Alice Carse, barrister, Devereux Chambers

Testing the fairness of workfare

  • Print
  • Comments (13)

Readers' comments (13)

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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".

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What about the sick and disabled who will be mandated.It is wrong

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 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.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 per page | 20 per page

Have your say

Mandatory Required Fields

Mandatory

Comments that are in breach or potential breach of our terms and conditions in particular clause 8, may not be published or, if published, may subsequently be taken down. In addition we may remove any comment where a complaint is made in respect of it. These actions are at our sole discretion.

  • Print
  • Comments (13)