Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights

Equality Commission Inquiry Follows UN inquiry into DWP’s rights violations

What the Government Really Cares About.

Last year this was reported.

David Cameron dismisses UN inquiry into DWP’s treatment of disabled people

We have not heard the results of this initiative.

This has now been announced: Equality watchdog to mirror UN inquiry into DWP’s rights violations

But not before this happened – for anybody still taken in by Iain Duncan Smith’s snivelling on the BBC.

Five months ago, Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned last month as work and pensions secretary, dismissed an EHRC offer to help MPs and peers understand the true impact on disabled people and other groups of his welfare reform and work bill, which has since been passed by parliament.

Letters between EHRC and Duncan Smith were published on the commission’s website, following a freedom of information request, and showed that he snubbed an offer from the watchdog to “work more closely” on the equality impact assessments the Department for Work and Pensions published alongside the bill.

In a briefing on its website published last year, EHRC said it was concerned that parts of the bill “could exacerbate, rather than reduce, existing inequalities”.

And it suggested then that measures such as reducing the benefit cap, freezing many benefit rates, and the cut of nearly £30-a-week from April 2017 for new claimants placed in the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance could breach the government’s international human rights obligations, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The equality watchdog is to commission a major piece of research into whether the government’s welfare reforms have harmed the human rights of disabled people and other minority groups.

Welfare Weekly reports,

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says it wants to examine the impact of changes to the welfare system on independent living and poverty.

Its decision appears to mirror the decision of the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities to carry out an unprecedented inquiry into “systematic and grave violations” of disabled people’s human rights by the UK government, which is examining the impact of a series of welfare reforms and social care cuts carried out since 2010.

The EHRC announcement was included in the watchdog’s new business plan for 2016-17, which was published on Monday (4 April) without any publicity.

The business plan says: “Everyone has a right to an adequate standard of living, including a minimum entitlement to food, clothing and housing.”

It adds: “It is not clear whether the government’s reforms to tax, welfare and public spending have taken into account the cumulative impact of these changes on the standard of living of disabled people and other groups who may have been disproportionately affected.”

EHRC says it will focus its work in this area in 2016-17 on commissioning an assessment to “determine how changes to the welfare system have affected equality of opportunity and the human rights of people who share certain protected characteristics”.

It adds: “This will enable us to identify whether the system effectively supports all groups into work and where improvements are needed to address unintended consequences.”

Five months ago, Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned last month as work and pensions secretary, dismissed an EHRC offer to help MPs and peers understand the true impact on disabled people and other groups of his welfare reform and work bill, which has since been passed by parliament.

Letters between EHRC and Duncan Smith were published on the commission’s website, following a freedom of information request, and showed that he snubbed an offer from the watchdog to “work more closely” on the equality impact assessments the Department for Work and Pensions published alongside the bill.

In a briefing on its website published last year, EHRC said it was concerned that parts of the bill “could exacerbate, rather than reduce, existing inequalities”.

And it suggested then that measures such as reducing the benefit cap, freezing many benefit rates, and the cut of nearly £30-a-week from April 2017 for new claimants placed in the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance could breach the government’s international human rights obligations, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Other areas EHRC plans to focus on this year for the first time include the launch of a new inquiry examining the provision and choice of housing for disabled people and its impact on independent living.

It also plans to review progress made by public bodies on implementing the recommendations of its 2011 disability hate crime inquiry, Hidden In Plain Sight, which concluded that they were guilty of a “systematic, institutional failure” to recognise disability-related harassment.

Other work will include a major new project that aims to address the discrimination faced by some groups – including disabled people – in accessing health and social care, and it will develop a strategy for tackling gender, disability and race pay gaps.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 10, 2016 at 11:23 am

A4E, Gulity of Racial Discrimination, SERCO, alleged ‘sexual abuse’, where will this all end?

A4E, and SERCO are important players in the ‘welfare-to-work’ business.

A4E’s finger in the Work Programme and other pies is well-known.

SERCO runs the Work Programme in Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and The Marches; and South Yorkshire.

SERCO also runs a host of dodgy outfits, including the immigration detention centre at Yarl’s Wood.

Apparently they are up to get slice of the Probation Service as well.

First we have A4E (Guardian today),

The training company A4e has been found guilty of racial discrimination and been ordered to pay out £50,000 in compensation, the Guardian has learned. Employment tribunal judges found that the company, paid £345m by the Department for Work and Pensions for its back-to-work employment services since 2010, racially discriminated against Rohim Ullah when it unlawfully dismissed him from its Bradford office in 2011.

Two other white managers who were facing almost identical allegations of failing to follow proper procedures – one of whom was also accused of commenting that an Iraqi customer should “fuck off back to his own country” – were not subject to a similar standard of investigation, tribunal judges found.

Ullah, from Yorkshire, who was “very pleased” at winning the two-year battle, said he was picked on by the company because of the colour of his skin.”I believe the reason why they discriminated against me was they had to find a scapegoat [for failures in the office] … and they thought, we’ll get this black person here.”

In their judgment, the tribunal said it could not understand why A4e, which is appealing against the ruling, chose to proceed with allegations of serious misconduct against only Ullah and ignored the similar allegations made against two white members of staff which were “swept under the carpet or treated as minor misconduct [issues]”.

“The other managers were not even questioned regarding these allegations, but every comment that was made against me, they took it [their investigations] to the extreme limit,” Ullah said.

Giving their verdict, the judges said that 40-year-old Ullah was “the subject of unlawful detriment in facing disciplinary proceedings leading to his dismissal and that he was unlawfully dismissed as an act of race discrimination”.

In a statement, A4e said it was proud to have a diverse community of people within its organisation and that it had in place robust policies to protect their rights and to ensure that all staff were treated with dignity and respect.

Then we see this about one of SERCO’s lucrative wings  (Observer yesterday),

Three more women have come forward to corroborate allegations of inappropriate sexual contact between inmates and staff at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre, including claims that such behaviour is still going on.

Their accounts support allegations made by a former detainee in theObserver on Septhember 15 and challenge the assertion made by Serco, the private-sector company that runs Yarl’s Wood, that alleged sexual contact between women and staff is not widespread.

You wonder exactly how they treat their welfare clients as well.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 23, 2013 at 10:36 am

Carry the Can Food Bank Event in Ipswich.

This is well meaning but  desperately sad.

This Sunday (19th May) 
No Morning Service, 
We are meeting with over 2000 other Christians in the Centre of Ipswich at the Pentecost Celebration on the Cornhill(see below)
10:30 Singing Starts
11:00 The Event “Carry the Can”
If you are going please remember to bring a can of food, eg soup, vegetables, to donate to the “FIND food bank”

From here.

The idea that the problems of people in Ipswich without enough food to eat – caused by the Liberal Tory Coalition’s Welfare ‘reforms’ – can be solved with 2,500 cans….

Written by Andrew Coates

May 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

Salvation Army Now Running Employment Plus Services.

 
Quacking Plums has this important post.
 
“The Salvation Army is working together with Employment Plus and professional training course QTT who run the courses at the Employment Resource Centre at the Salvation Army.” 
 
 “Captain Liz Hancock, commanding officer at Cradley Heath Salvation Army, said: “Right at the heart of the Salvation Army’s mission is a burning desire to reach out to people within the community by offering practical, emotional and spiritual support wherever possible.”
 
A ceremony was held at the Meredith Street church for the latest intake of adults who have passed the BTEC Level 2 warehousing and storage principals course.  (From Halesowen News)
 
The Salvation Army is working together with Employment Plus and professional training course QTT who run the courses at the Employment Resource Centre at the Salvation Army.
 
QP comments:
 
Firstly, Employment Plus is the Salvation Army. At first I assumed they were as separate as this quote implies, staffed by people independent of the SA (ie not necessarily god botherers with military ranks attached). But that’s not the case.
 
Their staff are members of the SA, uniforms and all and they operate within SA premises (ie churches, as I discovered). The article even refers to the person in charge of that SA outfit as its commanding officer!
 
The Salvation Army may have some merits. But one of this is not being either religiously or culturally neutral. It has an unappealing history with the right-wing Festival of Light (1971)  which campaigned against the ‘Permissive Society’. Its more recent positions on gay rights (in the line one can guess) are also criticised – here.
 
The idea that job-seekers should be obliged to attend courses under their particular brand of Evangelical Christianity, and that the state subsidies this, is an utter utter scandal.
 
 

Written by Andrew Coates

August 30, 2012 at 10:18 am

Government Right to Introduce Forced Labour: Court Rules on Cait Reilly.

The government’s back-to-work schemes, which have been criticised as “forced labour”, are lawful, the High Court ruled on Monday.

The Honourable Mr Justice Foskett  saw fit to make this pompous comment,

the scheme is “a very long way removed from the kind of colonial exploitation of labour that led to the formulation of Article 4”.

“Characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to “slavery” or “forced labour” seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking.”

The judgment was in response to unemployed graduate Cait Reilly’s challenge. The 22-year-old which claimed the scheme breached the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as it “forced” her to work for free.

The DWP also saw fit to make this sinister comment,

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said:

“We are delighted, although not surprised, that the Judge agrees our schemes are not forced labour. Comparing our initiatives to slave labour is not only ridiculous but insulting to people around the world facing real oppression.

Those who oppose this process are actually opposed to hard work and they are harming the life chances of unemployed young people who are trying to get on.”

Huffington Post.