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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Universal Jobmatch: Do not sign!

Posted: November 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Info on schemes | Tags: | 5 Comments »

Do not sign Universal jobmatch

The following blog piece is adapted from the void blog.

Confusion reigns as usual at the DWP as the bodged roll out of Universal Jobmatch begins. It has never been more important to know, and enforce your rights. We suggest you visit consent.me.uk for detailed advice and to print useful documents to bring with you next time you go to the Jobcentre.

Note: The job centre staff union has also confirmed that Universal Jobmatch is not mandatory.

Further note: For the latest on your rights regarding Universal Jobmatch, see this page.

As recently revealed, it appears that some Jobcentres are attempting to mandate unemployed claimants to give up their data protection rights by stealth, via the new job-matching computer system. Once signed up to the new database, Jobcentre staff will be able to monitor all job seeking activity by spying on applications and covers letters. Claimants who refuse, or are unable send out huge amounts of spam applications to employers, may face benefits being stopped.

Of most concern is that anyone pretending to be an employer will now be able to use the new service to track down groups of claimants and compel them to come and be interviewed. Already the Jobcentre’s vacancy database is riddled with scams, sex work, or the kind of commission only sales jobs that are likely to end up featured on Rogue Traders. The potential for abuse of the new system is terrifying.

It is quite possibly unlawful for claimants to be forced to surrender their rights under the Data Protection Act by using benefit sanctions to blackmail people into signing up to the new scheme.
Despite what bullying Jobcentre bosses may claim, the latest information from the DWP confirms that the scheme is not yet mandatory.

Read more about your rights here and print the guidance in case it’s useful to show on your next appointment at the Jobcentre. At present DWP policy, according to the most recent documentation, is that claimants should not be mandated to sign up – so don’t! (But be careful out there, see below for the information on Jobseeker Directions.) A mass rejection of the scheme now will help put a spanner in the work programme and any future state snooping into how claimants look for work.

There are fears that the new system will be used to police claimants when Universal Credit is introduced next year. Under the new benefits regime, claimants will be expected to spend 35 hours looking for work each week. The DWP, or even Work Programme contractors like A4e, could use the new system to force claimants to spend hours clicking through the site or pointlessly applying for unsuitable vacancies just to meet this 35 hour a week condition. Part-time workers, sick or disabled claimants and single parents will face similar conditions.

It is possible that there may be some attempt to bully claimants to sign up via a Jobseekers Direction. This is a formal order which means a claimant can be forced to take any reasonable steps dictated by Jobcentre advisors to find work or face a benefit sanction. People should also be advised that Jobseekers Directions can now be given verbally. We suggest if you are unclear on anything your Jobcentre advisor says to you that you should ask them to clarify whether it is a direction, and take notes of what is said to you.

Should this happen then claimants could sign up but refuse to grant the DWP access to their online account. Claimants are also advised to set up anonymised email accounts with providers like yahoo and hotmail. Don’t tell them anything you don’t have to.

It can be difficult to challenge the Jobcentre with the ever present threat of being plunged into immediate poverty due to the sanctions regime.

Everyday more local groups are coming together to resist the demolition of welfare. There are many facebook pages and groups where folk in the same boat may know of a group near you. Please feel free to post any links in the comments to local groups established to support claimants, and we will forward them to johnnyvoid.wordpress.com where a list will soon be published.


5 Comments on “Universal Jobmatch: Do not sign!”

  1. 1 ECAP17 said at 12:02 am on November 21st, 2012:

    “DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) Personal Advisers will have access to activity records of Universal Jobmatch users if the user ticks the relevant box in their Universal Jobmatch account to give permission to view their account”.

    See 3: Data Protection and access to Universal Jobmatch
    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/125326/response/314085/attach/html/2/FoI%203133%2019.09.12.pdf.html

  2. 2 Geoff said at 9:50 pm on November 29th, 2012:

    There is a box which can leave unticked on reregistration, read the ALL boxes carefully, by leaving the correct box unticked it will stop DWP accessing your Application records.
    DWP will not to see your Job Searches Or Application without your permission. Other than that, time will tell if the Universal Job search engine will be useful tool for Job jobseekers.

    You can delete your profile at any point if you wish, by using the unique 12 digit given upon the first stage registration (two part registration), KEEP THIS NUMBER SAFE. For this reason.

  3. 3 david abrahams said at 1:48 pm on December 12th, 2012:

    hi it was to late for me. was forced to sign up for the new universal jobmatch. been out of work for one year after working at a company for 26 years and told i am one of the long term unemployed and have to do a months work for free or have my 70 pounds a week jso stopped
    its getting me down and you can never please them with your job searches think i will just sign off and beg on the street for now.

  4. 4 obat stroke said at 2:55 pm on February 14th, 2013:

    It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve learn this submit and if I could I desire to recommend you some attention-grabbing issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write subsequent articles relating to this article. I desire to learn more things approximately it!

  5. 5 sophie Lemesurier said at 10:50 am on September 9th, 2014:

    ask the adviser to show you where the legislation is for asking you to register on the universal jobmatch: it does not exist, indeed the text says the opposite: no adviser can make the claimant register, no can they ask you to give them access.


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