Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/14072

Posted on 1 March 2012 at 13:31 GMT

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against Workfare in Stratford's Westfield shopping centre in London 25 February 2012, photo Senan

Youth Fight for Jobs protest against Workfare in Stratford's Westfield shopping centre in London 25 February 2012, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Compulsion in 'work experience' scheme dropped

Now ditch the rest of workfare!

Iain Dalton

After a summit of panicked business leaders worried about becoming the next focus for protest over their participation in government backed slave-labour workfare schemes, the government has announced it has dropped threats to stop benefits if people pull out part way through their 'work experience'.

This is another nail in the coffin of workfare, but unfortunately 'work experience' is only one scheme amongst a number. The threat of sanctions has yet to be removed in other workfare schemes.

Just hours following this retreat by the government, Boots announced its withdrawal from another component of the government's schemes, the compulsory 'work programme'.

This shows the very real fear now held by these multimillion pound companies that they will become the next target of protest against slave labour. Pressure is now mounting on the government to drop 'workfare' altogether.

The past few weeks have seen a number of companies pull out of or suspend/review their involvement with these schemes as the protests organised by Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) and others have panicked them. During the last week HMV and Burger King have announced they are dropping out.

Protesting against slave labour schemes outside Tesco in Leytonstone, London, Feb 2012, photo Suzanne Beishon

Protesting against slave labour schemes outside Tesco in Leytonstone, London, Feb 2012, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

However, despite the government now making concessions to make these schemes more palatable, they still involve unpaid 'slave labour' and continue to threaten the terms and conditions of existing staff.

The Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) own document on the Work Programme had a paragraph mysteriously removed which stressed that work placements should be mandatory to avoid National Minimum Wage obligations.

Also the Guardian featured quotes from the DWP's social security advisory committee in an article on 24th February.

These stated that "Many retail jobs required staff to work for 16 hours each week, with overtime payable for any hours worked beyond that.

"Work experience allowed for 25 hours work activity so overtime to permanent staff was being reduced or removed" and that "There was also evidence to suggest that work experience placements were being taken on to cover Christmas vacancies".

In YFJ we support the call of retail workers' union Usdaw for the removal of any compulsion from the schemes and for participants to be given the same terms, pay and conditions of existing staff.

We would add that there should be guaranteed jobs at the end and that those on the placements should be able to join a trade union.

As well as work within the trade union movement we need to continue an active campaign of supporting protests outside stores, aiming to build a mass campaign to end workfare and fight for decent, well-paid, permanent jobs for all.

Lack of jobs

The main argument that the government has attempted to marshal in its defence is that this is the only way young people can gain experience of working to make themselves employable.

But this belies the real issue of why young people can't find work. The reality is that, with only around half a million vacancies and over two and a half million unemployed, capitalism simply isn't creating enough jobs for people.

Whilst the government has been claiming a 50% success rate for the scheme, in reality this is the number of people who are not claiming Job Seekers Allowance by the end of 13 weeks, which could be for a multitude of reasons including going into education or even dropping out entirely.

Looking at figures presented by companies they are far below the government's 50% claim; Tesco gave jobs to 300 out of 1,400 participants (21%), Holland and Barrett to 50 out of 250 participants (20%), and Greggs to 14 out of 40 participants (35%).

Rather than creating jobs, the government is effectively subsidising these companies, both by giving them some free workers for four or eight weeks at a time, and by subsidising the training of their workforce.

Real job creation

Instead of further bailouts for the 1%, the Socialist Party and Youth Fight for Jobs argue for a programme of job creation. Why not tackle both the huge housing shortages and soaring rents by implementing a crash council house building programme? Why not cancel the exorbitant Private Finance Initiative contracts and use the resulting money to hire and train up more doctors and nurses to stop the closures of A&E wards? Why not collect the 120 billion in unpaid taxes by the super rich and use the money to reinstate the Education Maintenance Allowance and scrap university tuition fees?

But Grayling, IDS, Clegg and the other defenders of these schemes put the interests of the banks, big business and the profits of the ruling class before the needs of the 99%.

Instead of their failed system we need one where the key resources are publicly owned and production is planned democratically in order to meet the needs of the majority, not the greed of a tiny minority. Instead of crumbling capitalism, we need socialism.


Say no to slave labour - YFJ organising for Workfare Day of Action

Paul Callanan, national organiser of Youth fight for Jobs said:

"Youth Fight for Jobs welcomes the removal of the threat of sanctions to those involved in the government's work experience programme.

"This shows how workfare protests, such as those organised by Youth Fight for Jobs, combined with the strength of public outrage, have forced the government into retreat on 'workfare' slave labour.

"However, we point out that the scheme still involves the unemployed being used as a pool of free labour.

"This represents a massive subsidy to the profits of big business at the expense of the unemployed. Now it's time for the government to drop the scheme altogether and instead invest money in the creation of decent, socially useful jobs for the 2.5 million currently out of work".

Youth Fight for Jobs is keeping up the pressure by building for a day of action on workfare to take place on Saturday 3rd March.

Paul Callanan is available for interview. Call 020 8558 7947 or 077 1335 5616

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Workfare protests:

triangleWorkfare

triangleWorkfare protests

triangleYouth Fight for Jobs says escalate protests for the scrapping of 'workfare' and the creation of decent jobs!

triangleMcWorkfare - "Let's campaign until it's stopped completely"

triangleFor real jobs - not workfare

Workfare:

triangleFeatured letter: 'Universal Jobmatch' con: 'Rabbit trail' of recurring, non-existent job ads

triangleStop hammering low-paid - 10 an hour now!

triangleBlock Osborne's Billionaire Budget

triangleWorkers' pay down 2,500... Bosses' pay up 700,000

YFJ:

triangleYFJ to join 'free education' demo

triangleOsborne attacks youth... we take to the streets!

triangleYFJ plans 'occupy style' protest - 11th July

Jobs:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleRBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

Government:

triangleLocal government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Youth Fight for Jobs:

triangleJarrow March: an inspiring show of solidarity between workers and youth

Young people:

triangleMarch for free education! We demand a future!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

6/12/17

Transport

Arriva bus strikers stand firm

6/12/17

Pensions

BT pensions review - oppose the attacks on the pension schemes

6/12/17

PCS

Driving examiners walkout hits first day of new test

6/12/17

Newham

School staff strike against privatisation

6/12/17

Rail

Brutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

6/12/17

PCS

PCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference

6/12/17

North Yorkshire

Court maintains injunction against fracking protesters

6/12/17

Waltham Forest

Waltham Forest Universal Credit protest

6/12/17

Coventry

Coventry Socialist sales hit 1,000

6/12/17

TUSC

TUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

6/12/17

Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores Uni landslide for Socialist Students

6/12/17

Kirklees

Plans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle11 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Campaigning workshop

triangle11 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas Quiz

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2