Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘UNITE

Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions. Protests.

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Thursday: Outside Ipswich Jobcentre. 

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Interviewed on Radio Suffolk.

Benefit sanctions must be fought against

These sanctions are cruel and handed out for ridiculous reasons such as:

  • Arriving minutes late to a meeting
  • Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
  • Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.

This has to stop.

Unite demonstration outside the Department of Work and Pensions in London watch the video here  – See more at: http://stagingui.unite.awsripple.com/growing-our-union/communitymembership/day-of-action-against-sanctions/default.aspx#sthash.QsxxyCRf.dpufTake other action
  • Share your story – we are looking for people who have been sanctioned to tell their story.
  • We want to show the reality and impact on people’s lives – show your support – share on Twitter and Facebook #No2Sanctions
JOIN US – Thursday 30 March

See More Here.

Welfare WeeklyThousands to protest against ‘cruel and ineffective’ benefit sanctions regime

Campaigners will target more than 80 jobcentres across the UK, as part of a ‘national day of action’ to stop benefit sanctions.

Activists from Britain’s biggest trade union Unite will tomorrow (Thursday) be protesting outside the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in London, calling on the UK Government to stop it’s “cruel and ineffective” benefit sanctions regime.

Campaigners will target more than 80 jobcentres across the UK, as part of a ‘national day of action‘ to stop benefit sanctions.

Since May 2010, over 3 million people have been referred for a sanction 8 million times. Over 318,000 people have had their benefits cut or stopped completely in the last year alone, often for punitive and unfair reasons – such as being late for appointments with the jobcentre, or being too sick to ‘actively seek work’.

According to the food bank charity Trussell Trust, more than 500,000 three day emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis in the first half of 2016/17, including over 188,500 to children, with the most common reason for referral being problems and delays with benefit payments.


Written by Andrew Coates

March 30, 2017 at 11:28 am

Posted in Damian Green, DWP, Ipswich, Sanctions, Suffolk

Tagged with , ,

Against Benefit Sanctions: National Protests take off

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Ipswich Protest Outside JobCentre.

What struck protestors immediately is how many people talked to us about being sanctioned, having to survive on practically no money, and how impossible the appeal system is.

You don’t have to do any extensive research to find out about the hardship the system is causing – not only to claimants, but to their children, as one person told us in sad detail.

We need to get rid of the arbitrary power of the Work Coaches, and the whole sanctions regime.

Anti-cuts activists protesting outside the DWP offices on Chesterton Road, Cambridge. Cambridge News

Protestors gathered outside the Jobcentre in Williamson Square to oppose the cuts implemented by the Government.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Photo by James Maloney

Protestors gathered outside the Jobcentre in Williamson Square to oppose the benefits sanctions implemented by the Government (Liverpool Echo).

Sanction demonstrators in Wesley Square.



More (a lot more!)  on National Day of Action Against Sanctions Facebook.

Friday 20th  Peter Lazenby

TRADE unionists and activists targeted dozens of jobcentres yesterday in a national day of action to protest against appalling coalition benefits sanctions which have thrown 1.2 million people into destitution.

Demonstrators took to the streets across Britain to protest against a system which persecutes the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people — driving dozens to suicide.

The protests were organised by Unite Community, a section of the general union for people not in traditional workplaces, which said it was delighted with the response.

And the union was joined by supporters of other anti-sanctions campaigns, including the People’s Assembly.Unite Community national organiser Liane Groves said 78 actions took place across the country.

In Teesside in England campaigners staged a rolling programme of protests targeting jobcentres in Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Thornaby and Hartlepool.

Speaking in Middlesbrough, Tracy Harvey, Unite Community equality officer for Teesside, said: “Thousands of people are being sanctioned every month.

“Suicide rates are skyrocketing as people struggle with debts.”In Chesterfield 60 protesters staged a “die-in” at the town’s jobcentre.

A protest also took place on Merseyside, where trade unionists are campaigning for the ousting at the general election of West Wirral Tory MP and Employment Minister Esther McVey, who has been responsible for implementing benefit sanctions.

Wirral TUC secretary Alec McFadden said his branch “fully supports the day of action to stop benefit sanctions.

“We also redouble our efforts to sack Esther McVey.”Other centres targeted included Birmingham, Hartlepool, Leeds, Halifax, Merthyr, Kent, Cardiff, Manchester and Liverpool.

In London a series of events culminated in a two-hour demonstration at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at Caxton House.

Gill Thompson, sister of ex-soldier David Clapson who died starving and destitute in 2013 after being sanctioned for missing a meeting, handed in a 211,822-name petition at the DWP urging the Prime Minister to investigate benefit sanctions.

She said: “I want to know how ministers who state everything is done to support the vulnerable can justify their actions leaving people destitute, driving them to foodbanks, and leading to starvation and death. “Do we want to live in a society where the vulnerable are victimised? I certainly do not.”At many of the jobcentre protests victims of sanctions told of their experiences.

After yesterday’s London demonstration at the DWP, Liane Groves said: “We have been able to highlight the cruelty of sanctions and the effects they are having on the lives of ordinary people.

“One hundred thousand children are in families where their parents have been sanctioned and in the sixth-richest country in the world it is totally unacceptable that children are going hungry because their parents are unemployed.”

Morning Star.

Benefit Sanctions – More Lies. Campaigning Against Them.

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#Sanctions – #DWP Recruit over 1500 Decision Makers!

We’ve now suffered through the Lies from Esther McVey  Wednesday  04 February 2015 9:30 AM on “benefit sanctions policy” , with  her ‘assurances’ there are “categorically no targets set on how many claimants should be sanctioned”‘

Refuted yesterday offered more evidence that contradicts McVey with the DWP recruiting an extra 1600 Benefit Sanctions Decision Makers  since taking office!; They support these statistics with the comment “Whilst the DWP continually says it has noBenefit Sanctions Targets, despite irrefutable evidence, this view now seems even more implausible since today it published statistics that it show they nearly trebled the number of sanction decision makers?”


Lets not forget All these #Sanctions are made by unqualified people  there are no specific external qualifications required for the decision making role. All Decision Makers go through a training programme that supports the individual in their role. The Decision Maker consolidates this learning with mentor support” DWP February 3 2015.


SICK OF THIS SITUATION??? DEMAND #IDS ANSWERS FOR IT https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies

Unite, the union, is campaigning against sanctions.

People have expressed various opinions on the Unite campaign.

It would be useful if they gave them to the Union – Contact Us.

Deadly sanctions

Parliament debates benefits sanctions and their fatal effects

Hajera Blagg, Friday, February 6th, 2015

The coalition government’s benefits sanctions regime has ravaged the nation, punishing vulnerable people up and down the country for the simple “crime” of being the victims of a failing economy, an economy the government itself has created.

These sanctions – which see claimants lose their benefits entitlements for often absurd reasons, such as turning up one minute late to a jobcentre appointment or missing an appointment to attend the funeral of a family member – are not only deeply unfair, they can often be fatal.

Freedom of information requests have recently revealed that the Department of Work and Pensions is currentlyinvestigating welfare payment decisions of 60 claimants shortly after their deaths, which is the first time the DWP itself has recognised that benefits sanctions can kill.

Benefits sanctions cut the only remaining lifeline that many unemployed people have – forcing them into the hundreds of food banks that now serve a quarter of a million people in this country, up from only a few thousand people before 2010.

As Unite Community moved to kick off its campaign against benefits sanctions on Tuesday (February 3), a House of Commons debate the following day examined growing poverty in the UK.

Scenes from Kafka

During the debate, Labour MP Lisa Nandy of Wigan argued that the poverty blighting the nation since the coalition government came to power could be seen as a direct result of a failing benefits system.

Indeed, as Nandy pointed out, benefits sanctions were the primary reason that people reported having to turn to food banks for emergency food aid.
Nandy likened the benefits sanctions regime to scenes from a Kafka novel, where claimants are punished for non-existent crimes.

She told of a man who had been sanctioned after finding temporary work over Christmas. Even though he’d called in to tell the jobcentre the start and finish dates of this work, he was sanctioned because he didn’t attend the appointment to tell jobcentre staff information he’d already given them.
The day of his appointment, the jobcentre was closed. Afterwards, in the month of January, his sanctioned benefits came out to 1p for the entire month, and £26 for the following month.

“How is someone in this country is meant to live on a penny a month?” Nandy asked.

These sorts of stories are no anomaly, as story after story emerges in which claimants are sanctioned for essentially no reason at all.

The absurdity of some of these sanctions – from not looking for work on Christmas Day to not being able to afford to travel to an interview, to even having a heart attack – are meted out in a high-pressure environment in whichjobcentre staff are allegedly being given sanctions targets.

According to evidence submitted by the PCS union, jobcentre management has subjected staff to performance reviews if they fail to instigate or approve enough sanctions.

As a former jobcentre adviser noted in the Guardian earlier this week:

The pressure was incredible. Advisers were actively encouraged to impose sanctions (along the lines of “sanction of the month”) to contribute to the points system that ranks jobcentre offices. It was often for stupid reasons.”

“And it was happening all the time, she added. “A customer maybe would be a little bit late or would phone in and the message wasn’t passed on. It was very distressing to have customers literally without food, without heat, without resources and these are unwell [and] disabled customers.

Out of touch

As the House of Commons debate raged on, Nandy told dozens of stories in which sanctioned claimants were unfairly cut off from food, heating and all of life’s essentials.

Meanwhile, Tory MPs showed their true colours and just how out of touch they are with the realities of vulnerable people.

Addressing Nandy, who had just recounted how a learning disabled man who is unable to tell the time was sanctioned for being four minutes to a jobcentre appointment, Conservative MP Mark Spencer retorted:

“It is important that those who are seeking employment learn the discipline of timekeeping, which is an important part of securing and keeping a job.”
Noting that several Tory MPs had turned up a few minutes late to the debate but were still allowed to participate, Nandy denounced Spencer’s condescending remarks.

It got only worse – Spencer later made the claim, dismissing Nandy’s concern that nutritious food is often unaffordable, that “carrots and potatoes are actually the cheapest sources of food avoidable.”

But in Toryland, comments like these are the norm – recall life peer Baroness Anne Jenkins pronouncement that poor people go hungry because they “don’t know how to cook”. Or when then-education secretary Michael Gove claimed food bank users had only themselves to blame for “not being able to manage their finances.”

Sending a message

The farce that’s become this government’s benefits sanctions regime must be stopped, argues Unite.

In an effort to raise awareness, Unite Community’s campaign launched this week will culminate in a national day of action on March 19.

“We want to send a message to Esther McVey and Westminster that the government is failing to support vulnerable people in our society,” said head of Unite Community Liane Groves. “More needs to be done to support us all in time of need – not make personal situations worse.

“Thursday 19 March is a national day of action to highlight the ‘shocking’ impact of government benefit sanctions – we must join forces to stop this now before more people are forced into poverty,” she added.

To find out more about how you can participate in the campaign, including signing a petition, sharing your story, and attending a March 19 event near you, click here.

Written by Andrew Coates

February 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

UNITE Union Boycotts Workfare.

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Workfare’s ‘state sponsored slavery’ condemned as Unite announces boycott

28 June 2012

The country’s biggest union, Unite, has announced a total boycott of workfare, the government’s work experience programme for young people aged 16-24 years of age.

Unite is the first union to announce that it will boycott the programme.

Denouncing the scheme as ‘state-sponsored slavery’, the union says that it will mount vigorous opposition to any attempt to enforce workfare schemes on workplaces where Unite organises the workers. Under the scheme, unemployed young people will have their benefits stopped if they refuse a place.

Unite pointed to the evidence from the United States which shows that workfare does not fulfil its aims of reducing the number of benefit claimants overall and has ‘zero effect’ in helping people back into employment (see below). Further, the multiplicity of schemes on offer and the lack of a common approach across the UK’s four nations reveals a lack of coherence by government about what it is trying to achieve for young people.

The union is calling instead for British business to follow best practice to build skills for the nation, pointing to the apprentice schemes in the automotive sector which offer paid, high quality training for tomorrow’s workers.

Announcing the boycott at the union’s conference in Brighton today, Steve Turner, Unite’s executive director of policy said: “Workfare shows this government is among the cruellest this country has had the misery to endure.

“Leaving one million young people on the dole is cruel, pricing them out of education is cruel, denying them the chance to leave home and start their own lives is cruel.

“The scheme belongs back in the nineteenth century, along with Oliver Twist and the workhouse. It is nothing short of state sponsored slavery – and this union will not be complicit in it.

“It is high time we asked who does it actually benefit? Not the taxpayer, who is forced to pay the wages of privately-employed workers. Not the paid worker, whose job may be replaced by a benefit claimant forced to work for free. Not the benefit claimant, whose chances of getting paid work are not helped one iota.

“Workfare only benefits private companies, who get their payroll taken care of by the public purse, aided and abetted by a government incapable of growing our economy.”

A 1993 review carried out by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC) in the US concluded that there is “little evidence that unpaid work experience leads to consistent employment or earnings effects” and highlights that workfare is least effective in a weak labour market. More recently, the government’s own peer review study, published in June of this year, found that Mandatory Work Activity ‘had zero effect in helping people get a job’.


Written by Andrew Coates

June 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm