Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘TUC

Labour Needs Policies to Replace Universal Credit to Rebuild the Welfare State.

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Image result for mark Serwotka speech

“We need to see a Corbyn government commit to overturn decades of attacks on and ridicule of benefits claimants and return to the founding principles of a properly-resourced welfare state”  PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka.

A number of our commentators have been, rightly, dissatisfied with the lack of a strong Labour voice, above all, Labour Party Policy, on welfare issues.

These range from silence on the benefit freeze (which needs to be ended), to an alternative to the Universal Credit car-crash.

There remains talk about a pause to implementing Universal Credit (a 2017 petition – a bit late now).

The acting Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, Margaret Greenwood, seems to have said little since just before the long summer holidays, apart from continuing to criticise government policies (“Delays in payments of Universal Credit are sending victims back to abusive partners – Margaret Greenwood.” August the 1st).

Basic Income aside what are Labour policies, from funding to changing the whole miserable punitive structure of the benefit system?

What are Labour’s plans to fix Universal Credit?

No straightforward ideas seem available.

Although there is this:  John McDonnell attacks Tory disability cuts and vows to address suicides linked to welfare reforms.  Kitty S Jones

This suggested Contemporary Motion for the coming Labour Conference  (from the Clarion site) suggests some starting points:

SUPPORTING THOSE IN NEED: REBUILD THE WELFARE STATE

We note
• the 8 August ONS figures showing that improvement in life expectancy has virtually stopped.
• the 6 August Child Poverty Action Group report on how Universal Credit’s flaws are leading to low-income families arbitrarily losing as much as £258 a month!
• the July Resolution Foundation figures showing the poorest third’s incomes fell last year, even before inflation.

The situation is shameful. We must reverse the drive, accelerating since 2010, to make welfare less and less about supporting those in need and more and more stingy, punitive and coercive.

Neither Universal Credit nor the existing framework (JSA, ESA, etc) are good. We must redesign benefits in close consultation with recipients, workers and their organisations.

This must be part of a wider anti-poverty program, with a goal that by the end of our first term foodbanks disappear.

We commit to
1. Ending the benefit freeze; uprating with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.
2. Reversing all cuts/reductions; increasing benefits to afford a comfortable, not minimum, income.
3. Entitlement conditions that are straightforward, inclusive and available to all, including migrants (scrap ‘No recourse to public funds’).
4. Paying benefits for all children and dependents.
5. Abolishing all sanctions.
6. Scrapping Work Capability and similar assessments.
7. Relevant health issues being addressed using medical professionals with appropriate knowledge of individuals’ conditions and impairments.
8. Delivery by paid public servants via networks accessible to everyone, including provision of face-to-face support for all who need it. Reversing DWP cuts and privatisation.

Whether this gets onto the agenda or not there are people calling for some serious policies.

‘Labour must return to the founding principles of the welfare state’, says union boss

Welfare Weekly reports (12th of September),

Labour must commit to over-turning years of cuts to social security benefits and end the stigmatisation of benefit claimants seen under Tony Blair and the current Tory Government, PCS General Secretary Mark Serwotka said at a TUC Congress fringe meeting on Tuesday.

Mark told the meeting held in Manchester that the current benefits system in “broken” and “causing much difficulty for people claiming benefits”, whilst adding the Tory Government is seeking to cause divisions between “people in work, those who work in DWP and those in receipt of benefits”.

He added that a future Corbyn-led Labour Government must “return to the founding principles of the welfare state that it is for all people and provide dignity for all people at all stages of their lives”.

Mark also said the rollout of Universal Credit needs to he halted because the new system is in chaos and there aren’t enough DWP staff to deliver it.

“We need to stop a system that is causing so much difficulty for people claiming benefits,” he said. “The benefits system is broken, under-resourced, inadequate and understaffed.”

He added: “The starting point of the debate on welfare needs to be the founding principles of the welfare state that it is for all people and provide dignity for all people at all stages of their lives.

Mark continued: “We had a system that wasn’t perfect but gave people money when they needed it. Almost exclusively people claim benefits because of a crisis out of their control.£

Mark said that ‘New Labour’ took stigmatisation of welfare claimants to new levels and there was a lot of work to do to put that right. He said we need to see some radical welfare polices from a future Labour government that gives everyone a welfare system that we can all be proud of.

£34bn has been cut from the welfare budget since 2012, with a further £12bn of cuts planned before 2022.

“More money is needed as we have some of the lowest rates of benefits in Western Europe,” said Mark.

PCS DWP Group assistant secretary Steve Swainton said: “Universal Credit has been understaffed and underfunded at every stage. Our members are doing everything they can do to mitigate the worst of the system but we need a radical redesign.”

Colin Hampton, co-ordinator of the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers’ Centres (DUWC), told the meeting: “If we can spend money on bombing people we can spend money on putting people into work.

“The benefits issue is fundamental to the trade union movement. What happens to people on benefits affects what happens to people in the workplace and wider society.”

“We need to restore dignity and respect to people in and out of work”, he added.

The PCS site carries further details, including this:

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Written by Andrew Coates

September 12, 2018 at 10:46 am

Labour and Welfare: Plans to Make Iain Duncan Smith’s “not worth living”

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The Charter Labour Needs.

Ipswich Unemployed Action will be taking a keen interest in Labour’s policies on welfare.

As the Conference begins we hear this:

Newly appointed shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith says he plans to make welfare boss Iain Duncan Smith’s life “not worth living” as he harries him.

The Mirror reports.

Labour will challenge the Tories “at every turn” in a fresh assault over Bedroom Tax .

And new shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith threatens he will make welfare boss Iain Duncan Smith’s life “not worth living”.

He said: “I will harry him at every turn so he won’t know which way he’s facing. We shall keep campaigning, and we will keep pressing for changes.”

We remain open-minded about Owen Smith.

He has made less encouraging statements such as this:

Owen Smith, Shadow Welfare Secretary, has called for a debate within the Labour party over benefits cap.

The Government is planning to reduce the benefits back from £26,000 to £23,000 – a plan that Labour oppose. In an interview on Newsnight, Smith said that Labour’s current policy is to oppose the cuts to the individual benefits cap.

But he noted that Labour need to review their position “right across the whole debate”.

He went on to say that the party is “”in favour of an overall reduction in the amount of money we spend on benefits in this country and in favour of limits on what individual families can draw down”. However he said that there needs to be a review of the party’s position to the cap in general.

Labour List.

There is also this report (BBC September the 15th),

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to oppose the benefits cap have been undermined by members of his own shadow cabinet, as he prepares to face David Cameron in prime minister’s questions for the first time.

Speaking to the Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton on Tuesday, Corbyn said the benefits cap introduced by the coalition created “social cleansing” and that the party would oppose it all together.

But speaking hours later on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, the shadow work and pensions secretary, Owen Smith, said the party was only opposing government plans to reduce the cap.

The shadow equalities minister, Kate Green, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, said the Labour party’s present policy position was to support the principle of the benefit cap and that there was some evidence it had helped people into work.

She argued that policy was created collectively by the party, implying that Corbyn could not change Labour’s position unilaterally.

In the last parliament, the coalition introduced a cap of £26,000 on the amount of state benefits a family can receive. The Conservative government has pledged to cut the cap to £23,000 in London and £20,000 outside London.

Speaking to the TUC conference in his first major speech as leader of the opposition, Corbyn said: “As I’m concerned the amendments we’re putting forward are to remove the whole idea of the benefit cap altogether. We’ll bring down the welfare bill in Britain by controlling rents and boosting wages, not by impoverishing families and the most vulnerable people.”

He added: “We oppose the benefit cap. We oppose social cleansing.”

What we are interested in is this:

The Welfare Charter.

We should have…

1. A political commitment to full employment achieved with decent jobs
People are entitled to decent, stable and secure jobs that provide regular, guaranteed hours that allows them to also meet any caring responsibilities; not zero hours contracts in precarious jobs.

2. A wage you can live on for all and a social security system that works to end poverty
We need a National Living Wage that people can live on, not just survive on, that applies to all.

3. No work conscription – keep volunteering voluntary
Forcing people to work for free on pain of losing benefits is simply providing free labour to organisations that should be paying workers proper wages.

4. Representation for unemployed workers
Everyone should have access to an advocate to help them navigate the social security system and appeal adverse decisions.

5. Appoint an Ombudsman for claimants
A Claimants Ombudsman should be appointed to arbitrate on unresolved complaints, to ensure claimants are treated with respect and dignity.

6. Equality in the labour market and workplace; equality in access to benefits.
We need a labour market where structural inequalities are overturned and a benefit system that is accessible to people.

7. An end to the sanctions regime and current Work Capability Assessment – full maintenance for the unemployed and underemployed.
We need a non-means tested, non-discriminatory benefit payable to all, with housing costs met. This must be allied with the wide provision of low cost housing.

8. State provision of high quality information, advice and guidance on employment, training and careers
There must be a supportive and independent careers and job-broking service, not linked to conditionality or benefits, offering face to face advice.

Download here: 710X_WelfareCharter_A5_3

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 27, 2015 at 10:57 am

TUC Welfare Conference: Action on Sanctions and Workfare!

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Photo: 

TUC: Welfare Conference, called by the TUC Consultative Committee for Unemployed Workers’ Centres.

Up to a hundred activists came to the Welfare Conference, held on Friday in Congress House. As the introductory speakers made plain the Liberal-Conservative Coalition, assisted by large sections of the media, have launched a frontal assault ion the basic principles of an equitable benefit system.  Instead of helping people in need they have attacked the most vulnerable.

Eleanor Firman (Disabled People Against Cuts, DPAC and UNITE) illustrated what this has meant on the ground. As a result of cuts in housing benefit and the bedroom tax their group in Waltham Forest had had to defend those facing eviction.

She talked of how the Work Capability Assessment targeted disabled people. Those not meeting the government’s criteria – enforced through a flawed system run by private companies (ATOS and now Maximus), could expect to be treated with “harshness”, to the point of being left destitute. This was only one example of how welfare ‘reform’ was making people’s lives a misery. The answer was to challenge the DWP with the help of bodies like UNITE Community and, where they still exist, Law Centres.

Workshops covering benefit sanctions, the basis of the benefit system, unpaid work, and equality were held.

In the one I attended, on Sanctions, participants concentrated less on particular stories of injustice than on the nature of the arbitrary regime. We tried to bring together a rejection of all sanctions with proposals for realsocial security for all.  Disabled needed to be assessed not by private companies and computerised questionnaires, a source of many sanctions, but by clinical criteria, – the work of GPs. The power of ‘work coaches’ to decide to withdraw benefits – whether they should eat or have a home – should be removed.

There were fruitful discussions throughout the day. Groups talked through proposals for a universal minimum income, others investigated the socialisation of basic needs, “universal goods in kind’, proposed by the Greek party, Syriza. A group of us looked into the use of Blogging, Twitter and other social media to spread an alternative message to the media hate campaigns.

Others planned activities on Monday the 2nd of March Day of Action against Maximus and the 19th of March Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions. Further protests against benefit sanctions are planned to coincide with May Day.

Stop Sanctions: A Priority.

In the afternoon Richard Exell, the TUC’s senior Policy Officer on these issues, spoke. He cast aside his prepared notes. Instead he talked of how public opinion had been swayed behind the Coalition’s polices. Cautious about demanding an end to all sanctions Richard observed, however, that the way they had left hundreds of thousands destitute may help to alter popular attitudes. The children of claimants, through no ‘fault’ of their own, were left hungry and dependent on food banks and charity. Now they will affect those in low-paid work who received benefits. There was a need to develop alternatives to this and to Universal Credit.

Paula from DPAC stated that the introduction of the new system, with its new complicated ‘claimants’ commitment’ spelled ‘Armageddon’ for those reliant on benefits.

A set of principles and demands – drawing on the Centres’ Charter for the Unemployed is being drawn up. It will include demands for a decent level of benefits, an end to sanctions, and opposition to all forms of workfare – to make volunteering really ‘voluntary’ – a higher minimum wage, rent controls, and decent jobs for all.

These will be put into a coherent form at a further meeting on the 25th of March. The finished programme will be designed to take into union bodies and wider afield.

People are urged to support Boycott Workfare.

In a speech that touched on the way activists can change government and party (Labour) policy Lynne Groves drew on the way the Bedroom Tax had been challenged, and cuts in social services opposed. Activists and the wider public were urged to get involved in UNITE Community Branches, open to all.

At the end of the meeting Kevin Flynn noted the seriousness and richness of the debates that had taken placed. Amongst other points he welcomed the “historic formation of the National Union of Bloggers”.

The breadth and depth of the experiences of those attending this meeting – about a hundred strong – were striking. The words ‘the labour movement’ really came to life. There was strong participation of the disabled, young people, women, and black people. Those attending came from a wide variety of work backgrounds: from heavy industry, clerical and service work, to the voluntary sector. Delegates attended from all over the country, from Newcastle, Liverpool to the West Country and even South London.

It was, as always, a real pleasure to hear Northern accents. The discussions were more than good natured and creative. Everybody had something to contribute. It was, in short, bloody great!

TUC Demo: People’s Assembly Against Workfare.

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The TUC is holding a march on Saturday.

Supporters of Ipswich Unemployed Action, and DPAC, will be on coaches from our county, to back the demonstration.

Many of us will be there be as part of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Suffolk People’s Assembly.

National TUC Demonstration | 18 October 2014

 

Assemble: 11 am, Victoria Embankment, London
March to Hyde Park

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity will be mobilising in support of this mass demonstration called by the TUC. This will be the third demonstration this summer, following our No More Austerity demo on 21 June, which saw 50,000 people take to the streets, and the co-ordinated strike action on July 10, with over 1 million public sector workers on strike (watch the footage from Trafalgar Square here).

Some key reasons for getting involved:

  • Poverty Pay – 1 in 5 people in Britain now earn less than the living wage, and for the first time ever we have more people in work below the poverty line than the number of people unemployed!
  • The Cost of Living Crisis – We are told that we have recovered from the cost of living crisis, but ordinary people are still £40 a week worse off on average than they were 5 years ago. Furthermore, if bankers hadn’t crashed the economy and wages growth had stayed on track, workers would have £100 a week more in their pay packets!
  • Rising Inequality – In 1998, Chief Executives received 45 times the average pay. Now they receive 185 times the average pay. Put in other terms, they make more in a day and a half than what most people earn in 12 months!

There has been controversy over the TUC’s stand on workfare.

This is the People’s Assembly policy (which I moved) on Workfare, passed at the PA National meeting on March the 15th 2014.

  • Conference notes the continuing use of compulsory unpaid work (“Workfare”) and the plans to extend them by use of Community Work Placements from April 2014.Conference believes that Workfare:-
  • Does not address the underlying causes of unemployment.
  • It does not reduce unemployment.
  • It enables employers to take advantage of unpaid labour while cutting pay and employment opportunities for others.
  • Penalises and stigmatises unemployed people and Should not exist. A
  • ll workers be paid the going rate and on the same terms and conditions as other workers.

Conference resolves that: All public bodies, contractors to public bodies, voluntary organisations and charities, as well as all private employers should refuse to accept Workfare placements arranged by Jobcentre Plus or the Work Programme providers.

  • All supporters of the People’s Assembly should take steps to establish whether or not Workfare placements are being used by organisations they are involved in and take steps to end such placements.
  • There should be an independent investigation into the Welfare-to-Work industry.Benefit claimants should receive a decent level of benefits, proper training and the best opportunities, without compulsion, to look for paid employment.
  • The People’s Assembly should campaign against Workfare.”

Passed unanimously.

TUC Condemns Workfare.

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This Motion was passed at the TUC Conference this week.

The welfare state
Motions 37, 38 and 39
Congress is proud of the role trade unions played in founding the welfare state as a social insurance from each according to their means, to each according to their needs.
Congress notes, with concern, the clear rise in levels of deprivation since May 2010.

New inequalities having a deleterious impact upon the lives of vulnerable people are increasingly obvious to all those working in the public and voluntary sectors.

Services are becoming ever more fragmented, leading to wide variations in access across geographical areas of the UK.

Vulnerable groups are experiencing increased poverty and lack of support as a direct result of government policy specifically designed to promote this same fragmentation of services to susceptible groups including children, the elderly and the disabled.
Congress further notes several aspects of government policy that will lead to additional destruction of the security of vulnerable groups.
Proposed moves such as the regionalisation of pay will lead to further attacks on the support for those groups in society that have the fewest defences of their own.
Congress notes that around £30bn of welfare cuts have been announced by the government.
Congress condemns the campaign of vilification by this government and right-wing tabloids to denigrate the welfare state and to demonise those without work or unable to work, and young people, migrants and
the disabled.

Congress is appalled that disability hate crime has soared to record levels.
On behalf of these groups Congress calls for:

  • a reiteration of the principle of fair and equal pay and the maintenance of equity in pay for all workers in the public sector, wherever they work
  • a re-instatement of the services and resource snecessary to support vulnerable groups
  • a determined and robust opposition to the threats being posed to those in society who have the fewest defences.

Congress re-iterates its commitment to the pursuance of equalities in society.
Congress further notes that millions of people are barely surviving on poverty-level benefits or need tax credits to subsidise low wages.

Congress believes we have a responsibility to support Unemployed Workers Centres which provide assistance for job searching and benefit advice.

Congress condemns ‘workfare’ policies that compel the unemployed to work for their benefits and calls on the government to make work experience schemes optional and paid.

Written by Andrew Coates

September 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

Trades Councils Call to Boycott Workfare.

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   Trades Union Councils* Annual Conference 2012 – Resolutions.

This was passed.

  A CALL TO BOYCOTT WORKFARE SCHEMES – carried unanimously with amendment

This Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils notes:

        1.      That under the new ‘Single Work Programme’, benefits claimants will be placed on 
                compulsory workfare placements. Something similar is already in place under
                Flexible New Deal.
        2.      Under these reforms, ‘volunteering’ will lose its voluntary aspect and become 
                compulsion, watched over by charities. Voluntary groups will be expected to
                monitor the attendance of people on these work programmes, report on their
                behaviour, and provide other information to the DWP that can result in severe
                penalties for recipients.
        3.      Compulsory work placements are being offered to the voluntary, public and
                private sectors. If the voluntary sector refuses to participate, this would make the
                programme much less viable.
        4.      The reform is being rolled out at a time when education and training schemes,
                housing benefit and other public services are being cut. Unpaid work inevitably
                replaces paid jobs and pushes wages down.
        5.      There have been 679,820 ‘New Deal Sanctions’ since the year 2000 creating great 
                hardship for the poorest of those amongst us. Under workfare, this hardship will
                only be exacerbated.

The Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils believes:

        1.      That everyone is entitled to decent work, training and income. Benefits are a right,
                not a privilege and need to be protected.
        2.      That we need to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable in society to protect
                benefits as part of defending society against a wider attack on the welfare state as
                a whole.
        3.      That many claimants wish to contribute to their communities and learn new skills
                through freely choosing to do voluntary work. Compulsory placements cause
                resentment, are against the ideal of volunteering and take advantage of the most
                vulnerable.

The Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils resolves:

        1.      To support the call for a boycott of workfare placements
        2.      To boycott all forms of unpaid work (replacing paid work p ositions) such as internships
        3.      To publicise the campaign, as well as the details of different claimants’ support 
                groups, amongst charity and union networks and amongst members of the Trade
                Union Council movement.

       GREATER LONDON

Amendment
Delete final paragraph and replace with:

“1.    Support the occupation of companies carrying out workfare schemes.
 2.   Leading and supporting a boycott at local level of workfare placements and naming and
      shaming all companies currently involved in this exploitation.
 3.   Support the boycotting of all forms of compulsory unpaid work, including internships.
 4.   Fully support and publicise this campaign and support claimant support groups and the
      “Unite the union community branch programme”

 

* Trades Councils are the lay local wing of the Trades Union Congress. They are made up of affiliated unions on a town, city and county basis. Ipswich Trades Council supports this motion, which updates one we drafted a few years ago on Flexible New Deal and the threat of workfare.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 3, 2012 at 9:46 am

Say No to Workfare: a TUC Charter on Work Experience (with comments at the end)

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Say no to workfare: a TUC Charter on work experience.

This Charter explains why unions are opposed to workfare and looks at what makes the difference between good and bad work experience programmes for unemployed people.

It has been written for everyone campaigning for jobs and fair treatment for unemployed people.

Workfare Unions believe that workfare is a failed policy.

 It exploits the people who take part by paying them much less than the minimum wage.

It is unfair to other workers because it threatens their jobs and pay rates.

It is unfair to other businesses if their competitors are being subsidised by the government in this way. And it does not work – unemployed people working full-time on a workfare scheme do not have time to get training to look for a real job.

The Government’s own research (link to research) has revealed that workfare in other countries made unemployed people less likely to get off the dole and was particularly ineffective when unemployment was high. 

Workfare  is often presented as ‘the answer’ to long-term unemployment, but the government research found that people with extra barriers to work (who are most likely to become long-term unemployed) are the least likely to get proper jobs through workfare.

All workers are threatened by workfare but the poorest and weakest are threatened most because it is at the bottom end of the labour market that workers in real jobs are most likely to find themselves in competition with those on workfare, as the Nobel Prize winning economist Robert Solow has pointed out.

What’s wrong with the government’s employment policies?

Too many employment programmes assume that unemployed people are either a problem to be solved or are guilty of causing their own unemployment. These programmes presume that unemployed people have a ‘motivation problem’ and that the answer is make unemployment even more unattractive than it already is – the same attitude that inspired the workhouse.

In fact, unemployed workers have worse health than other people, are less happy, more depressed, more stressed and more likely to commit suicide. People who are unemployed are poorer, more likely to be the victims of crime, more likely to have family problems and their children are less likely to do well at school. Most unemployed people are already strongly motivated to get jobs.

Unemployed people need jobs but there are more than five unemployed people chasing every job vacancy.

Unemployed people did not cause the recession and the rise in unemployment that followed; they aren’t responsible for the policy of austerity that is prolonging mass unemployment. They aren’t criminals, they are the victims in this story.

 Bad work experience policies

Many government programmes for unemployed people and some other benefit claimants involve ‘work experience’ – which may not be substituting for the work of other workers but still has all the other characteristics of a job.

Unions are especially concerned about abuse of work experience where unemployed people are required to do a few days’ work for no pay, with no training and no expectation of an interview, let alone a job offer. When this happens, we strongly suspect that unemployed people are just being used to provide unpaid labour and it is very unlikely that it does anything to help them get real jobs.

 We are also particularly opposed to work experience that is imposed as a ‘penalty’ for becoming long-term unemployed. There is no evidence that it helps long-term unemployed people to get jobs; employers are not impressed by experience of this sort of scheme on an applicant’s CV.

 Earlier this year campaigns by unions and unemployed people and concerns raised by employers forced the government to concede that participation in the ‘Work Experience’ programme (which accounts for half the places in the Youth Contract) should be entirely voluntary.

There is now some early evidence that this programme improve the employment opportunities of some jobless young people, but significant concerns remain about the misuse of the programme by some employers and it is still too early to tell how useful the programme will be in the longer-term.

 But work experience is not always a bad idea for unemployed people who are finding it hard to get a job. Since 1989, a scheme known as Work Trials has been available for people who have difficulties getting jobs (such as lone parents, long-term unemployed and disabled people).

Work Trials are voluntary, there is no penalty for deciding not to take up the job and they must be in a real vacancy with the expectation that the participant will get the job if everything works out. The idea is that the participants test whether a particular job is suitable for them and have an opportunity to overcome any misconceptions or concerns that the employer may have.

One of the key characteristics of Work Trials is that they are voluntary and there is good evidence that Work Trials have made a difference to employment opportunities for people who would otherwise find it difficult to get jobs and that people who had taken part thought their Work Trial had given them an advantage in getting a job.

 The TUC believes that voluntary participation in employment programmes should be the norm.

Voluntary participation means that participants are likely to be motivated to get the most out of a scheme. Even more important, voluntary participation is the best quality control possible – low quality schemes will struggle to recruit participants, but experience suggests that once a programme has a record of getting people into jobs there is no shortage of people keen to take part.

Unions can help promote improved standards by negotiating for enhancements to work experience in unionised workplaces.

At the Royal Mail, for instance, the CWU have negotiated a Royal Mail Work Experience Programme that builds on the original government initiative that offers: 80 places on a scheme that lasts 4 weeks, with each participant working 25 – 30 hours a week. (NOTE by Ipswich Unemployed Action  – critics allege that this will be unpaid by the Royal Mail)   Read the rest of this entry »