we are conditioned into thinking that we are always progressing (whatever that means), but a blind person (no disrespect to blind people) can see that we are in fact going backwards at a rate of knots.

        Work camps, being established, straight out of Nazi Germany and no one bats an eyelid. But, hey it’s only for “convicts”, well at the moment… 🙂 You gotta start somewhere 🙂

        Next stage of the game is that people who have the audacity to protest won’t only be arrested but THEY WILL NEVER BE SEEN AGAIN. This is the way is was, and this is the way it will be again. You won’t dare mention their name for fear of not being seen again.

        And immigration, well this was all planned years ago by the traitors in power to stoke up the fuel of Fascism when the time came.

        We are indeed like the Germans in pre-Nazi Germany.

        Time to get back to sleep, Mike.

        Old Timer

        October 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

      • Too right, once the last vestiges of the welfare state is withdrawn and we are all left scrambling about in the gutter for a soggy crust of bread or toiling away for £1.27 an hour (if we are lucky)…. that’s when the war against foreign workers will flare up. There is just so much HATRED that is going to be directed towards these people. This cuntry is TOAST!

        Johnny Storm

        October 6, 2010 at 8:32 am

      • @Johnny Storm – I agree completely Johnny.

        People need permission from the SS, sorry I mean the police, in order to protest against something.

        It’s not just convicts that are working for £1.27 an hour, it is anyone on regular benefits. Genuine people who can’t get a job (due to high unemployment, which is the banker’s fault!) will have to get a job on £1.27 an hour in what is effectively a labour camp (even though it doesn’t have physical walls).

        So let’s summarise the UK:
        1) It’s not a democracy.
        2) There is police controlled freedom of speech.
        3) The unemployed are forced to work for £1.27 an hour.
        4) We are spied on by the government (CCTV etc).
        5) There is no REAL equality.
        6) People in power are above the law (MPs expenses)
        7) Wealthy people get away with damaging society (Bankers), indeed they even get bonuses for this!!

        David SCAMeron talks of ‘fairness’. Yes well life is ‘fair’ if you go to public school and have an ‘old boys network’.

        This is worse than Nazi Germany was at one stage. What the leaders learned from Hitler is to not do things suddenly. It’s better to do introduce dodgy laws slowly, so that people don’t notice.

        Most people are too mesmerised buying shit they don’t need, to notice what a state this country is in.

        The French recently kicked out the Romany Gypsies… Europe is a fascist state.

        F£%$ this CoUNTry.

        Mike

        October 6, 2010 at 12:22 pm

      • None of it is by accident – it’s all designed that way. Everything is given to us – the people who we think are on our side, the people we “hate”. Even, the “banker’s bailout” was planned well in advance. People need to stop being so short-sighted – look at the long-term agenda because that is where things are heading. Does anyone really think that the Government is just haphazardly reacting to crisis after crisis. Laws are implemented well in advance for when they will be needed. Humans are the most adaptable creatures on the planet. People can’t see the cage going up around them, bar-by-bar. When they wake up it will be too late and all they will be able to do is shake the bars of the cage. In time, it will all make perfect sense 🙂

        Buy Shit

        October 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      • European Courts wont have none of it. They require you to exhaust the UK system fully.

        Put it one way, I was sanctioned Jan 2009 and still not had upper tier tribunal. When I finally get that, I would then need to take that further…

        This is diferent though. You would need to exhaust DWP procedure which they will deliberately stretch out including beyond the deadline set out in law, you would then need to contact the ombudsman. I think to take this course of action to EU court (assuming they accept) would take up to 5 years.

        Flexible New Deal

        October 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm

  11. And with the Equality Act – the brainchild of that bitch – Harriet Harrperson – no-one will dare speak out of line or mutter discontent for fear of being overheard and “offending” someone. A criminal offence for which you will go to jail (workcamp) for. Wake up and see who the REAL Nazis are.

    Johnny Storm

    October 6, 2010 at 8:51 am

    • My friend on benefits has never committed a crime, and he lives in a very impoverished area.

      There are not enough jobs in the area, but now he’s working 30 hours a week for his benefits, which works out at about £1.27 an hour. This for all intents in purposes in an enforced slave / labour camp.

      Slavery was never abolished (think cheap things on the high street), and now slavery is back in the UK. At least slaves were owned and often looked after. Some slaves had a better deal than people have now. We should scrap slavery once and for all.

      Mike

      October 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm

      • You should name and shame whoever your friend is working for. Companies that are employing slaves or otherwise collaborating with welfare-to-work providers should be BOYCOTTED & BLACKLISTED.

        Tesco
        Asda
        Wilkinsons
        Poundshop
        Farmfoods

        Smash Workfare

        October 6, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      • Rumour has it that TNG and A4e in Ipswich has refused to contact its “slaves” for months (confirmed factual) due to forcing Flexible New Dealers onto one month MWRA period around Christmas.

        Flexible New Deal

        October 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

  12. “has never committed a crime” – what does that mean? That it is OK for “convicts” to be engaged in slave labour?

    Next you will be saying that
    the benefits of the work-shy scroungers should be slashed so that you can get a raise on your disability benefit.

    I really hope that is not your line of thinking because anyone who is even suggesting that people who are struggling on a pittance have their meagre benefits reduced is a Nazi (even if they are on IB/IS etc) IMHO of course 🙂

    Buy Shit

    October 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    • I agree.

      I think that convicts should be helped as much as possible to be able to get work, as this helps us all in the long run.

      This would involve training them in skills and trades etc, and also giving them some kind of work scheme. It would also be necessary to support them properly (and I mean properly) when they get out. A lot of convicts have mental health issues, so these people would need help… however this would cost a fortune so will never work. Mental health is impossible to fix for most people.

      I’m not suggesting slave labour is good for convicts as it will not stop them from re-offending, it will only teach them that crime is better than work.

      My point about my friend having never committed a crime was in reply to someone stating that this slave labour had only started in prisons, when in fact it is happening to everyone now.

      Mike

      October 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

  13. The scheme is a good idea apart from the pay. If the government paid half the minimum wage and the employer paid the other half then people on the scheme would not need paid jobseekers, housing allowance or council tax benefits so the taxpayer would be better off overall and it would still be an attractive deal to employers as they could employ two workers for the price of one.

    Any of the lowly trained staff that will be laid off by companies would then still be getting about the same wage as before too 🙂

    Convicts should work to pay the costs of their incarceration too.

    Dave

    October 14, 2010 at 7:27 pm

  14. The government should be pouring this money into developing industry in those areas with the highest rates of unemployment rather than forcing job seekers to work for £1.66 instead of the national minimum wage!

    The current system works like this:

    1. The government pay employers to take on job seekers in unpaid roles.

    2. The employers benefit from being paid from the government and also the free labour of job seekers.

    3. The job seeker gets paid as little as £53ish per week, which works out at around £1.66 (I calculated £1.66/hour from my own JSA unemployment pay, which is less than £53).

    4. If you’re under 25 you get £53ish, if you’re over 25 you get £65, because being one day older means your costs are £15 extra apparently!!

    Many Job Seekers are locked into this work because they are not told that there is another option to do voluntary work rather than enforced work, and those who have to do this enforced work very rarely learn any skills at all let alone relevant ones – call centres are full of young people forced to work for no benefit to themselves under the presumption that this is “training”, as if any young person in this day and age is unable to use a phone!

    The unemployed are victimized and demonized as lazy scum with no morals in order to engender discrimination against them by even the lowest paid of the working classes! This creates an underclass, people who are considered less than human and much as I dislike having to mention it and at the risk of sounding melodramatic: Nazi Germany’s Jews.

    Of course that does sound silly, but then so would the holocaust at the very beginning of the dehumanization engendered by Nazi propaganda!

    Robert Cubley

    December 17, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    • It seems that the Work for Your Benefit approach has been superceded by the Community Action Programme now being “trailblazed” in some areas of the country (CAP’s 02 and 01 if you’re familiar with the jargon), no doubt to be rolled out nationwide asap. 30 hours per week of unpaid labour plus 10 hours per week of supervised “jobsearch”. Replacing jobs that have been lost by government cutbacks with unpaid slave labour. Indefinite term – you could be on this till you reach retirement age. No holidays, sick pay or employer liability insurance.
      Almost certainly in contravention of Article 4 of the Human Rights Act (anti – slavery).
      We need this to be challenged in the courts asap and I urge anyone who has been mandated on tho the CAP to contact the Public Interest Lawyers asap.

      Gissajob

      December 18, 2011 at 10:17 am

  15. People making it here through my facebook link, see my comment above 🙂 Thank you!

    Robert Cubley

    December 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm


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