Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Jobseekers Work For Nothing and Get Treated like Dirt for Queen’s Jubilee: Is This a ‘One -Off’?

with 32 comments

Boycott Workfare carries the detailed story of the latest Workfare scandal and causes for deeper concern –Here.

Number 10 are panicked that the public might realise that when people are made to work without pay, exploitation of the kind seen at the Queen’s Jubilee becomes not only possible but likely. They seek to assure us that this is a “one-off… isolated incident”.

From This is Plymouth,

Forelock tugging award of the year to this individual,

One trainee…..said they waited under London Bridge for two hours until 5am before working as stewards during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

He blamed “moaners and whingers” for exaggerating their plight.

But another Plymouth man, who quit halfway through, said the experience was “terrible”.

Plymouth City Council leader Cllr Tudor Evans has demanded an explanation for the alleged poor treatment of the Plymouth jobseekers.

Mr Evans said he had written to the charity Tomorrow’s People, which is responsible for organising the training as part of the Government’s Welfare to Work programme. The trip was designed to give proof of working as stewards at a major event to go in their NVQ folders. Tomorrow’s People has now begun an investigation.


We note that Tomorrow’s People (Here) say that they are,

an innovative national employment charity that is changing the lives of some of society’s most excluded and marginalised people through work.

Indeed these well-paid Charities are.

The Void more to the point, says that Tomorrow’s People are a Tory Business Fronthere.

We would be interested to hear of any Suffolk cases, particularly involving the Suffolk Show.


Written by Andrew Coates

June 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm

32 Responses

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  1. I’ve become increasingly aware of the response to this. Would it be paranoid to suggest this story has been heavily downplayed in the media? It seems discussions have done their best to pull out people involved that want to put a positive spin on this, even so far as to trying to say that the naysayers are putting the potential jobs they were all working for at risk! It’s just getting more and more shrill. Meanwhile the status quo wants to compare having to wait under a bridge like a bloody troll to Dunkirk, or the ‘stirling service’ our unelected queen has done over 60 years: that somehow these people should be grateful!
    The whole thing sounds like the plot of a cold war fiction, with people bussed to checkpoint charlie in the dead of night. I despair of this country: it’s the world according to Beecroft. Coming soon to a jubilee near you.

    Ghost Whistler

    June 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    • I doubt if any paranoia is involved: I would imagine that a ‘charity’ like Tomorrow’s People spends quite a bit of cash on publicists, spin-doctors and lobbyists. Not to mention their own salaries.

      Andrew Coates

      June 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      • By coincidence (referred to in today’s Guardian):


        1 June 2012

        18 June 2012 Job Title:Communications & Media ManagerWorking For:Tomorrow’s People Location:LondonSalary:circa £32,000Job Details:
        Tomorrow’s People, a leading UK employment charity, has a compelling story to tell. This is an exciting opportunity for an accomplished and enthusiastic communications professional to help us raise our profile and manage our brand.

        We seek a skilled individual with a flair for communications to work alongside the Director of Development Services. As part of a small team, this new role will demand a resourceful individual to help to raise the profile of the charity’s work with internal and external audiences, strengthen our profile as a thought leader and embed our reputation as the leading provider of employment support services for those furthest from employment.

        Andrew Coates

        June 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm

  2. the Mandatory Work Activity Scheme” means a scheme within section 17A (schemes for assisting persons to obtain employment: “work for your benefit” schemes etc.) of the Act known by that name and provided pursuant to arrangements made by the Secretary of State that is designed to provide work or work-related activity for up to 30 hours per week over a period of four consecutive weeks with a view to assisting claimants to improve their prospects of obtaining employment;
    “the Scheme” means the Mandatory Work Activity Scheme; and
    “working day” means any day except for a Saturday, Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971(12) in England, Wales or Scotland

    super ted

    June 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm

  3. Here we go again. When will people realise that the UK does NOT treat her unemployed well? Attacking the unemployed in the UK is the same as attacking the victim of mistreatment.

    Nalik Janus

    June 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm

  4. “They seek me here, they seek me there, those Jobseekers seek me everywhere. Am in heaven or am in hell? Am I hiding under a provider’s desk or in a provider’s cupboard? That damned elusive Hidden Job.”

    Scarlet PIMPernel

    June 8, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  5. Manager at Jubilee stewards firm and ‘illegal access to secret police files’

    A senior manager for Close Protection UK — the firm at the centre of the Jubilee stewards scandal — was passed highly sensitive information from the police national computer, it has been claimed. An officer was forced to quit Greater Manchester Police over the scandal, in which confidential intelligence on criminals was accessed illegally.

    Former police officer Georgina Willetts (above left) admitted ‘conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office’ after being arrested over allegations she showed secret files to her husband Craig Willetts (above right) — who was subsequently employed as a senior manager at Close Protection UK.

    The revelation comes after Political Scrapbook exposed the criminal past of the firm’s owner, Molly Prince. The former pub landlord — whose shadowy network of companies have creamed millions from the taxpayer — received a 12-month suspended sentence after a man was beaten into a coma with a stick.

    With the company accredited with Approved Contractor Status (ACS) by government regulator the Security Industry Authority (SIA), their website has bragged that Craig Willetts played:

    “… a key role in achieving SIA ACS status for Close Protection UK.”

    Did we mention that they have the fire safety contract at the Olympics?

    Article here .

    Political Scrapbook

    June 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

  6. Jubilee stewards boss convicted for perverting the course of justice

    The director of Close Protection UK — the company responsible for the Jubilee stewards fiasco — received a twelve months suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice. The conviction relates to a family dispute which resulted in a man in coma.

    Molly Prince made the admission in a chapter she wrote for a book titled Bouncers and Bodyguards: Tales From A Twilight World, which bills itself as “a collection of astonishing true stories…from some of Britain’s most notorious figures“. In her chapter, From Landlord to Trainer of Bodyguards, she says:

    “I copped a plea of perverting the course of justice and was given a 12-month suspended sentence”

    Prince was initially arrested on suspicion of GBH, and writes of the victim:

    “I believe he never fully recovered”

    Later on, talking about her move from being a licensee to getting into training, Prince tells of her experience attending a financial management course, and how it led to her decision to found the Learning Development Centre:

    “[the trainers] earned approximately £3,500 for three days work, whereas I was still working ninety or so hours a week in a friggin’ pub for a fraction of that. There and then I decided that training was the business to be in.”

    What on earth is this woman doing with Olympics contracts?

    Article here .

    Political Scrapbook

    June 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm

  7. Back to the workhouse

    In all the debate about jubilee stewards sleeping under bridges, one big fact is being overlooked – Britain’s army of unpaid labour is growing bigger each month

    If the diamond jubilee celebrations were meant to somehow reflect 21st-century Britain, it was only fitting that two unshakable features of modern life would find their way into all the pomp and silliness. First came yet another example of the screaming hostility that rises up whenever the BBC does anything even slightly untoward, then an outbreak of angst about the growing numbers of people who are expected to work for nothing.

    A brief recap, then. On the night of Saturday 2 June, a security firm called Close Protection UK bussed around 80 people from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth to London, where they were to work as stewards in and around the jubilee river pageant. Fifty were classed as apprentices and rewarded to the tune of £2.80 an hour. Another 30 were “customers” of the government’s work programme, given training placements with Close Protection UK and promised temporary paid work at the Olympics – but for their travails at the jubilee celebrations, they were paid nothing. Having arrived in the capital on Sunday morning, all of them were told to sleep under London Bridge from 3am to 5.30am. After long hours working in the cold and wet, they then made their way to a campsite in Essex, where they bedded down in conditions described by some of them as “swampy”.

    The Guardian’s Shiv Malik broke the story 24 hours later, and in the following days, everything needed for a national shoutfest fell into place. There was the obligatory phone-in on the Jeremy Vine show, items on Today and Newsnight, and a tour of the studios from an angry John Prescott. Downing Street claimed the incident was a “one-off”. In all the debate, though, one big fact was overlooked: that the 30 stewards on the work programme were one small part of a national army of unpaid labour, which seems to be growing bigger every month.

    Much of this can be traced back to innovations by the last government, which decisively embraced what some people call workfare – though the coalition has expanded such practices to mindboggling proportions. Sometimes this is a matter of people being forced to work for nothing under pain of having their benefits stopped. Slightly higher up the employment hierarchy, it might be a matter of a jobcentre or work programme adviser telling them a spell of unpaid work will brighten up their CV, or lead to a proper job with the same employer. Politicians praise all these things as a means of getting people into work and thereby attacking unemployment; what nobody mentions is that expanding unpaid labour ensures there is even less proper work in the economy.

    On Friday, I spoke to one of the 30 unpaid people at the heart of the controversy. This young woman had been made redundant early last year. Eventually, she was referred by her jobcentre adviser to Tomorrow’s People, a charity administering the work programme, and persuaded to train for a qualification in security work. As part of her training, she had already worked for nothing, but only once: at a football match, “observing the crowd and making sure there were no issues”, with six other people on the same scheme. When she and others were informed about the jubilee weekend, she said, they were at first told they would be paid around £400, “but at the last minute, they said, ‘You’re not getting anything – it’s work experience’.”

    Sleeping under London bridge, she said, had been impossible: “It was too cold, it was raining, and there were way too many people.” She thus started work at 9.30am, having had no sleep for upwards of 20 hours. She put on her work clothes “in public, in the cold”. Breakfast – “piddly”, she said – had not arrived until 9.15am. The first chance she had to use a toilet, she claimed, was at 2pm. She was supposed to stop work 12 hours after she started, “but me and some other people gave up, cos we were that cold and wet, at six o’clock.” She was then told to take the tube to the end of the Central line, whereupon she called her mother and stepfather almost 150 miles away and asked them to come and get her. “I was that distraught. I had five layers on, and I was soaked through. I was having trouble breathing. After standing up for nine hours, I had a back spasm; I could barely walk. I’d just had enough.”

    “I’m signing on tomorrow,” she said, “and I’m asking to be withdrawn from Tomorrow’s People. I can’t trust them. I don’t want to be treated like dirt, working long hours for nothing.

    “There’s work experience, and there’s slave labour. I wouldn’t mind work experience for free if it was in good conditions and I was treated properly … not being asked to change in public and having no access to a toilet.” (By way of a response, Tomorrow’s People supplied the Guardian with a list of contact numbers for other work programme participants who had been taken to London on an unpaid basis; they proved to be either unavailable, or unwilling to talk).

    The companies that either are, or have been, involved in welfare-to-work schemes extend into the distance. As well as charities and social enterprises such as Tomorrow’s People, there are the specialist companies that deliver such projects as the work programme (G4S, Serco, the now-notorious A4e), some of which benefit from work experience by giving unemployed people placements in their own offices. Further along the chain are the high-street businesses that take on unemployed people as temporary unpaid workers.

    Government schemes that stipulate unpaid work has to be of “community benefit” also involve an array of organisations specialising in supposed voluntary work, which often use unemployed people to staff their offices and shops; there is a lot of noise on activists’ websites about the British Heart Foundation, which has 700 such outlets. Its policy director Betty McBride told me that: “As things stand, in every one of our shops, we have work programme placements – some mandatory, some voluntary.” The public sector is also involved: last month it emerged that Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals trust was planning to use unpaid unemployed people on hospital wards, performing such tasks as “general tidying” and “assisting with feeding patients”.

    What all this means for wider society and the economy is highlighted by the 20 minutes I spent talking to a 22-year-old work programme “customer” from East Anglia (as with just about everyone I’ve ever contacted about welfare to work, he insisted his identity was kept secret). His last job before nine months of unemployment was with a mobile phone repair company; late last year, he was put on the work programme with the welfare-to-work company Seetec. Seetec recommended that while he continued to claim jobseekers’ allowance of £56.25 a week, he should do a four-week work experience placement at a city-centre branch of Argos, which began last month.

    “I said I’d only do work experience if there were vacancies at the end,” he said. “But at every point Seetec were like, ‘They employ people all the time.’ And as soon as I went into Argos, the people there said: ‘There are no jobs at the end of this.'” He said he tried to leave the placement, but was told that if he did, his benefit would be stopped.

    In his first week, he worked for 30 hours (“10 hours more than anyone who was getting paid to work there”), before contacting Seetec and discovering he was only meant to put in 16. “I was doing the bit where you get the item from the warehouse and put it on the shelf, for [the customer] to collect it,” he said. When he arrived, he was one of four people on jobseekers’ allowance doing supposed work experience; three weeks later, there were six such people, working a variety of shifts, out of a workforce of between 15 and 20.

    One man sent to Argos by Jobcentre Plus, he said, had been working unpaid for 30 hours a week in a six-week placement. “No one who was paid was getting overtime any more,” he said. “Everyone was being cut down to four-hour shifts. A guy who worked there told me that. The staff were very demoralised that we were taking up so much potential shift work.”

    Training, he said, was flimsy. Health and safety instruction – “How to walk up a ladder and lift up boxes” – lasted for half an hour, an explanation of the basics of the job and a formal induction took 90 minutes, and that was that. He finished the placement last Saturday, and is now being put on a retail training course: “I said to my adviser, ‘I don’t know what that entails, but I might as well do it, because it’s proper training, not work experience.'”

    In response to his story, Seetec said it could not comment on individual cases, but was “investigating the allegation”. An Argos spokesperson said the company “understands there are concerns about our involvement in the government work experience programme”, but its stores “have clear principles for helping young people into the world of work”. She claimed that its policy on placements is to “only use Jobcentre Plus as a partner” and offered to “investigate where another supplier has been used”. The six-week placements organised with jobcentres, she said, are offered “only where there is the prospect of a permanent job” and there is always “a training plan that helps the individual go on to secure a job, either within the business or elsewhere”. Argos, she said, is committed to ensuring that unpaid unemployed people “work alongside, not replace, paid colleagues”.

    One particular pressure group has made the running on the issue of unpaid work: Boycott Workfare, one of those nimble, non-hierarchical, online-focused organisations that regularly crash-land in the news. When I spoke to a member of the group called Joanna Long, she said that at any given time hundreds of thousands of people could be working for nothing, undercutting paid workers’ terms and conditions, and providing a vast subsidy for the private sector. She also said the group was looking forward to 26 and 27 June, when two judicial review cases against the Department of Work and Pensions will come to the High Court in London. One is being brought by Cait Reilly, the geology graduate who was forced to give up volunteering in a museum and work unpaid in a Birmingham branch of Poundland.

    “We’re talking about tens of millions of pounds being handed to companies in unpaid work,” she said, before suggesting that the issue undermines the fashionable idea that most Britons want to throw people on welfare to the lions. “People know it’s their jobs and overtime that are being attacked. So it’s not good for them, and they know it’s not good for unemployed people either.”

    Like some of the companies involved, the government is sensitive about all this. Back in February there was a spectacular burst of protest focused on the government’s key work experience programme for young people, whereby the unemployed under 25 are encouraged to put in up to eight weeks of work experience – and, as things stood then, risked losing benefit if they left any placement once the first week was up. Zeroing in on this element of the scheme, protesters targeted an array of big retail chains – Tesco, chiefly – and after many companies vowed to pull out, the government pledged to make participation voluntary, while also decrying those who took issue with such schemes as “job snobs”. Pressure groups such as Boycott Workfare claim people are still effectively being forced into taking part – and in any case, whether it’s voluntary or compulsory, the practice of employing people for nothing is expanding at speed.

    Last month, the government vowed to double the numbers of unemployed people forced to work for their benefit – for four weeks at a time, up to 30 hours a week – under what officialspeak calls mandatory work activity, which could mean an increase to around 80,000 placements a year. The coalition is also aiming to create 250,000 work experience places for young people before 2015. The official blurb says the latter are a matter of “voluntary work experience”, though when George Osborne announced the scheme last year, he said: “Young people who do not engage with this offer will be considered for mandatory work activity, and those who drop out without good reason will lose their benefits.”

    Then there is the work programme, launched in June 2011, focused on people unemployed for a year or more, and built around the private companies and charities that are paid according to how many people they get into work. At the last count, around 565,000 people had been referred to the scheme over the six months to January 2012. Unpaid work experience is an inbuilt element of what the work programme offers to its participants. How long placements can last is by no means clear: the government says its so-called “black box” approach means that it is down to the discretion of A4e, Serco et al, and Freedom of Information requests have revealed that at least one work programme provider, the multinational firm Ingeus (owned by the city giant Deloitte), can put “customers” in unpaid work for up to six months.

    And so the array of schemes and projects goes on. Some 300,000 people, either suffering from a long-term illness or disabled, are included in what the government calls the work-related activity group, and there have been proposals to introduce many of them to the wonders of mandatory work experience. There is also a pilot scheme called the community action programme (up to 30 hours of unpaid work a week, for as long as six months), and sector-based work academies (combinations of training and unpaid work lasting up to six weeks). All of this points up one of the most sobering things about modern Britain: there may be a paucity of proper work, but there seems to be no shortage of the unpaid variety.

    When it comes to young graduates, meanwhile, rules long since imported from the US mean that unpaid work experience is an increasingly obligatory step on the road to professional employment. The thinktank IPPR reckons that at any given time around half of the 250,000 internships in the UK are paid below the minimum wage and 18% – around 45,000 – are wholly unpaid. Note also the government’s plans to double the number of people doing full-time paid work in prison, much of it for private companies. Most working inmates are paid very low wages: news emerged this week of the contract for prison work handed to the food packaging company Calpac, which pays an “office manager” £40 for a 40-hour week, and puts a “manual packing operative” on 55p an hour.

    To finish, back to our hardworking and comfortably off monarch. Just as the jubilee celebrations got going, the Queen paid tribute to “the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance that created it”. She had a point – but there is also a very British tradition of grim exploitation, embodied by such inventions as the workhouse and the sweatshop. And at this rate, it may be about to return, in spades.

    Article + comments here .

    The Guardian

    June 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

  8. Daves slaves. How very apt! I think I like that phrase to describe this cluster ****.

    Unfortunately if youre looking for a modicum of sense in this policy it wont come easy to the average person. You dont naturally think of exploiting people as a sensible thing. However if you try and get into the governments current mindframe that anyone who is not of a certain birth or background and doesnt have above average income etc not as human but as a farmable resource youre well on your way to understanding. When you add in the concept of ‘all your cash are belong to us’ then youre pretty much there.

    Y’see theres this huge pool of cash in the UK that we normally use for welfare. That runs along the lines of benefits which keep people from starving and ending up homeless or healthcare and local services which keep people healthy, policing and safety etc. They are the things that keep our civilization from going backwards in terms of living standards.
    The majority of us pay tax towards this in a variety of ways for each general pool of cash which pays for each sector’s services. Contrary to the belief of some, those at the very botttom do pay tax as benefits are actually taxable and even those who are unemployed will often have years of NI and income tax contributions as well as the daily contributions like VAT.
    Now along come the politicians (and it aint just the Conservatives…) who are using the two thought processes above – human = cattle and money = mine.
    All that money going to or being used to pay for things used by cattle when it should be mine!

    Since cattle dont have human rights they dont really need to worry about things like forced labour or killing and maining the cattle who are sick or disabled. Cattle are to be consumed after all.
    So in order to make sure that the money that the cattle obviously shouldnt be getting is properly rerouted into the hands of the noble protector humans they needed a plan.
    Now we have the idea that a whole chunk of the money in the pool gets routed into this scheme to be paid out in large amounts to the protectors in order to look after the poor cattle who cant be trusted to spend such money on themselves or access services. While in the care of protectors the ridiculous amounts of previous spending on the cows themselves can be reduced to the proper minimum needed for bare survival with the rest being sent into the loving care of the protectors. The protectors can also then be rewarded for their good work by using the cows as they choose to maximise bovine efficiency in profit generation. The rental of cows is a hit strategy! This could be even further increased by sacking people and increasing the number of cows available to use.
    The situation is then remedied! Only the minimum amount of cash going to pay for cows while the rest of it goes to humans.

    A rather clever chap pointed out though that some of the cows were mooing and making an awful racket about how little they were getting, about them dying or not having enough to eat and it was stirring up the herd. So it was decided to make clear to the public how unworthy the cattle were and how ungreatful they were being. Lazy lumps of beef who refuse to cooperate and we’re spending money on them. Members of the public who were afraid of becoming cows would condem them to gain favour and the uppity members of the herd could be threatened with starvation and homelessness so they would comply.

    And here we are today. The ‘herd’ we have is several million and growing as unemployment booms and job creation drops. People who were in employment are losing hours and even their entire job in order to be replaced by workfare placements. We pay several times over – to the placement provider, to the business that takes the workfare placement, and the benefit to the worker – costing us billions that could be spent in far more effective ways.
    Sick and disabled people are being included in this now and the age of people subject to mandatory workfare includes those in their 50’s because this really isnt anything to do with giving experience to new grads or untested youths – its about maximum profit and they wouldnt want to miss juicy groups like that.
    The government wants to withdraw from the human rights legislature and have humans rights decided by them which would be what they think we deserve – bare minimum.
    The NHS, the police, utilities that we need to survive, shelter etc all privatised so that only the richest can access them and inevitably profit from them.
    Campaigns to convince the public that those the government wants to use deserve such treatment – media frenzy regarding ‘workshy scroungers’ or ‘fake disabled fraud’ so that the public doesnt care when those groups are abused thinking it is only fair or staying silent out of fear that they may end up joining them.

    Worst of all the government actually think this is the right way and that theyre doing good.


    Animal Farm

    June 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

  9. For a’ That and a’ That
    By Robert Burns

    Is there, for honest poverty,
    That hings his head, an’ a’ that?
    The coward slave, we pass him by,
    We dare be poor for a’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Our toils obscure, an’ a’ that;
    The rank is but the guinea’s stamp;
    The man’s the gowd for a’ that,

    What tho’ on hamely fare we dine,
    Wear hoddin-gray, an’ a’ that;
    Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
    A man’s a man for a’ that.
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Their tinsel show an’ a’ that;
    The honest man, tho’ e’er sae poor,
    Is king o’ men for a’ that.

    Ye see yon birkie, ca’d a lord
    Wha struts, an’ stares, an’ a’ that;
    Tho’ hundreds worship at his word,
    He’s but a coof for a’ that:
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    His riband, star, an’ a’ that,
    The man o’ independent mind,
    He looks and laughs at a’ that.

    A prince can mak a belted knight,
    A marquis, duke, an’ a’ that;
    But an honest man’s aboon his might,
    Guid faith he mauna fa’ that!
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    Their dignities, an’ a’ that,
    The pith o’ sense, an’ pride o’ worth,
    Are higher rank than a’ that.

    Then let us pray that come it may,
    As come it will for a’ that,
    That sense and worth, o’er a’ the earth,
    May bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
    For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
    It’s coming yet, for a’ that,
    That man to man, the warld o’er,
    Shall brothers be for a’ that.

    Robert Burns

    June 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm

  10. “Song-To the Men of England”
    By Shelley

    Men of England, wherefore plough
    For the lords who lay ye low?
    Wherefore weave with toil and care
    The rich robes your tyrants wear?

    Wherefore feed and clothe and save,
    From the cradle to the grave,
    Those ungrateful drones who would
    Drain your sweat -nay, drink your blood?

    Wherefore, Bees of England, forge
    Many a weapon, chain, and scourge,
    That these stingless drones may spoil
    The forced produce of your toil?

    Have ye leisure, comfort, calm,
    Shelter, food, love’s gentle balm?
    Or what is it ye buy so dear
    With your pain and with your fear?

    The seed ye sow another reaps;
    The wealth ye find another keeps;
    The robes ye weave another wears;
    The arms ye forge another bears.

    Sow seed, -but let no tyrant reap;
    Find wealth, -let no imposter heap;
    Weave robes, -let not the idle wear;
    Forge arms, in your defence to bear.

    Shrink to your cellars, holes, and cells;
    In halls ye deck another dwells.
    Why shake the chains ye wrought? Ye see
    The steel ye tempered glance on ye.

    With plough and spade and hoe and loom,
    Trace your grave, and build your tomb,
    And weave your winding-sheet, till fair
    England be your sepulchre!”


    June 9, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  11. My grandfather – a lifelong socialist – told me, before he died, that he thought my generation were throwing away all the good that his generation had fought tooth and nail to establish.


    June 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

  12. JBS

    June 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

  13. Two strikes and you’re out: Jobseekers who fail to turn up to interviews or drop out of work programmes will be forced to carry out unpaid work

    Unpaid posts have been designed to get unemployed used to nine-to-five work

    Job Centre staff have been given power to force benefit claimants to do ‘mandatory work activities’

    Policy to be unveiled by employment minister Chris Grayling this week

    Unemployed benefit claimants will be forced to carry out unpaid work if they refuse to turn up for two interviews or drop out of work programmes.

    Under the ‘two strikes and you are out’ policy, the jobless will be told to work unpaid for up to 30 hours a week or they will be stripped of their benefits.

    Sources say the results of a trial scheme are so striking that ministers are rolling it out nationwide this month in a programme hitting up to 50,000 unemployed.

    Job Centre staff have been given the power to force anyone claiming out-of-work benefits to take part in ‘mandatory work activity’ – unpaid posts designed to get them used to working from nine to five.

    Those who appear unwilling to look for work can be referred to the scheme at any stage, even on the first day of their claim.

    The placements are typically with charities or involve some kind of community service, such as helping to maintain parks, working in a local sports club or doing maintenance work for housing residents.

    Those who refuse to take part, or agree but then fail to turn up, have their £67.50-a-week unemployment benefit stopped for a minimum of three months.

    Pilots have found that half of those claiming unemployment benefits would prefer to lose their handouts than do a stint of unpaid work.

    Figures show that 20 per cent of those ordered to take part in four-week community projects stop claiming immediately and another 30 per cent are stripped of their benefits when they fail to turn up.

    Officials suspect many of those who stop claiming benefits are working in the black economy and would rather lose their welfare than give up their undeclared earnings.

    The scheme, which is delivered by a range of organisations from the private, voluntary and third sector, is already underway in London, the East and Yorkshire & the Humber.

    In a major expansion of the scheme, it will now be rolled out throughout the country.

    It will cost around £5million because officials have to arrange work placements and monitor claimants’ attendance. However, ministers believe it will produce big savings to Britain’s £100billion benefits bill in the long term.

    The mandatory work activity scheme is separate to the unpaid work experience for private firms, which critics have attacked as ‘slave labour’.

    About 18,000 people a year are believed to be part-taking in the ‘mandatory work activity’-scheme.

    Employment minister Chris Grayling, who will be unveiling the policy later this week, wants to double this figure.

    Grayling said: ‘If Jobcentre Plus advisers believe a jobseeker would benefit from getting some experience of the work environment they can now refer them onto a work activity placement.

    ‘These placements are all about getting people into a working routine if they need an additional push to get into employment.

    ‘This is beneficial to some jobseekers as it will allow them to develop more of a “work orientated mindset” but it also makes them a much more appealing prospect for an employer looking to fill a vacancy, and more confident when they enter the workplace.

    ‘We are determined to break the habit of worklessness and get those who can work into jobs.’

    Article + comments here.

    Daily Heil

    June 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    • 1> British men WILL be made to work in low paid and no-pay jobs until they drop down dead. 2>With people refusing to work for free (59 year old man refuses to dig ditches for no wages, for example) so lising their benefits, no one will ever know the REAL unemployment stats. 3>People in low paid jobs WILL live in fear of losing their job then being made to work for free – this fear will particularly hit older men who will know that they if they are made to work for free they will rapidly become ill. Summary – this scheme is about pretending unemployment is falling and killing off British men to save paying out pensions.

      D Wright

      June 10, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      • Spot on!!!


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