Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Mandatory Work Activity: a Personal Experience.

with 16 comments

We publish this moving  guest post (with permission) by somebody who has undergone MWA.

Places and names are lightly disguised.

“To whom it may concern,

I have completed my 4 weeks of Mandatory Work Activities at a well-known Religious Charity and I have 3 things to say:

1) That it  is true that Provider X  is very tight when it comes to reimburse travel expenses:  I was asked to pay upfront for my weekly bus pass and every time I went to L to get my expenses back they, in general, never had any money left. When I asked for my 2 weeks fare to be reimburse they kind of accused me for not having come the previous week. They finally gave me the £18.80x 2 in 2 notes of £5, £4 in coins of £2 and the rest in 20p coins. The following week they told me that they did not have  money and that I would have to come back another day. I refused to leave, asked to speak to the manager who ended up collecting money (some of the notes clamped in between is two rows of teeth while looking for the remaining amount in the petty box. As if I wanted to share is mouth germs. On hearth???) from his own employees to pay back my fare. Pitiful, really!

I also had to travel a total of 2 hours and an  half, each day, to go to my work place.  Not that I would have mind doing it If I had been paid.

On the last week going to Provider X, to collect my transportation fare, I had to face the aggressive behavior of my advisor who was furious that I and two others on the same scheme had arrived half an hour late.  As if we had the choice to leave our work place at will?  As a result I felt like a kid who had done something terribly wrong and found myself stammering while answering.

Since Provider X  never reimburse the fare without showing the receipt (my MWA finished on a Monday, which mean I did not have a bus pass for the week but, simply some single tickets) it resulted that my return ticket from L  to my home was at my own expense: £2.30. In my situation… every little helps! and I was at lost.

2)  I was sent to MWA despite the fact that, and on my own initiative, I was already volunteering (three times a week) in a place where I was learning true valuable skills which could lead me, in the future, to potential employment. When I questioned my advisor on the matter, he simply answer that it was about being employed. My work placement was at the well-known Religious Charity  and, truly, he ought to have known that there were very little, not to say any, chances to be employed by this charity who mainly depend on volunteers in order to survive. Not to mention that, apart from sorting out the clothes, among other things, that are fit to go in the shop for sale, and going up and down the stairs at length, carrying heavy loads of heavy bags of rubbish throughout the day, I hardly learn anything valuable that would have helped me to find a job. All what I learned, with an absolute certitude though, is the extend of the society of consumerism in which we are living in: It’s staggering!

3)  I would also like to mention that the reason for why I have been on JSA is a direct result of the government cuts. I was a self-employed person partly depending on founding/ partly on tax credit and delivered art workshops to people of all age groups. I am now baffled on how the actual government can cut so much of these valuable, necessary and appreciated workshops that helped and supported many; contributing in taking lots of teenager off the street and gave a sense to their life and yet, still be able to gather 5 billion pounds on MWA.

Finally, I do not know if the information I provided above will be of any help to you, I shall hope so. In any case however, I really wanted you to know that I deeply appreciate what you are doing for the unemployed and the rest.”

N
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Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2012 at 11:41 am

16 Responses

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  1. This is the kind of punishment people get as community service sentences for minor crimes.

    It’s a scandal that this ‘well-known religious charity’ has become an extension of the Prison system.

    Guess which one it is….

    Andrew Coates

    November 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

  2. MWA is not about helping people, it is about punishment, and making sure the unemployed are seen to be punished. Simple as that. Common criminals now have more rights than unemployed people – could you imagine peole on community payback being denied their travel expenses?

    Sir Scab

    November 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm

  3. “well-known Religious Charity” – Salvation Army?

    Puzzler

    November 30, 2012 at 2:13 pm

  4. I wonder if that’s the same well known religious charity that owns my soul, right now!

    I think it’s pretty clear that, behind the scenes, money is passing hands regarding the Work Programme sending people on MWA. Clearly there is a financial incentive for them to do this with people.

    Ghost Whistler

    November 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    • Ghost Whistler heres how it works:

      The Private Providers get £400 for everyone referred to them on JSA, they are now going to get £600 for everyone referred to them by the DWP on ESA from the 3rd of December 2012, so regardless of which benefit your on, these Private Provider parasites are Thousands/ no stike that, they are Millions in pocket, just off the start up fee’s alone.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 1, 2012 at 4:38 pm

  5. It’s really sad to read about experiences like this, especially where Christian religious charities are concerned. In my experience there is a huge amount of hypocrisy surrounding most Christian organisations. They are not so much abouot understanding and compassion, but about condemnation and conformity. Any true Chrisitan would be up in arms and on our side in the situation we find ourselves in.

    sibrydionmawr

    November 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm

  6. ” had to face the aggressive behavior of my advisor who was furious that I and two others on the same scheme had arrived half an hour late. As if we had the choice to leave our work place at will? As a result I felt like a kid who had done something terribly wrong and found myself stammering while answering.”

    this happens towards the end of these schemes and sounds very much like the former new deal,there is no excuse to treat people in this way its an attempt to get people to sign off by bullying and torture wouldn’t be an out of place word. the affect can be seen at the end of the paragraph.

    ken

    December 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    • Ken:

      If your scheme was coming to an end, why didn’t you: turn around, in front of anyone or everyone present and say, I’ve finished my sentence here, now would you please excuse me I need to talk to my advisor as I have someting personal I’d like to ask him/her – off you go with the adivser into an area where there are no people and no CCTV? Do I have to say more?

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 1, 2012 at 5:20 pm

  7. Cameron: who authorised this, Osbourne who totally ageed with this, Iain Duncan Smith (The Achitect of this) who had to seek Cameron’s and Osbounre’s agreement to proceed with this, all of them should be lined up and s*ot. Nazi Bastards! – This is how Hitler got started back in 1937 when he was just a lieutenant in the regular army of Germany, with his radical ideas and ideals.

    People of Britain beware: The Evil Iain Duncan Smith – Plague of anyone on any kind of benefit.

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 1, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    • The thing is even if the Labour Party win the next election they won’t have the courage to do anything about these changes because they won’t want to look as if they’re being “soft” on benefit claimants. So what IDS and these truly evil bastards do no will be with us all for years.

      Argurious

      December 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

  8. I am glad that you found my comments/letter useful. I find your comment on punishment very appropriate since it is exactly what I had told my advisor at Job Centre Plus when I spontaneously told him that I felt like I was being punished. His answer was: ” but it is only for 4 weeks” ” I’m afraid you take things too personally”. My answer was, since that well known charity had 4 new people coming each weeks, “It seems that that we are far too many to take that fate too seriously”.

    Nobody

    December 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm

  9. gnatpi :
    I am glad that you found my comments/letter useful. I find your comment on punishment very appropriate since it is exactly what I had told my advisor at Job Centre Plus when I spontaneously told him that I felt like I was being punished. His answer was: ” but it is only for 4 weeks” ” I’m afraid you take things too personally”. My answer was, since that well known charity had 4 new people coming each weeks, “It seems that that we are far too many to take that fate too seriously”.

    gnatpi

    December 1, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    • <ins datetime="2012-12-02T10:11:08+00 Unless Nobody is an alias for Yvette Cooper – All I can say to you is – LET'S TALK TURKEY BABES!

      I ammended name on request of author (worried about sanctions possibly).

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      December 1, 2012 at 7:51 pm

  10. Nobody

    I appreciate your comment, however I make my own comments as I see fit and at my own discrestion and as my personal view permits – ok babes!

    Note: Sorry Ted by the name is removed on the strong request of the author. Andy

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    December 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm

  11. According to the DWP guidelines religious organisations are unsuitable

    “A1.8 Customers must not be expected to engage in activities which could
    put them at risk, or are against their personal beliefs. It would be difficult to
    produce a list of unsuitable activities; if in doubt, contact Jobcentre Plus for
    advice. Examples might include:

    *involvement in religion or party politics. “

    Mark

    January 30, 2013 at 10:42 pm

  12. I am currently on a mwa i am forced to work outside in bad weather conditions and no training i am at a recycling factory were i have to use machines that i have not been trained tonuse and take electrical stuff apart i think it is bad how they are not paying me extra i am working for nothing and its affecting my health because of the weather i am forced to work in but i am only doing it beacause if i didnt inwould not have a lot of money to look after my daughter so i think it is forced labour and exploitation

    Jordan

    March 14, 2013 at 2:16 pm


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