Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/732/15172
Boris' workfare - no solution
Fight for real job creation
London Tory mayor Boris Johnson recently announced a new workfare scheme for young people in the capital. Here is a letter sent by Youth Fight for Jobs to the Guardian newspaper in response:
It was with depressing inevitability that we read that Boris Johnson and the DWP are piloting yet another slave labour scheme (Unpaid work plan for Londoners, The Guardian, 29 August 2012).
Having seen one of their workfare schemes, the Work Experience Programme, left in tatters as a result of public outcry, the government is coming back for another crack of the whip. Their determination to save on labour costs for their big business mates really is something to be admired.
The scheme will mean that young Londoners will not be able to claim Jobseekers' Allowance without having done at least six months work beforehand. 6,000 placements will be 'created' as part of the scheme.
The DWP employs a nice bit of intellectual gymnastics when they claim that it "ties in directly" with Johnson's pledge to "create 200,000 jobs in the next four years". Actually not a single job will be created by this or any other workfare scheme. All the government is doing is making sure that the companies and organisations that take these people on don't actually have to pay wages.
It's a win-win situation... for big business and the government at least. The government can appear to be doing something about unemployment. And businesses can get work done on the cheap.
If Grayling and Co are serious about ending "a something for nothing culture that does no one any favours" why don't they take money off the bankers who caused the economic crisis in the first place and are still receiving huge bonuses?
Why don't they take the £800 billion that sits idle in the accounts of big corporations? Why don't they collect the uncollected £120 billion in taxes from the super-rich? All this money could be used to invest in public services and provide genuinely socially useful jobs and training.
Youth Fight for Jobs and Education will continue our efforts to build a mass campaign against slave labour schemes. We want to see a united movement of the unemployed, young people and trade unionists to beat back austerity and build a future for young people.
Paul Callanan, Youth Fight for Jobs and Education, national organiser
Chris Baugh, Public and Commercial Services union, assistant general secretary
Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union, general secretary
In The Socialist 5 September 2012:
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