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To agree with workfare in principal?

(707 Posts)
IAmMiranda Sun 29-Sep-13 11:23:01

Donning my flame retardant underwear - though note I'm not for the current scheme, but the principal is sensible.

Working for unemployment benefits makes sense to me - provided that the "wage" is fair for the hours and skills. Eg. £90 a week job sellers could equal 15 hours of charity work?

Taking into account disabilities, childcare and other responsibilities I really don't think its unfair to provide people with jobs to earn the equivalent of benefits?

I do think its wrong to line the pockets of corporations, reduce jobs for other workers etc but surely charity work is an option?

I think I've probably missed some huge glaring point but AIBU?

(NOTE: I have previously been in reciept of JSA and would happily have done 15 hours a week and had plenty of time to job search)

GobbySadcase Sun 29-Sep-13 12:03:38

Providing private enterprise with free labour at the taxpayers expense is a nonsense and further contracts an already struggling employment market.

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 12:06:01

I agree with you, I think the stipulation should be that people are filling 'nice to have' roles that the nation can otherwise not afford, that they are not forced to do more than 1/2 FT hours per week, it fits in with caring responsibilities etc.

In no way should workfare people be working in private companies ever, local councils or charities doing 'nice to haves' ie extra lollipop people/listinging to children read/marketing etc. is completely different to shelf stacking taking work out of the economy.

We constantly hear of the terrible effects of unemployment on society in terms of health etc. I think a decent, responsible, 'kind' source of this type of work would go someway (but I accept not completely) to mitigate these factors and would give people seeking work more self worth.

WeGotTheKrunk Sun 29-Sep-13 12:06:16

YABU. The reason why there are so many unemployed at the moment is because there are no jobs - it's not because people are too lazy to work.

People shouldn't be forced to work somewhere like poundland for their benefits. Plenty of unemployed want to do voluntary work or internships but often the jobcentre will tell them the rules don't allow it. (ie "if you're available for voluntary work, you're making yourself unavailable for paid work and therefore your benefits should be cut off.")

In my opinion workfare tries to shift the blame for mass unemployment onto the unemployed, when in fact the reason so many are unemployed is because the government has made massive cuts to the third sector and to the public sector, forcing millions out of work or into insecure employment.

If there's a job 'for nowt' somewhere like poundland - if you're talking about 11 hours a week, then that number of hours per week (x3) equates to an almost full time job for one person - doesn't it? So if Poundland can offer 11 hours work to an unemployed person, why don't they have the hours available to make a proper full time job available for one person?

Workfare is bollocks, it supports the notion that the unemployed are 'too lazy' to work, which just isn't true.

DontmindifIdo Sun 29-Sep-13 12:06:19

I think there's nothing wrong with saying you agree with a principle, but not the way it's been impliemented. OP, I agree with you to a point, I think the idea that some charity/community work for the money is not a bad idea. The implimentation (the hours and the roles people are being asked/forced to do) is wrong, but I don't have a problem with the idea.

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 12:06:54

But gobby the op is not talking about the private sector, in fact the OP says she is against it.

NatashaBee Sun 29-Sep-13 12:08:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tiredmumno1 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:11:12

Also employment rights have been overlooked here. If you are on workfare you have no rights at all.

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 12:11:16

Wegotthekrunk did you read the OP?

pixiepotter Sun 29-Sep-13 12:15:14

I think workfare is a good idea but
1) only at minimum wage (ie hours worked =£benefits divided by min wage)
2)Only in not-for-profit organisations.

PlotTwist Sun 29-Sep-13 12:16:19

I don't disagree with it either in principle, except where it is taking away actual jobs. I'd quite happily work in poundland for a wage (in fact, we had a new one open up recently. I never saw a single job advertised for it, makes me wonder how much of their staff are unpaid?).

I'm already doing voluntary work at a large charity which does take workfare people for four weeks at a time. A lot of them do their four weeks and then leave, but a sizeable proportion do their time and then return as 'proper' volunteers. I agree with this set-up, benefical to the charity, good for the volunteers, not taking any paid roles up.

Unlike poundland. There are few retail jobs in this area (most of our city centre is either boarded or building site), it doesn't help when firms are advertising less because they have a free workforce.

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:20:23

But gobby the op is not talking about the private sector, in fact the OP says she is against it

But the reality is as gobby says it.

Whether or not the OP is against that [actual] way of doing it is a moot point.

The reality is that big companies make money out of workfare because they have a steady stream of free labour.

Tabby1963 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:20:33

I think that there are some merits to a Workfare job:-

1. The actual routine of getting up and going to work on a daily basis will stave off that awful 'staying in pj's until lunchtime watching Jeremy Kyle (depressing in it's own right) type programmes, then staying up until 3am because your sleep pattern is skewed.

2. Going to work will help to make you feel a part of society, not isolated.

3. You will gain valuable experience. Employers mostly want to see candidates for jobs who have actual workplace experience. My son struggled to get a job because he hadn't had one before, until a kindly employer gave him a chance.

4. The psychological boost that spending money you have earned yourself cannot be underestimated.

5. Not having a purpose in life is demoralising, depressing and causes ill-health over the long term.

I would not want this scheme to be seen as a punishment for unemployed claimants, but as an opportunity to improve their lives financially, mentally, physically, emotionally.

Mrsdavidcaruso Sun 29-Sep-13 12:23:54

I disagree with companies like Tesco and poundland taking on work fare people for no wages rather then employing people they have to pay for.

But I would have no objection to them taking on this people for part time work say over the weekends or late and early starts and only have paid staff for 'core hours' and extra paid staff for busy periods.

This would kill two birds, 1 this would enable them to give current paid employees the chance to have some weekends off, 2 the WF people could get the experience and have first dibbs on any paid work, and they could then spend mon-fri looking for work and going to interviews.

The only people who may have problems doing this are people who need child care that may not be available on weekends, then as long as they can prove they have no one like family to mind the kids then they can do WF in places like charity shops and volunteer work where by being there they are not taking the jobs that should go to paid staff.

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:28:44

Tabby workfare ISN'T a job though.

The psychological boost that spending money you have earned yourself cannot be underestimated

What money? you get the same rate of JSA so hardly scope for spending.

point 1, do you think that everyone who is out of work sits around watching J kyle?

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 12:29:29

Spooky I disagree, the OP has started the thread to discuss what kind of scheme would be better so it's not really a moot point - it's in fact the entire crux of her post.

noddyholder Sun 29-Sep-13 12:30:59

ALl this proves is that there is work available if the employers don't have to pay!

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:32:48

The only people who may have problems doing this are people who need child care that may not be available on weekends

Or early mornings....or late nights.

Lots of single parents will be expected to do workfare, your proposal is totally unworkable for that reason alone.

What about those who have a part time evening/weekend retail job to fit in with their partner.husband who works daytime hours, you know the husband takes care of the kids in the evening while Mum goes to work? your proposal would take away that job from them...not to mention the many students who work those hours to fit in with studying,.

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:36:41

mrscog unless the OP is a minister in charge of unemployment policy it is totally moot.

There are several of these threads saying pretty much the same thing, its not really what people should be focusing on IMO,

If you don't agree with workfare in its current form, then campain about it?

Look on 'boycottworkfare' blog and vote with your feet, dont use the companies that use workfare slaves.

Talking about how we would like it to be is just pie in the sky.

*Im not saying the OP shouldn't post BTW, but what 'we' think should happen isn't what is happening so...

SunshineSuperNova Sun 29-Sep-13 12:36:55


Companies that use workfare staff are in fact closing off vacancies to paid staff. That means that more people who, in the past, would have done seasonal work are unemployed. And therefore they may have to go on to JSA, there are less taxes being paid, they can't spend and therefore boost the economy...

On the other side of the coin, the government is paying these companies to take on workfare staff. So it's not saving a penny of taxpayers' money - huge corporations are making even more profit on the backs of the people of this country. The gains they make are not distributed back into society, they are concentrated in to the pockets of shareholders.

It's a massive con. People on here who have done workfare have not been able to get a reference from the companies they worked for on the scheme.

There is more information on workfare here.

To people saying that people on workfare should be doing 'non-jobs' such as sweeping playgrounds and reading to children - there are already people employed doing those jobs. If those kind of jobs go to people on workfare it pushes more people on to benefits. It's a vicious cycle.

candycoatedwaterdrops Sun 29-Sep-13 12:38:36

I agree with noddy that it proves that work is available. This programme is insane because those job seekers cannot job seek while working and the programme is actually take away jobs that those job seekers might otherwise take! Bonkers and reeks of 'bring back the workhouse'!

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 12:48:13

Spooky thanks for that link, and for your reasoning it's helpful.

Pachacuti Sun 29-Sep-13 12:48:51

Your imaginary scheme where jobseekers work the hours required to "earn" benefits at minimum wage rates doing non-profit/charity work isn't inherently a bad one (assuming that appropriate safeguards for special circumstances are built into the system). But that's a long, LONG way from what workfare actually is, on almost every dimension. As it is it pays ridiculously low hourly rates, funnels taxpayers' money into the pockets of big companies, stops claimants looking for real work, leaves claimants significantly worse off after expenses, takes real jobs out of the economy, etc.

You might as well say "I agree with workfare in principle because chocolate cake is nice". Chocolate cake has about as much in common with actual workfare as your hypothetical scheme does.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 29-Sep-13 12:50:20

I think that either everyone should get a proper universal benefit which covers the basic cost of food + bills for a week for an adult (like child benefit used to be) and lower the tax threshold to account for working people receiving it. Then all work pays so even v part time work makes you better off.

Or we should set up a system where the job centre is just that. And they have a limitless supply of 15hour/week minimum wage roles picking litter/doing filing for the council. No benefits, but if you walk into the job centre you will be given a job starting the next day at minimum wage.

We certainly shouldn't be paying sustenance benefits and forcing people to volunteer for corporations so they have no incentive to actually pay people to do jobs.

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:51:33

You're welcome mrscog. smile

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:53:07

Another point is that some long term unemployed people already do voluntary work.

I know of someone who was told that her volunteering would have to stop so she could do a workfare placement [in peacocks IIRC]

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