Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 April 2009

The grim reality of job-hunting

Mary and her fiancé John spoke to The Socialist about their experiences of trying to find a decent job in London. Behind the growing youth unemployment figures are huge problems with the type of work that is available.

"How come there is so much support for businesses and not for people? It's true that there are jobs out there but there are also a lot of scams.

Employers say to you that you're not experienced enough or that you don't have enough qualifications and that you've got to do some 'training time' ie up to two weeks working for free. This is what happened to me when I got work taking restaurant bookings over the phone.

Despite the fact that I have events organising experience I was then told that the 'training rate' was two weeks of working for five days and getting paid for three. It was only out of sheer desperation that I stayed on. I expected that I would then get five days pay at the minimum wage rate.

Imagine how sick I felt when my employer explained to me that he had had an intervention from God, who suggested that he pay me the full wage I was due after three months rather than the six months he was thinking of! He told me that there were students who needed experience and were willing to work for him for free and that I should consider myself lucky. I considered myself in need of a new job!

Training rates

With computer experience I soon got an IT training job with a government-funded initiative. Imagine how I felt when I was asked to work for free for two to three weeks to 'see if I liked it' and to ascertain what rate I should be on! I was then given forty hours a week including a couple of twelve-hour shifts and paid £700 a month, less than the minimum wage. To subsidise this I spent my days off selling bread, phone cards, anything I could do to help make ends meet.

Not having a proper job that I could survive on and the sense that I was being taken advantage of made me feel ashamed. Things got worse and worse. My fiancé was taken on and I was encouraged to try for some qualifications but John wasn't paid and I never got my qualifications. When we tried to demand our pay we were told not to come back. We didn't know our rights, weren't in a union and felt we had no way to defend ourselves.

Suddenly we were desperate. I had been staying with John's family but when we had no money coming in they started to get resentful of us. We were desperately trying to get work but could find nothing meaningful.

John was doing charity collecting but was only getting three days a week work and was only able to bring in £100 a week. You have to pay £40 for the charity collector equipment, work 10am to 6pm outside on your feet, and have to search for places to use the toilet.

Frustrations at home escalated and John's father attacked me and we had to leave. We found ourselves jobless, homeless and desperate. The police said they had no resources to help us. Eventually the Salvation Army helped us out. Since then we have again been looking for work - but there's not much out there.

All the Jobcentres carry Loot magazines but they are full of so-called OTE jobs. These are scams. They offer 'up to £30,000' or some such fantastic sounding opportunity but OTE means it's a commission-based job. It is really hard to make enough money to survive selling expensive bottles of perfume on the streets, let alone to live a decent life. Some of the ads ask you to text for information, and you then get charged extortionately for the texts.

Even the Jobpoint machines in the Jobcentre spit out OTE jobs. One for a 'field sales consultant' promises £47,000 OTE per annum, but then goes on to mention 'a brief period of self employment usually 3 to 4 weeks maximum' when, of course, you are not even subject to the minimum wage.

How many people can last that long without a guaranteed income? Not many. If you do last it you can look forward to 'a basic salary' with 'great commission' if you're lucky."

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

In The Socialist 1 April 2009:

The G20 leaders have no solution to the crisis...

Fight for a future!

Youth Fight for Jobs conference

Why I'm marching

The grim reality of job-hunting

G20 protests

G20 Summit: Capitalism facing 'make or break'

Free market system killing our planet

UEL clampdown

Bail out workers, not Wall Street!

Socialist Party workplace news

Visteon workers occupy Belfast factory

Construction workers' protests continue

Socialist stands in Aslef leadership elections

College teachers strike in Eastbourne

Unison needs a fighting leadership: Leeds City Council

Whipps Cross Hospital

Unison elections

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Economic crisis turning into political action

Socialist Party election campaign

No2EU - Yes to Democracy

Dave Nellist on the Politics Show

Socialist Party campaigns

Poor hit by price rises

No to privatised polyclinics

Gordon Brown meets the bankers

Sack the bankers not the workers!

Fast News

International socialist news and analysis

Now that the profits are drying up in the Indian software industry

Sweden: Socialist councillor viciously assaulted by Nazis


Home   |   The Socialist 1 April 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleRetail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

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

triangleDemonstrations by uni students and staff greet Bath vice-chancellor resignation

triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

trianglePCS Left Unity celebrates 40th anniversary at annual conference


trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleRBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

triangleRoyal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

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

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

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



December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice