Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

‘Trots’ Victory on Work Experience: Now onto Workfare!

with 24 comments

Breaking news from the BBC:

Ministers have dropped the threat of sanctions for unemployed youngsters on a controversial work experience scheme.

It follows a meeting with dozens of firms with concerns, after criticism it amounted to “unpaid forced labour”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron said 200 small- and medium-sized companies had expressed an interest in joining the scheme in recent days.

He urged firms to “stand up against the Trotskyites” protesting against it.



He paused to let the gales of laughter from Ipswich pass by…


24 Responses

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  1. As of yet there is no Bill or Regs to remove the sanctions.

    in fact, the BBC News article states that “gross misconduct” on work experience is a sanctionable offence.

    If you went on an unlawful strike in a paid job you will be sacked for gross misconduct. Surely then, if you refuse to work on your placement that will be treated as the same?

    Work Programme

    February 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    • To confirm a gross misconduct offence can still get you a sanction if nothing else can.

      Work Programme

      February 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm

  2. Still work to be done: http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/

    Ghost at the Feast

    February 29, 2012 at 4:47 pm

  3. This is good news.

    The war’s not over good people!


    February 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    • Reading that link I should say so, coco.

      But it’s got us lot giggling in Ipswich library.

      Andrew Coates

      February 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm

  4. But IDS said it was Anarchists. Can he and Cameron both be right?

    • You know we’re a many-headed Hydra!

      Andrew Coates

      March 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

  5. There is a word for mandatory unpaid work in the community – it is called a ‘community sentence’ and it is issued by the courts after due legal process. It is not issued by the DWP nor by their Work Programme providers. When did they acquire these powers to impose a judicial penalty? In fact it is more severe than any court could impose, (courts are limited to a maximum of 300 hours community service, this is 26 weeks at 30 hour a week which is 780 hours). When did unemployment become illegal in this country?

    This, if anything, is even more outrageous than the Work Experience programme.


    February 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm

  6. More drivel from A4E’s hired goons at PHA-Media

    Tesco Value Slave #3828

    February 29, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  7. I can say here in public as there was not much to it. I merely stated that I was prepared to stand by my comments, and if they believed A4E had a case that they should pursue it. It was a short and civil reply; far more civil than they deserved.

    Tesco Value Slave #3828

    February 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm

  8. With the Work Experience Program mandatory elements now stripped for the 16-24 bracket, that means both Mandatory Work Activity and Community Activity Programme for the 24+ now violate The Equality Act 2010 on the grounds of discrimination against job seekers and trainees because of age .

    The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of their age. This includes direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.


    February 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    • I’m not so sure. The way I read it if you turn down a ‘voluntary’ Work Experience placement, you can be put onto the Mandatory Work Activity programme.

      An interesting line of attack might be a claim for minimum wage against the DWP. if you recall the original infamous clause 14 read:

      “14. Where you are providing support for JSA participants, which is work experience you must mandate participants to this activity. This is to avoid the National Minimum Wage Regulations, which will apply if JSA participants are not mandated.”

      I assume they’ve taken legal advice so that the statement is true. Grayling claims this work experience is voluntary and has been voluntary all along. Since he’s the one paying NI and ‘salary’ he is effectively the employer. It looks like he’s saying the minimum wage regulations apply.

      He can’t claim its been voluntary all along and avoid paying the minimum wage. So either he admits that he’s lied, or he pays up – that’s a lot of money.


      March 1, 2012 at 12:04 am

      • http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/

        I’ll put in some DWP Freedom of Information requests tomorrow, to push every issue.


        March 1, 2012 at 12:20 am

      • Some good hypothesis there, Anton.

        That clause 14 always fascinated me. I remember the first time I perused the guidance, I thought that it was an interesting clause. Hmmm?
        I’m still trying to make some sense of it’s removal.
        Mind you the way it is written reads somewhat like the imparting of a blatant legal loophole for providers.

        What if we all volunteered so they couldn’t mandate us, then claim min wage entitlement for the duration. Oops, too late!

        Clause 14 has slipped between the floorboards. Back with the rats from whence it came. Still valid evidence of bad practice, perhaps? It existed, still does, and it’s removal is rather interesting.

        Mr No

        March 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

  9. i think it is fantastic that a multi million pound company can give work experience at stacking shelves for your dole money as a first look at work and all you do is pick it up and put it on a shelf from a pallet.

    is that the best we can offer for the poor sods on this shit!

    super ted

    February 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm

  10. Hi. Lot’s going on eh? Phew!

    So one government scheme for 18-24 year olds has had the withdrawal of benefits element removed? They can decline to participate or leave at any time without penalty?

    Is that right? If so, great! A small victory.
    That teamed with the very public awareness. And it’s not all bad! Lots of people, it would appear, can actually can see what we mean! Great! Thanks! Really!

    And of course the same principles of punitive measure removal should apply to any and all other similar schemes that fall under WP and CAP and any yet to be determined.

    And if the pressure is kept up a lot more companies might actually be seen to be doing the right thing and demanding that benefits should not be stopped for any claimant on any benefit who declines or withdraws from any ‘work experience’ scheme, whoever provides it.

    There should be no mandatory, compulsory, forced, coerced work (That’s work! Not experience, never mind the spin and deception and psychological aspects!) put upon anyone, unless they want to in my opinion! Of course, many may want to, fine, but that’s not what the head honchos want. Any of them! They want their little scams to run. I’m rambling a bit now!

    Maybe this will encourage some actual paid work in proper jobs, even if they are at min wage. It ‘shouldn’t displace genuine employment opportunities’ my arse!

    So, it’s going to be ok for these companies to exploit the older unemployed and disabled? Or young people who are on WP or eventually CAP? Of whom I would bet many aren’t sincere, merely public pressure and potential lost sales influencing the decision to remove themselves from this one scheme.
    It is just one scheme, right? Outside of the private sector welfare to work providers?

    No one is going to notice when companies continue to take a conveyor belt of unemployed people outside the one mentioned scheme where the conditionality has been tweaked under pressure from large companies?

    As it says in the title ‘On to workfare’.

    Who holds the cards? We all do. Funny old game.

    Stay cool all.

    Mr No

    March 1, 2012 at 12:50 am

  11. From that beeb article linked to…

    “In a separate development, Boots has stopped some of its stores participating in a different scheme – the government’s flagship work programme – aimed at helping the long-term unemployed find jobs. Some stores had been approached locally to provide placements but would no longer be doing so, it said.

    Boots said under the terms of the scheme people could lose benefits if they refused to join or did not fully comply, which was in breach of its company policy never to participate in schemes which compel people to work”.

    This is good. Let’s hope a few follow in their footsteps! Bootsteps? I got no emoticons! ;-).

    Basically what I was rambling about in the previous post.
    Boots will not be taking people through CAP then either. Is that correct I wonder?

    The encouraging thing to me about all this is that the moral principle still applies throughout.
    Regardless of any scheme or programme and whoever is administering it. Government or private sector!
    No forced work! Or rather, no cheap labour! Full stop.
    Got work that needs doing? Here’s a radical idea… Employ a few people!

    Mind you, healthy morals and at least a sense of compassion only helps so much. The harsher truth so hard to see from an ivory tower.
    Unless it’s good business to see. Then they will.
    Reminds me of that Bill Hicks joke… ‘They’re going for the moral dollar, pretty good return, doesn’t offend anyone in particular, should see a slight peak in sales over the quarter’.
    To paraphrase the late great observational comedian.
    Whatever the case there is momentum at the moment.

    And what’s all this tosh about trotskyites and anarchists and members of an organisation etc?

    Sorry, no, quite wrong! Of course as human beings some of us are decent, kind, caring individuals expressing healthy moral values. No more, no less.
    Though of course there is always going to an element of all those things ‘they’ mention present, seeing as we’re such a diverse species!

    We’re not misguided or out of touch at all. Unlike most people who like to have a go at being in charge of something. Could politicians qualify?

    Mr No

    March 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    • +1 and much respect to memory of Mr Hicks


      March 1, 2012 at 2:42 am

    • Thanks Dr No,

      This is the most important development.

      I saw it on the telly Cefax this morning.

      Will post on it.

      Andrew Coates

      March 1, 2012 at 9:42 am

  12. BBC1 is running a brand-new 8.6 part series – “Tea with Emma” billed as a “fascinating insight into the day-day-day working life of the tireless and fearless campaigner for unemployed rights – Emma Harrison CBE”.

    TV Viewer

    March 1, 2012 at 11:08 am

    • I remember something called Tea With Mussolini

      Another Viewer

      March 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

  13. Knight Hoods Have Been Lost For A Various Reasons.
    Ms Harrion Does Have An Honour A CBE I Think. We Shall But See!

    F. King

    March 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

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