Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘New Deal

Is Seetec the new A4e?

Seetec (South East Essex TEchnology Centre) is a relatively local “training” organisation that has become a significant workfare player in recent years. Their wikipedia page states their success of seeking 4,417 benefit sanctions to “Work Programme conscripts” in just a single week. They use the Provider Direct sanction hotline more than any other provider. Read the rest of this entry »

Cait Reilly and the History of UK Workfare.

 

Support this Campaign (see Box Bottom Right for link).

The Cait Reilly case has brought workfare (unpaid work for benefits)  to people’s attention.

Some seem to think this is a new policy.

Red Pepper reports,

Karina was mandated to work in Primark under New Labour’s Flexible New Deal. She had been sent to a private ‘welfare to work’ provider whose regime included putting claimants to work without pay in businesses, charity shops and public sector workplaces. Although regulations meant that she could only be obliged to work for up to 12 weeks without pay, she worked for 24 weeks, fearing she would have her benefits stopped if she did not agree. She had signed up to and paid for a college course that would help her find work but she had to give it up to do the placement: ‘They told me they would stop my JSA, so I stopped my English course.’

This sytem  began with the New Deal in 1998.

This is what the programme offered, (Wikipedia),

The NDYP begins with an initial consultation session, referred to as Gateway, that focuses on improving job search and interview skills. This training is provided by an external organisation such as a4e, CSV or YMCATraining. If the search for employment is still unsuccessful after the Gateway sessions, to continue to receive unemployment benefits, one of four options must be chosen:

• A subsidised job placement. The subsidy is £60 per week, and lasts 6 months; a £750 training allowance is also available to participants. Clients are paid a wage from the employer.

• Full-time education and training, for up to 12 months.

• Work in the voluntary sector, the client is paid JSA plus a £15 training allowance. This is called Community Task Force.

• Work with the Environmental Task Force.(DWP website; Peck, “Workfare” 304; Glyn 53)

Participation in one of the four options is mandatory to receive benefits, refusal to participate will lead to the benefit being stopped and will be referred to a Decision Maker who will decide whether a recipient should receive a sanction should they decide to reclaim.”

Gateway normally meant some CV writing (highly useful) job application and interview techniques (also useful).

It could also included less useful ‘courses’ including those based on the kind of self-help manuals that made Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus school of thought.

Despite appearing to offer a number of ‘options’ most people were put, without any choice, on the 3rd (I know nobody who did the first, which meant they got paid). Placements were rapidly extended beyond the ‘voluntary sector’ and the ‘Community Task Force’. They included working in local government, and private companies.

Why did people participate?

‘Work experience’ might be useful (for your CV for example). There was always the possibility of paid work. But more important perhaps was that getting an extra £15 and doing something was preferable to sitting in a room being hectored and told, 5 days a week, to do “job search”.

These Placements lasted from 13 weeks to 26 weeks.

I know personally cases of people of working in Ipswich warehouse-mega-stores shelving and carrying stuff around. One told me that his boss bought him a couple of drinks at Christmas – as well he might.

Charities and the ‘voluntary sector’ might seem a good idea. The Labour Government began farming out welfare services to them. The unemployed were used instead of paid employees – when they were not working alongside people sentenced to do Community Service.  Or, in Ipswich, working alongside prisoners on day release from Hollesley Bay.

Without the rights of salaried employees the unemployed were open to a wide range of abuses. Charites (often with highly paid executives) and the Third Sector are not always good employers.

I know of a number of significant cases where people felt ill-treated.

In nearly all cases when the Placement ended there was no job.

The attitude is thank you very much and now for the next placement-person.

The Flexible New Deal was introduced in October 2009.  James Purnell Work and Pensions Secretary was behind the change, though he had to resign that years when his expenses claims were found out.  

The Flexible New Deal reduced the time of Placements to 6 weeks. It got rid of the ‘sitting in front of a computer doing job search’ (though not the ‘courses’). It abolished the £15 bonus.

But the slide towards using the unemployed as free labour became more explicit.

They also used ‘volunteers’ from the Dole in place of genuine volunteers.

The Work Programme was introduced last summer. On this site Worky has explored its details.

Cait Reilly appears to have got into one of its programmes, a 2 week placement.

There is already the Mandatory Work Activity to punish people – which we have discussed here.

The plan now to make everyone who is unemployed for over 2 years participate in the Community Action Programme.

This is full-time unpaid workfare.

When it’s introduced it will be used to fill the gaps in public services – caused by the Liberal-Conservative Coalition cuts.

That is “picking up litter”  tidying up parks, and no doubt carrying all kinds of tasks not getting done because of government cuts.

It will be US style workfare.

There is conclusive evidence against workfare – here.

But, as reactions to Cait Reilly show, there are people in this country who simply want to order the out-of-work around, and make them sweat.

Something that Lord Freud, a former banker and wheeler-dealer, the man who advised the Labour Government on the Flexible New Deal and now, the Coalition on the Work Programme, has only ever done in a Sauna.

Rare Breeds: Sally Smith of YMCA Training

Before we end the year, lets recap on this year’s highlights of our favourite local christian poverty pimp YMCA Training.

I was browsing Google referrer search terms (i.e. what people search to find us) and noticed amongst the many, a lot of search terms relating to providers, the owners/founders and those who run them. This is obviously in addition to many more in regards to New Deal, Flexible New Deal and the upcoming Work Programme. This is far more than happened 6 months ago.  Read the rest of this entry »

UK Workfare and Training Wage Bill: Sub £2.50 wages!

This is just a post to keep the “Training Wage Bill” in active discussion. The Government has recently introduced a new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate for apprentices in their first year of apprenticeship (or under 19) so they are only entitled to £2.50 per hour.

What you may not know is the Government is planning a secretive piece of legislation, currently in the “Bill” stage (Training Wage Bill) which has been delayed until 2011.

This “Private Members” Bill is designed to create a new wage exempt from the National Minimum Wage.

I can only think it will mean a wage lower than the National Minimum Wage (otherwise it wouldn’t be required) and could perhaps even be lower than the £2.50 apprentice rate.

With no details being released about the Work Programme (which is expected to be a combination of Flexible New Deal and the scrapped Work for Your Benefit scheme) and an workfare scheme of some sort under way shortly… it is likely this Training Wage Bill is designed for the purpose of reducing wages further below NMW in particular to legalise workfare.  The official description (all that is dislcosed at the moment) is as follows:

A Bill to make provision that persons receiving a training wage are exempt from legislation relating to the minimum wage; and for connected purposes.

Training? Apprentices already have an National Minimum Wage rate. New Deal and Flexible New Deal etc. always were marketed at giving jobseekers new skills through an “employment course” scam (reduces claimant count).

Claim unlawful travel deductions back

Sister site Flexible New Deal Scandal (flexible-new-deal.co.uk) is seeking volunteers who have been on a New Deal course at Dencora House within the last year to help everyone claim their travel back. Last year we exposed that such travel deductions were unlawful and now we wish to take action.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Universal Jobmatch

February 4, 2010 at 11:34 am