Viagra Buy In Uk Online Buy Online Celexa No Prescription Purchase Wellbutrin Xl Order Cialis Europe Buy Ventolin From Canada

Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder


8:59 am - November 8th 2010

by Don Paskini    


      Share on Tumblr

Some thoughts on the government’s new idea that people who are long term unemployed could be placed on four week mandatory placements of thirty hours per week doing jobs like cleaning litter and gardening:

1. It is a job killer.
There are lots of people who work as street cleaners, toilet cleaners, gardeners and other unglamorous and poorly paid jobs. If these policies go ahead, they will lose their jobs. No employer in their right mind would pay £6 or £7 per hour to employ street cleaners if they could get an unemployed person to do it for free.

In my local area, residents nominated one of the council’s street cleaners as employee of the year. He’s been working for more than thirty years, never taken a sick day and people always see him out and about working hard. But our council’s got to make £58 million in cuts over the next three years. So instead of getting paid £7.60 per hour for an honest day’s work, he’ll end up being made redundant – and presumably in due course get one of these “mandatory work placements” doing his old job but without pay.

2. These plans can punish or help – they can’t do both.
Government ministers on the telly today said that these plans were intended to help people get jobs, not to punish them. But they are likely to make it harder for people to get jobs, not easier.

If you are an employer, having to choose between hundreds of employees, and you see an applicant’s CV which states that he or she has completed a “mandatory work placement”, then you know the following things:

– They haven’t worked for a long time.
– They were workshy and so had to be forced to do menial jobs with the threat of losing their benefits.

Armed with this information, 99% of employers would throw their CVs in the bin and move on to the next one.

Now, you could have work placements which help people get the skills and experience to make it more likely that they can get a job. But, um, these already exist.

3. These placements don’t give people proper experience of work.
Imagine if you turned up for work, and your boss bullied you every day. Or sacked you for being one minute late. Or you thought that something that you were being asked to do was unsafe, or you felt ill. But you couldn’t do anything, because if you complained, or objected, then you could lose your job and have to live on nothing for three months. And even if you do a really good job, you don’t get paid.

As currently presented, these placements aren’t like giving people an experience of what work is like. They are like what work would be like in a world without any protections or rights for working people.

4. Or is it just a gimmick?
This government has already got form for putting forward “symbolic” policies, ones which don’t actually achieve much, but which attract lots of media attention and give the impression that they are doing something popular. Think of the constant announcements cracking down on the same few benefit fraudsters (none of whom ever seem to be affected by successive government crackdowns), or the cap on housing benefit, which is just 3% of their cuts to housing benefit.

It would cost billions of pounds to put everyone who is long term unemployed through a four week placement – money which we know that the DWP doesn’t have. So maybe the aim is to get a few pictures for the media of long term unemployed people looking like criminals on community service picking up litter – to send a message about the government’s approach and use nudge techniques to modify the behaviour of unemployed people or some such.

If this is just a stunt, then the good news is that it won’t do much harm – and it is telling that the government hasn’t even talked to any of the councils or charities which it says are going to create these placements. But nor will it do anything substantive to reduce unemployment. When the government publishes their plans, we’ll be able to see how much money they have allocated for it, and whether it is any more than a piece of spin.

* * * * *

If these mandatory placements are about playing politics, a “wedge issue” to get votes from people who don’t like scroungers and want to see them punished, then the victims will be low paid manual workers, who will lose their jobs, and people who are unemployed and want to work, who will live with the fear of being forced into placements which will make it even harder for them to work.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Don Paskini is deputy-editor of LC. He also blogs at donpaskini. He is on twitter as @donpaskini
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Economy ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Sorry to be so pedantic on a Monday morning but don’t you mean ‘founder’ rather than ‘flounder’?

I will volunteer ……when all your beloved immigrants are out on the street working first… instead of taking our welfare state away from us before our very eyes while the repressive BBC/Liberty/Guardian/Liberal Conspiracy thought police do all they can to silence me in my own country…..while PRETENDING to represent the peasantry of Britain.

3. Gaf the Horse

@2
Blimey mate, have you wandered onto the wrong forum by mistake?

Whilst this policy isn’t perfect, at least its a start.

All i’ve seen the Labour party do is allow huge amounts of immigration and then shovel benefits at the newly created underclass. They certainly haven’t suggested any solutions.

On the point 1. though, I tihnk you are quite wrong. Employement law actually makes it pretty hard (certainly expensive) to hire and fire people that quickly. I would expect what you might see though is that your streetsweeper example might get some unpaid understudies though….councils will probably try to make use of the unpaid labour, but I don’t it will really allow them major cost savings. Contracts, pensions and training (H+S and otherwise) are too big hurdles to overcome to replace permanent staff with the “volunteered”.

@3 – I think he’s looking for a Wetherspoons and his lost Millwall shirt…

@1 OED sez

flounder, v.

1. intr. In early use, to stumble. Subsequently, to struggle violently and clumsily; to plunge, roll and tumble about in or as in mire; also (with on, along, etc.), to move on with clumsy or rolling gait, to struggle along with difficulty. Of a horse: To rear, plunge; to ‘shy’ (at an object).

1592 W. WYRLEY Armorie 101 My foot did slide and..Flundring, almost flat on earth I go. a1625 FLETCHER Woman’s Prize II. iii, If she flownder with you, Clap spurs on. 1687 DRYDEN Hind & P. III. 301 He champs the bit..And starts a side, and flounders at the cross. 1735 SOMERVILLE Chase III. 135 Another in the treach’rous Bog Lies flound’ring. 1834 MEDWIN Angler in Wales I. 291 He lost his balance, and man and fish lay floundering together in the rapid. 1840 THACKERAY Paris Sk.-bk. (1872) 184 ‘You flounder in mud at every step.’ 1861 HUGHES Tom Brown at Oxf. ii. (1889) 17 The four-oar floundered on ahead.

I think it probably is a gimmicky attempt at wedge issues rather than something serious (for some reason, the gimmicks always involve charities, as if the most worthless ideas suddenly become good once there’s a charity around). But we won’t know for sure unless one of the usual suspects does his Admiral Ackbar routine.

Hi Don

I agree with most of the above- this kind of scheme will help nobody.

However I disagree with your implication that there is no work available. In my area, for example, there is a major shortage of gardeners and anyone willing to take up gardening and work at it can command at least £15 an hour.

Similarly, my elderly parents have their house cleaned by a group of Poles who fly workers in from Poland on low cost airlines and who have more work than they can handle.

The problem is that our benefits system provides no incentive for someone claiming benefits to do such work. Rather than play with schemes to prod people back into work (maybe they’ve just forgotten they liked it) the simple solution is to stop all unemployment and means tested benefits at a stroke, then see who starves.

I’d be willing to bet there won’t be many.

I really do wonder about you lefties at times.

For years now we’ve had various peeps (Green New Deal etc) screaming that we should have something like Roosevelt’s WPA. Get the unemployed moving on creating a 21 st century infrastructure, lag and insulate the houses, get this climate change stuff sorted out.

Now someone comes along and offers you a free 1.4 million people labour force with which you can achieve your wet dream fantasies: and you’re complaining?

pagar – please don’t point this kind of thing out, it’s just embarrassing

Of course it’s the same in my area.
No-one pays min wage for any service.

What Tim said, plus it’s not exactly a radical idea to make people do some work in the community to get their dole money anyway. Happens in other parts of Europe, some with socialist governments.

11. Luis Enrique

If we have loads of worthwhile (green) work for people to do, why don’t we pay them to do it?

If this was a state job creation program, where the long-term unemployed were required to take the job or lose some benefits, would you have a more favorable view of it Don?

I must have missed the bit where we lefties expected people being helped by a WPA for the 21st century to work for a third of minimum wage.

Yes Gaff….I am a real social democrat…but a NATIONAL one….which means that I will support pressure on real British people to work when the massive immigrant population stop reading the Koran and having babies while MY people are driven into slavery by global capitalist toe-rags like you. Got it?

Hm. The peasantry of England seem to prefer the dark ages. Did they ever leave them?

@ 12. But they’re not being asked to work for a third of minimum wage, are they?

As Chris Dillow keeps pointing out, if you work for money then you lose some/all of your benefits. There are hundreds of thousands who face over 70% marginal tax rates and between one and two million who face over 60%.

The important number is what is your change in disposable income, not your gross income, from going to work.

“For years now we’ve had various peeps (Green New Deal etc) screaming that we should have something like Roosevelt’s WPA. Get the unemployed moving on creating a 21 st century infrastructure, lag and insulate the houses, get this climate change stuff sorted out.

Now someone comes along and offers you a free 1.4 million people labour force with which you can achieve your wet dream fantasies: and you’re complaining?”

Do you really think that the government is proposing a Green New Deal style programme where unemployed workers build a 21st century infrastructure?

“If we have loads of worthwhile (green) work for people to do, why don’t we pay them to do it?

If this was a state job creation program, where the long-term unemployed were required to take the job or lose some benefits, would you have a more favorable view of it Don?”

Yes. It was called the Future Jobs Fund and it worked pretty well.

It was one of the first things that this government cut.

@15 – if you are trying to help the long-term unemployed, break the cycle etc., telling them that their benefit really that’s no different from them working the same amount in a real job at minimum wage is perverse. If you think the marginal rates are too high, that should be a case for allowing the people with low-paid jobs to keep more of their money.

I’m afraid that when it comes to human emotions involving self-worth people do tend to consider their gross income, the fools. We’re always impressed by bigger numbers. If you pay someone £180 a week and then take some back they will not feel exactly the same about work as someone who gets to keep all of the £65 they get for breaking rocks in the hot sun.

People seem to forget that job seeker’s allowance can already be stopped, for example if the claimant refuses to attend or fails to show up at job interviews or training courses.

This myth that dole money is handed out on a tray no-matter-what is one of the many created and perpetrated by the tabloid press.

“On the point 1. though, I tihnk you are quite wrong. Employement law actually makes it pretty hard (certainly expensive) to hire and fire people that quickly.”

Stage 1 – councils reduce the number of street cleaners by April 2011, as part of the massive cuts which they are all making. All done by the book.

Stage 2 – councils sign up after April 2011 as delivery partners on the mandatory work placements scheme and get unemployed people to clean the streets.

What’s difficult or illegal about that?

Yes Gaff….I am a real social democrat…but a NATIONAL one….

In other words, a National Socialist…

I agree Don.

Also, more broadly speaking, the amount claimants received on JSA went up under NL but unemployment went down.

Simply put, the way to get people into jobs is to create them, not to threaten destitution.

Jim Evans

‘I will support pressure on real British people to work when the massive immigrant population stop reading the Koran and having babies while MY people are driven into slavery by global capitalist toe-rags like you.’

Brilliant! Next time I write an article, please will you comment? You know you’ve made it as a blogger when you get your very own troll.

Everybody ignore jim evans, just let him quietly froth at the mouth.

24. Marcus Warner

I wrote something earlier that concurred with much of this (great minds and all that), but I will just leave a little part of it here.

The focus in this debate has to be about job creation (which means more work is available), making work pay and shifting benefits to working ones (universal free child care has to be the way forward). The Tories have yet to say how they get more jobs into the Valleys for instance, they are silent on the broken economic system that means you cannot have a family and work in Tesco’s full time without needing benefits to live and something as progressive as Universal Childcare is beyond them.

.

Tyler, nice to see an immigrant like you do irony.

Tim, generally speaking people on “the left” have been arguing that the state has a duty to do something to prevent long term unemployment, as leaving things up to the magic adam smith fairy dust hasn’t worked. This has usually translated into proposals like requiring people who have been claiming for a long while to do things like voluntary work, re-training, etc in exchange for a higher level of benefit to reflect that they are contributing something. Almost like the public sector becomes the employer of last resort so to speak.

These proposals are not about that – they are an unworkable attempt at punishing the poor designed to make IDS look like he has a large penis in the eyes of the tabloids.

There are several objections to this risable proposal;

1. They exclusively place people in unskilled manual work placements for a brief period of time. – It is unlikely that a month spent on one of these placements will improve the skills of anybody, or be anything approaching useful experience that will help somebody get a job. As has been said – it will probably harm people having something like this on a CV.

2. Manual outdoor work is not for everyone, and will probably harm the health of some people. Particualy those pushed onto JSA by the ESA tests and benefit reforms. At the very least these placements need to include the option of indoor work in offices.

3. The people this is designed to target will get around it anyway. The actual dole scroungers will find a way to game it – or at the very least intimidate the poor sods who have to manage the scheme and basically slack off. It will be the honest people who get bullied and penalised for it. No doubt by some bosses who take advantage of forced labour (always thought you were against that Tim)

4. Pedant point – there are already schemes aimed at insulating houses – although going at a slower pace than many would like. They are also jobs that can’t be done (at least properly) by unskilled people who’ve been out of work for ages – they involve playing around with electrics etc, and require a great deal of training. Not a 4 week work placement.

5. The placements are unpaid – this removes part of the reason such things work. People on long term benefits have generally become used to living on a low income. One of the ways you create the incentive to go back to work is to remind people of the benefits of working – which include the ability to buy things in shops. People on these placements will not end up appreciating this, and may even end up worse when you factor in transport costs, childcare arrangements etc.

6. It will create a stigma for actual voluntary work. Do you really think voluntary organisations want to waste their time managing people who don’t want to be there? or people currently volunteering will want to carry on doing so? What about the administrative cost (ever dealt with the DWP? they love administrative costs)?

In short this is yet another example of why tories know fuck all about poverty. They are still the party that cheered at the suggestion of kicking Michael Foot’s stick from under him.

@ 17 and 25

Bravo.

There’s nothing wrong with doing voluntary work. I didn’t get where I am today without it… Which isn’t very far to be honest but at least I do have a job. Well three actually, all very part-time but there it is.
I did find voluntary work which was relevant and offered some genuine work experience and training. On computers and things. Very useful.
However.

Meanwhile, the DSS thought it would be fun to turn up on my doorstep unannounced to check I was really living there and really unemployed and when I wasn’t indoors, to cancel my HB. As that was paid straight to the landlord (the council) I didn’t know about it for weeks until I got the arrears letter. Took me a day of sitting around in the DSS office to get it reinstated. For some reason they expected all HB claimants to be sitting at home all day every day, not out shopping, visiting friends/relatives, at the doctors, taking the child to nursery or at the library, at a job interview, or anything. And I should point out that at the time I was actually a parent of a nursery age child and as such didn’t have to be job-hunting at all. I just thought it would be useful to get some more skills and up-date the ones I already had in order to find work.

So, be warned, those potential voluntary work seekers that you’d have to make sure the powers that be won’t pull a fast one on you!

This is a PR gimmick to achieve several things:

1. To make the jobless an offer they’ll refuse, whereupon they’ll be branded as work-shy, etc. They will then be cast as the authors of their own plight – not the policies of the government or the flaws of the boom/bust capitalist system.

2. To give the impression that the problems of the economy can be traced to people “fiddling the system.” Benefit fraud is £1bn; tax evasion is £70bn a year. But you wouldn’t think it from all the noise about “scroungers.”

3. Laying down their alibi in advance – so they can blame the people they’re going to sack for being out of work because they’re lazy.

The Kafka-esque rigmarole is enough to put one’s head in a spin!

It is already happening. My girlfriend is at present working in a Charity shop and was placed there after being put on some kind of “Government training course”, and she is not the only unemployed person in this shop.
Previously she also worked a couple of years ago for nothing at Ethel Austins again while on another “Governmeny training course” and hoped she would actually get paid employment there untill she realised there where another 10 people in the same situation as herself.

i have been told i have to sweep a yard for 4 weeks, i am a apprentice served railway worker, what good is it going to do me? i have refused to do it , i am not lazy i have applied for many jobs of all types, best to use time looking for work surely, there will always be scroungers this goverment is god awful


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  2. Paul Crowley

    Let's hope that mandatory work plans are just a stunt: http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  3. David Cameron esq.

    Why our loony plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://t.co/iiZF6x0 Just another ultra right wing policy from Coalition

  4. Stefan

    RT @DavidCameronEsq: Why our loony plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://t.co/iiZF6x0 Just another ultra right win …

  5. Philip Peake

    RT @libcon: plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9 ? Exactly, bad idea but just headline chasing

  6. Nigel Shoosmith

    RT @libcon: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  7. Andrew Ducker

    Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/cKMIFU

  8. Slave Labour | Sim-O

    […] For more flaws in the plan see Liberal Conspiracy. […]

  9. Kevin Davidson

    RT @andrewducker: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/cKMIFU

  10. Nick H.

    RT @libcon: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  11. Carl Baker

    RT @libcon: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  12. Naadir Jeewa

    Reading: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder: Some thoughts on the government’s n… http://bit.ly/bno7xZ

  13. Wendy Maddox

    RT @libcon: Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://bit.ly/bUKNW9

  14. Simon Pearce

    Why Coalition plans to force people into unpaid work will flounder http://is.gd/gStCB

  15. The Nerd Rage Blog

    […] This isn’t even to mention the potential cost of the scheme. Vast organisation will be required, and what jobs will they do? Will the low-payed, manual workers be force out of work by people being forced to work on pain of benefit cuts? I’m tired and going to stop writing in a second, but Liberal Conspiricy had a good bit on the problems with the scheme here. […]

  16. benefits, tories, and complete nonsense. « The Nerd Rage Blog

    […] This isn’t even to mention the potential cost of the scheme. Vast organisation will be required, and what jobs will they do? Will the low-payed, manual workers be force out of work by people being forced to work on pain of benefit cuts? I’m tired and going to stop writing in a second, but Liberal Conspiricy had a good bit on the problems with the scheme here. […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.