Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Work Experience is Mandatory

with 21 comments

The latest DWP Press Release:-

 29 February 2012 – Statement from the Minister for Employment Chris Grayling on the Work Experience scheme

“Following a productive meeting with employers I am delighted that we have pledges from some of the UK’s top companies to take part in the scheme. The likes of Airbus, Centre Parcs and HP Enterprise Services will join in Voluntary Work Experience helping our young unemployed people get their first vital step into employment.

“Despite the persistent campaign of the last two weeks we have had contact with over 200 small or medium enterprises also wanting to get involved. The work experience scheme remains and is totally voluntary.

“The sanction regime remains in place. Employers continue to have the protection with the use of sanctions for gross misconduct. We have used the meeting to explain how the regime applies. It has never been an issue with the programme as only 220 people have been sanctioned since it started.”

Just a few pointers:-

  1. Chris Grayling is the biggest idiot ever in politics (this is beyond the previous candidates of Boris Johnson and Gordon is a moron Brown)
  2. Prepending the word “Voluntary” in front of “Work Experience” doesn’t make it voluntary – in fact, its not what the scheme is defined as under law (its “Work Experience” not “Voluntary Work Experience” or “Mandatory Work Experience”)
  3. It is not voluntary – it wasn’t before and there has been no legislation changes
  4. What a contradiction – on the next line! It cannot be voluntary WITH sanctions. Employers? They are NOT employers of these people, or are they? This is the significant bit here… why “gross misconduct”? Surely if your voluntary work placement for whatever reason was inappropriate you would ask them to leave and call police for backup if they do not? Under Social Security law, although there is no employment contract and no wages, the company offering you unpaid work is indeed your “employer” in such circumstances. On New Deal etc. the provider you are at is your employer – this is how “employment programmes” work – distort statistics and sanctions.
  5. The voluntary nature has never been an issue which is why there has been 220 people sanctioned? (tory spin, probably 220 unique people, not to be confused with 220 sanctions). The scheme came in April 2011 (if I recall correctly), statistics are never up to date (so could be first 6 or 9 months statistics) and assuming its for 2 weeks sanction, one per person, saved £23,518. 220 is small compared to other schemes, however, it is still not voluntary

If you are mandated to Work Experience, as of 1st March 2012 or later… please let us know if you have the same mandated letter as those before did (threatening benefit sanctions). The law hasn’t changed, so even if you leave in week 2 or later, you should be sanctioned.


Written by Universal Jobmatch

March 1, 2012 at 11:44 am

Posted in DWP, Work Experience, Workfare

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21 Responses

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  1. When that buffoon Grayling claims Work Experience is purely voluntary, he reminds me of Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass when the character states: “When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”.

    Typical Tory doublespeak. This mendacious bunch couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it.


    March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

  2. Having visited my local JCP office to ask why a provider they sent me to is sending nasty letters like this

    I was told they would not comment and the advisor created a pretext to remove me from the building.

    Tesco Value Slave #3842

    March 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm

  3. Nobody has yet asked this question;- Those that (Yesterday 29 Feb 2012) were at THAT meeting, those that agreed with the government; Were They Given Any Assurances That Although A Placement May Terminate Before The 8 Weeks. DWP/JCP would not find someway of imposing sanctions. Can we be sure that if/when we are ‘required’ to go on place the threat of sanctions is lifted. I notice in the case Tesco and other stores USDAW have been quite


    March 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    • Nothing has changed its a LIE to get the media off their backs.

      Walk out in the second week… you will be sanctioned.

      It is disgusting anyhow, apparently you can be sanctioned for “gross misconduct” an example given was if you steal something from the employer. So the DWP is going to steal money from you?

      It is a police matter.. people shouldn’t lose their benefits. Think less of money, but food/sweets… ASDA (major player in workfare) has sacked people for eating an apple heading for the bin anyway and someone for eating a few sweets from a bag of sweets that had split. Both naughty things to do but losing over £100 for this? Disgrace, most the time its allegations which cannot be proven.

      Work Programme

      March 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      • We are going to get stitched up. Lets see what happens in the next few weeks. The will want those ‘Naughty Unemployed’ doing something before the Olympics/Jubilee won’t they?. :O(


        March 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      • One of me mates was sacked from Asda for taking a spoonful out of a split yoghurt that was headed for the skip.


        March 1, 2012 at 3:43 pm

      • Too right, middlesex, stitched up like a kipper good n proper like.

        Pyrrhic Victory

        March 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    • FAO middlesex

      USDAW have been quite what, middlesex?

      Perhaps you meant to say QUIET – as in silent?

      You also did not use a full stop, so I thought your post was unfinished.


      March 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

  4. I would just like to add that in distrinction to being as the Coalition government are claiming anti-capitalist opponents of Workfare are in fact anti-Feudalist.



    March 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

  5. http://www.cpgb.org.uk/article.php?article_id=1004742

    A small victory against workfare
    With the government forced into a humiliating climbdown on workfare, Laurie Smith looks at where the welfare system is going and the Left response

    Slave labour: bad for image
    Government ministers have gone into denial after their February 29 humiliating workfare climbdown. In the morning Iain Duncan Smith, work and pensions secretary, was insisting that “The kids love it, the public love it, companies love it and we love it.” Protestors against the ‘work experience’ scheme were dismissed as mere anarchists and job snobs. Come the afternoon, though, the government announcement that those leaving the hated scheme would no longer face an automatic loss of benefit.

    The fact of the matter is that the “kids” do not love workfare and nor does the “public”. As for the companies (and charities), they increasingly found themselves embarrassed. Being associated with forcing young people to work for nothing for eight weeks without any guarantee of a job risked damaging, destroying their hugely expensive reputations as caring, sharing capitalists. Hence the decision by Tesco and others to distance themselves.

    However, while we have scored a small victory, the ‘work experience’ scheme remains intact. Of course, government ministers, Tory and Liberal Democrat, make a song and dance about getting young people used to self-discipline, getting up on time and dressing smartly. But for what? The unemployed are being told to work up to 30 hours a week, all the while surviving on their Job Seekers Allowance (plus travel costs). As if surviving on an increasingly meagre dole (while inflation continues to rise) is not hard enough on its own, the coalition government still expects young people to present themselves as an exploitable commodity.

    So far the schemes have been limited in scope. They are ‘optional’ for those aged 16-24; not that this is always made clear. Any older and you may be unlucky enough to qualify for Mandatory Work Activity: six to eight weeks unpaid labour, with ‘non-compliance’ rewarded with the removal of benefit for 13 weeks – 26 weeks if the generous offer is refused a second time. Tens of thousands have already been through this programme. The trajectory of the attack is clear: a move to a welfare system in the style of the United States, with benefits time-limited, and contingent on doing what the government damn well tells you.

    Such an outcome would lead to a further weakening of working class organisation in Britain. The struggle of the unemployed and precariously employed to just survive would be so tough as to make political and even trade union commitments very difficult. Unions organising the unskilled and semi-skilled will tend to become even more sectional under these circumstances – concerned with protecting their current members’ interests, as against those of the competition from the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

    Doubtless, there is a desire to aid small and medium enterprises that participate – providing unpaid labour to help boost their meagre turnover. No doubt some will take advantage, but it is hardly likely to yield much. Slave labourers have no incentive whatsoever to carry out even simple, unskilled tasks diligently, efficiently and fully. For many companies such schemes are more trouble than they are worth – diverting supervisory staff to oversee work of dubious value.

    But crucially there is the politics of reputation. Last week Tesco was found advertising one of the unpaid placements at a branch in Suffolk – on the Jobcentre Plus job search website. Effectively rubbing salt into the wound of those looking for an actual, proper job – one where you got paid and stuff. The Twittersphere went crazy, and the discovery prompted the Socialist Workers Party to hold a protest at a London branch of Tesco under the banner of Right to Work.

    Within a short time dozens of companies, having agreed to give 16-24-year-olds ‘work experience’, were having second thoughts – especially when it was revealed that those who dropped out after the first week of their placement (up to eight weeks) would be docked two weeks benefit as punishment. This was hardly the kind of publicity that firms like Waterstones, Maplin and Burger King were looking for. Giving youngsters a helping hand as they enter the world of work is one thing. But being condemned for first exploiting them and then leaving them penniless is quite another.

    The media actually showed up to the actions organised by RTW. On one level the SWP was lucky – it regularly pulls such stunts to keep the morale of the troops up. But one can hardly begrudge the comrades their moment in the limelight or the role they have played in highlighting these attacks. The Tories, of course, were quick to dismiss RTW as a front for the SWP (an allegation not entirely without foundation) and congratulated themselves on avoiding the political argument. Granted, when the bosses of that temple of human advancement, Poundland, were calling the scheme “unethical”, the balance of the argument is kind of tilting in your favour. And scores And scores of other companies began pulling out, foreseeing a PR disaster.

    Not that we should be uncritical. The SWP’s message has left something to be desired. To say the least. Placards emblazoned with the demand, “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”, actually buttress one of the central planks of the ideology of capitalism. Of course a “fair” day’s pay, if it is to mean the worker getting the full value of their labour, is something we know to be impossible under any mode of production. And a “fair day’s work”? By most people’s definition, eight hours a day is still too bloody long.

    More importantly, what we Marxists fight for is an end to wage-slavery – the condition where the mass of the population present themselves to capital as owners of nothing but their ability to labour.

    Weekly Worker

    March 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  6. Gross misconduct is a clever move be it known or otherwise by chris grayling.

    This work experience will be like being under contract but with little to zero legal rights.
    Even the agreement you make at JCP can form a part of it.

    Yes things like theft are their but dependant on company so is breaking health and safety and the one of interest PERIOD OF NOTICE.

    I believe that this is possibly the weapon of choice that might be used.

    I would urge all who take part on such a work experience scheme to seek CAB ADVICE FIRST as it is quite unclear about what rights a trainee/volunteer actually have in such a matter.

    You might say give a weeks notice and leave without incident but still get punished if it conflicts with any agreement made. Generally its proportionate to the original agreement but can only be clarified by viewing what agreements are in place.

    The JCP’s biggest hurdle however is how if their going to act fair are they going to recruit these willing claimants in the first place.
    I hope they’ed make volunteering an attractive alternative to just looking for work without assistance but i cannot see this somehow.

    As for gross misconduct like violence,theft,etc as a breach, the JCP would have a hard time sanctioning you as it is a crime and as such is reportable to the police which if done would mean that the employer has yet to prove their case (innocent untill found guilty). If they dont then theirs no charge to answer for, either way they couldnt sanction you straight away.

    I say this as many a claimant has acted verbally or physically aggressive and or stole from the JCP yet hardly ever do they insist on having the arrest and charge go ahead.

    Also as well under the JSA agreement you could be sanctioned if

    •refuse or fail to carry out any reasonable jobseeker’s direction; or

    •lose a place on a training scheme or employment programme through misconduct; or

    •give up a place on a training scheme or employment programme without good cause; or

    •fail to attend a training scheme or employment programme without good cause; or

    •refuse or fail to apply for or accept a place on a training scheme or employment programme without good cause; or

    •neglect a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme or employment programme without good cause.

    These have still yet to be removed.

    I suppose all we can do is see what happens next on these youth schemes as only then will we see the true intent.


    March 2, 2012 at 8:43 am

    • I think its now clear,that the tory goverment dont want any of the unemployed to have any rights of any kind while on workfare,workprogramme and any other stupid title they are like to invent soon.Its best summed up under the human rights

      They are obsessed with the word mandatory which is implied forced having sanctions over the jobseeker should they have reasonable grounds in their view not to do the mindless trainning or poundland tesco route to working for minimum wage or in the case of those just on JSA would be £1.60 per hour.

      Article 4: Slavery
      (1) No one shall be held in slavery or servitude.
      (2) No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour. “unless they are unemployed”


      March 5, 2012 at 10:14 am

  7. “innocent untill found guilty”

    That quaint, old-fashioned idea is not a concept that features in the sanctioning system. So long as your training provider fills in the paperwork properly JCP will start the sanctioning process and then it’s up to you to convince the decision maker of your innocence.

    If you read the provider guidance produced by the DWP for the Work Programme the emphasis on using sanctions to “incentivise” participants is really quite chilling.


    March 2, 2012 at 9:02 am

    • thats correct, but here we have a different issue as your tempoary found guilty by default just by the opinion of the DWP of which most of the time havent a clue as to what their doing.

      Your money is stopped 1st,and it can take weeks to months for the appeal process to work,mean while the claimant is left to starve and get into serious arrears with bills and rent all because of some govermental bloody minded half wit scheme.

      This quote really somes it up from Mole! “incentivise” participants is really quite chilling. you can see where the incentive is.


      March 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

  8. This is disgusting, making people work for nothing is slavery.

    And saying that ‘your working for benifits’ is like saying ‘you have no right to benifits’

    If we qualify for Job seekers allowance then we have a right to it, Why should we now be a SLAVE to qualify for jobseekers allowance ??????

    This is so disturbingly wrong 😦

    Timothy Silversides

    March 2, 2012 at 1:20 pm

  9. I will print out and use that list of compaines using workfair, – I will make up some a4 sized protesting printouts for every one of them and hand them out tommorow.

    I hope everyone will aviod shopping with these companies.

    Timothy Silversides

    March 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  10. Just spoke to my sister who told me about this. she said they have sanctioned her because she left work experience on the 3rd day. ( was bullied because of being a jobseeker ) she hasnt had any jobseekers money for about 4 weeks and shes really struggling with a 6 year old girl to feed that she cant afford to feed. I cant lend her much money because I dont have any to spare so shes having a really tough time being sanctioned .


    March 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    • take them to a tribunal,contact citizens advice,put it in writing to the DWP,providing she can show evidence that she was bullied in some way,which may be difficult.You can appeal on the grounds that you see fit.They like people to take this lying down,dont let them.


      March 5, 2012 at 9:33 am

  11. Thats terrible, Sorry to hear about your sister and hopefully she gets her sanction lifted. with a child it makes a bad situation worse as its not just affecting her its affecting her child now.

    Tony Byworth

    March 2, 2012 at 4:55 pm

  12. Why are sanctions being removed from workfare but still being a threat to an individual on the workprogramme,as i understand it,mandatory work activity,refuse it and you are sanctioned? is this not discrimination amongst other things,namely the human rights act article 4, sec “2”


    March 5, 2012 at 9:30 am

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