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Osborne’s plans criminalise unemployed people

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Community Service punishments are less harsh than the forced work handed out to unemployed people

Campaigners have condemned George Osborne’s announcement that more unemployed people will be forced to work without a wage or face losing their only source of income as a further criminalisation of the unemployed.

The maximum community sentence that a judge can hand out is for 300 hours, but claimants on six-month workfare schemes are already being forced to work without pay for 780 hours. The four-week Mandatory Work Activity scheme is already the equivalent of a medium level community service order that a person might receive if they were found guilty of drink driving or assault.

When a similar scheme was introduced in the US, thousands of jobs in the Parks Department were lost in New York alone – to be replaced with forced unpaid workers. Similar case studies have emerged in the UK, where workfare placements are already taking place in hospitals, council offices, charities and businesses.

Campaigners accuse Osborne of rehashing existing schemes, which DWP research has repeatedly found to fail in helping people find work. The pilot of the scheme announced today was found to have no effect on helping people find employment. 71% of people sanctioned on the scheme reported going without food; half went into debt. The requirement for daily visits to the Job Centre for people leaving the Work Programme is already in place for many people – though Osborne’s announcement is rebranding the current ‘Hit Squad’ and ‘Mandatory Intervention Regime’ as ‘Help to Work’.

This latest workfare scheme may become unworkable as charities and voluntary organisations refuse to take part. Tens of large charities have already quit workfare schemes: Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. The government is currently appealing the Information Commissioner’s decision that it must reveal the names of the organisations involved. If it loses, charities involved in sanctioning unemployed people will face further public pressure to withdraw.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Joanna Long, member of Boycott Workfare said:

“Community workfare schemes literally treat the unemployed as criminals – with far harsher sentences than if they had committed a crime. Osborne’s announcement is a PR rehash of schemes that are already failing to help people find work on a massive scale. It’s bad news for people who will be forced to work at far below the minimum wage – and it’s terrible news for the people whose jobs they will be replacing. This is about cutting the safety net for unemployed people, and handing something for nothing to charities, companies and councils which should be paying wages and taxes.”

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Obi Wan Kenobi

The national minimum wage

Almost everyone who legally works in the UK must get a minimum level of pay. This is called the national minimum wage. You can be paid more than the national minimum wage but you must not be paid less.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/migrantworkers/nmw.htm

Helot

Boycott any charity which collaborates in this scheme to criminalise the unemployed.

For a start, I suggest only taking your old, discarded clothing to those Clothes for Cash shops which are springing up everywhere, and deny the complicit charities one of their main sources of funding.

Hit them in the pocket - it's the only language these fake do-gooders understand.

Mike

I will happily do work for the dole as i receive public money, not sure what you are complaining about

Osborne’s plans to criminalise unemployed people – and more on US workfareLove Your Money | Love Your Money

[...] The first part of this post is a crosspost From Boycott Workfare. Then there is added information on US workfare and testimonies from us at the end of the post: [...]

Helot

Mike: If you're happy to be exploited as cheap labour for far less than the (miserly) minimum wage, then that's your problem.

I suggest you visit your GP at the earliest opportunity and have these masochistic tendencies you are so obviously suffering from treated as a matter of urgency.

Bill

Who is responsible for these workers insurance, while taking part in workfare?
I suggest these workers create as much accidental damage as possible, things will soon change.
@ Mike; People have already paid for their unemployment benefit in NI payments while in work, so why should they have to 'work' for it? If there is a job to do, then give it a wage, albeit minimum, but give it a wage.

Steven

Indeed. If it looks like a punishment, squarks like a punishment, walks like a punishment there is a very high likelihood it IS a punishment.

You can always rely upon Britain's 'nasty party' to blame unemployment on the unemployed. When are these thick cunts going to realise that in well-over 90% of cases unemployment is caused by economic factors beyond the control of an individual unemployed person?

I find it utterly repellent that this unelected 'government' seeks to blame the unemployed in this way.

If a job is worth doing, it is worth being PAID for.

Being given what in effect amounts to a Community Service Order and thereby being compared with a criminal is a total outrage.

fabio

Having worked for over 25 years and paid an average of £1000 per month . To be given £75 a week minus the deductions incompetent MWA plans and general badly run privatised job center. where tory sponsors and mp's make money off the poor are appalling.
then to be told with IT and Management exams that i am told i have to work for a corrupt charity as a sales assistant. surely instead of giving these private companies up to £800 per placement this could be spent on retraining for jobs that are needed or growth areas. it seems to me that these greedy rich politicians and buddies are reaping free slave labor and the poverty cycle. to the own ends

Steve

My Work Programme ends in a couple of weeks. Am told that will either have to do Community Service of 30 hrs/wk or signing on EVERY day. I already have done voluntary work for over 2 years. How does slave labour benefit ME, when I already have work skills, already work voluntarily, get interviews, but no job? What else can I do? Commit suicide?

Michael Petek

I hope everyone has seen my tweet about this. I'm about to go onto Mandatory Work Activity. I intend to charge for the work under a contract of my own.

Every other workfarer should do so as well.

CELIA JANICE DIXON

hello am 56 female and have been sanctioned twice. while being sanctioned 43 a week put in a sally army charity shop. understandbly not with a willingheart. very concerned with safety issues. this annoyed the manager. had an arguement. left and am now sanctioned in total for 9 months

joanna

Celia tell the job centre that you are not a christian! They are not allowed to override anyones religious views! They cannot compel you to work at the salvation army as they are a religious organisation!!!

Jo

celia janice dixon

hello i was sanctioned for nine months. i was plonked into the salvation army shop in catford as i have written before. my concern was for my safety in this shop. I TOLD LEWISHAM SETEC ABOUT MY CONCERNS AND I RIGHTFULLY INFORMED THEM IF ANYTHING HAPPENED TO ME I WOULD SUE THEM. THEY DID SEND A SAFETY OFFICER AROUND. THE SILLY MANAGER OF CATFORD SALVATION ARMY SHOP DID NOT LIKE THIS AT ALL' I WAS TOLD TO LEAVE SHOP. I HAVE SENT THE HEAD OFFICE OF THE SALVATION ARMTY SHOP A LETTER,NO REPLY AT ALL. I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN AND AM A GRAPHIC DESIGNER. I GOT THREATENED TO GO TO THIS SHITTY SMELLY SHOP UNDER THREAT.