Testing the fairness of workfare By The Lawyer 5 March 2012 00:00 17 December 2015 13:35 Sign in or register to continue reading. It's FREE Sign in Email Password Keep me logged in Forgot your password? Not registered? It's FREE! Register now Register with The Lawyer Anonymous 5 March 2012 at 11:07 The Social Security Advisory Committee made a Key Recommendation: ” We recommend that mandatory work activity does not proceed.” “The Committe are concerned that placements should not be used by employers as a way to obtain free labour and especially if it were at the expense of a paid post. We feel that an employer could potentially work around the requirement of additionality by providing a rolling placement, whereby they take on a different individual every four weeks for a lengthy period of time, and in doing so be able to fill a post at no cost.” That’s what it’s all really about, a steady flow of free labour for big business. Reply Link Anonymous 5 March 2012 at 12:22 I am in my 50’s and find myself out of work dispite many job applications. I am now faced with what I feel is perscutuion through the work programme after being failed by the jobcentre. Training is welcomed but forced 30 hours a week doing things like stacking shelfs isn’t training and while business/shops and the like take ‘workfare’ people they will see no need to employ new staff. Doesn’t seem a sensible way of supporting people into work. I personally feel very degraded and insulted by the government and workfare providers who have the wrong attitude. Its not a case of working for your benefits that is the problem, the problem is knowing at the end of the placement there still isn’t a job. Reply Link Kay Fabe 5 March 2012 at 16:19 I’m hearing of people on Workfare being forced under threat of sanctions to endure NLP sessions, NeuroLinguistic Programming. How is this training? Answer is it isn’t, it’s complete and absolute nonsense. At best it’s brainwashing that doesn’t even work! This is an appalling misuse of the taxpayers money and should be stopped immediately. It serves to show one thing, if that’s the best the government can do then they shouldn’t ever have been the government! Reply Link TismeK 5 March 2012 at 17:58 Let’s accept the premise that the Workfare programme is legally mandated “training”. If that is the case then the onus should be on the employers to achieve certain criteria in order that the employees actually acquire the skills they need to find work once the work placement has been completed. The problem is, there are NO criteria. There is no effort being made to address the reasons – disability, learning difficulties, drug/alcohol abuse, poor education, poor social skills – these people are unemployed in the first place. In addition, those that HAVE skills are not being given transitional training to enable them to ‘switch’ careers in order to find employment. In addition, there is no training in the Workfare programme to enable people to transition from management level to manual labour or visa versa. In short, my biggest objection is that it neither covers the letter of the “law” nor the spirit. To the Government’s get out I say this: define “training”. Reply Link Steven 5 March 2012 at 22:22 I am no lawyer or leftie but it IS forced labour (ie slavery) if the work is not paid for at the National Minimum Wage or its equivalent. As such it is an unacceptable abuse of the unemployed by a vicious and uncaring government. The poster above who mentioned it as free labour has got it spot-on. Simply put, it is the Nasty Party’s way of getting around the NMW which they don’t agree with and no doubt getting a few backhanders from their big business mates for services rendered. Reply Link Jenny smith 10 March 2012 at 21:49 What about the sick and disabled who will be mandated.It is wrong Reply Link Zoltan 12 March 2012 at 00:29 Saying that workfare is part of a ‘normal civic obligation’ under ERHC Article 4 is nonsense. Rich folk that just live off the earnings of investments don’t have this ‘normal civic obligation’ to work for nothing for profit making corporations. Clearly the program is in breach of Article 4 because it discriminates against the unemployed. Does the queen have to stack shelves in some capitalist venture as part of her ‘normal civic obligations’?. How can working for nothing for a capitalist profit led company be part of anyone’s normal civic obligations?. All the spin and hype about this being an opportunity for people is just that spin the only opportunity here is for fat cat investors to exploit the poorest in society. If there’s work to be done in your business, which there obviously is then pay a living wage. Reply Link Anonymous 20 March 2012 at 23:41 I got caught up in some EU funding fiddle in Bournemouth. Ostensibly, I was on a ‘placement’ with a charity (Bournemouth Churches Housing Association), but they found me a ‘work experience’ placement of 30 hours a week (unpaid) with a private company (others went to Wilkinson and similar shops). The actual DWP contract holder was Bournemouth University – BCHA were just their sub contractors. There is a ‘like for like’ funding arrangement with the EU, if you are doing a placement with some ‘social benefit’, so the entire thing is a screwover of EU funds but no solicitor is remotely interested in the HR Act in Bournemouth (if you’re unemployed you must be sponging, workshy etc etc). Seems to me that those at the top are sponging and fiddling far far more than anyone at the bottom. Reply Link Anonymous 21 April 2012 at 18:35 The state may be required to provide training but if a genuinely conscientious person has no rights against a potentially exploitative employer that is training them – is that fair in a modern democracy? No right to leave as you cannot get any money? Good terms or bad, Ms Carse? And also why do job centre advisers (refer to Guardian articles on jobseekers refusing apparenltly voluntary work in recent months) have to mete out corrective punishments in the form of mandatory work activity? Does the Human Rights Act not specify that the courts are there to decide on work punishments and even then with the punished person’s agreement? Reply Link Peter Jones 15 May 2012 at 19:21 If a person on the Work Programme is told that a placement is mandatory, they have no choice. It is not their free will. They do it or else! Explain how this does not constitute forced labour. I bet Chris Grayling will try soon. Reply Link Sam Barnett-Cormack 13 June 2012 at 15:55 Given the new peer-reviewed Government-funded assessment of the impact of MWA, I’m not sure that a training argument, or an argument based on the jurisprudence requiring people to seek work for benefits, could stand up. The best evidence we have available is that the scheme does not improve employment outcomes. Thus it seems unlikely to meet either of those arguments, as it doesn’t facilitate a positive outcome for the claimant. The “normal civic duty” exception feels to me like it would be rather a stretch. The work done isn’t for civic benefit, so it is unclear how it could be a civic duty. Reply Link Anonymous 9 October 2012 at 01:32 The current system is fundamentally flawed for the following reasons. 1. When all of the “open vacancies” are filled with Forced Labour Workfare Bodies, then there are obviously no “Vacancies left for the “Experienced Workfare Graduates” 2.Subsequently the “Something for nothing society” is turned upon its head, as it is the Large Conglomerates who receive the “something for Nothing” ie: FREE LABOUR. Whilst attempting to refrain from getting too Political, it would seem that the alledged Abusers are now the Abused. ? Reply Link Anonymous 8 December 2012 at 12:58 What about Article 23.2? “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.” If someone is doing the same work in a company they should get the same pay as everyone doing the same work, especially if it’s a private company making profits for itself. Discriminating against the sick, disabled and impoverished is discrimination. It is forced free labour as these people are desperate and have no other choice. Many companies are calling it ‘work experience’ but many on workfare already have work experience and qualifications. Also ‘work experience’ is traditionally for under 18’s and just for 1 or 2 weeks during educational holiday time. I am appalled at this government, especially as David Cameron said in May 2010: “The test of a good society is how do you protect the poorest, the most vulnerable, the elderly, the frail. That’s important in good times, it’s even more important in difficult times. People need to know that if they have me as their Prime Minister and they have a Conservative government, it will be that sort of Prime Minister.” Forced free labour for self-profiting private companies is abuse and exploitation at best and is also bad for the current working economy. Why hire paid employes when you can get freebies? If it’s not illegal, it should be in a so-called ‘civilised’ society. Reply Link JC 17 November 2014 at 19:27 “Further, such a scheme could fall within the exception to the prohibition on Article 4 of the ECHR where a person is complying with their normal civic obligation.” To echo a previous comment, I have a question. How can such a scheme be deemed a “normal civic obligation” when the vast majority of the population never take part in it? Surely to be “normal” a scheme would require the everyday majority to be involved, have been involved and expect to be involved? Yet these schemes are ONLY undertaken by a minority in extraordinary circumstance. So the question surely has to be, how is “normal” defined in law? Reply Link Name Email Cancel reply Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.