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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)


All those points work on the assumption that every person expected to attend a workfare placement is a lazy feckless scrounger that has no idea what its like to work.

What about the 45 year old labourer/electrician/plumber who is finding themselves out of work for the first time since they left school. Or the countless other people who are trained for something but have found themselves stacking shelves because there are no jobs in their field, and then find themselves being made redundant because the company they currently work for has decided to us the workfare scheme to replace actual jobs?

Of course there are people who need to get off their arses. But they are so few and far between that it is ridiculous to be tarring all claimants with the same brush.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 29-Sep-13 12:58:17

What wannabeadomesticgoddess said.^^

And the whole idea of workfare being oh so good for people, helping them back into society is just so fucking patronising.
When my dad was made redundant aged 49, he was on JSA for a year before getting another job.
I really don't think that forcing him to stack shelves in Poundland for would have massivly raised his self worth.
He already had 30 years of work experience and lots of qualifications.
There is always this assumption that the unemployed have never worked. Rubbish.
And if there are young people who HAVE never worked, then they need training, apprenticeships, their horizons broadened.

We need to invest in the actual social structure of this country, and think constructively about how to get people into REAL work because that is how we will sustain better long term employment and a higher skills base.
Benefits are paid for by ALL of us (yes even those who have lost their jobs), so making people work to access them is making them pay twice.

And as for those of you on child benefit-you are a benefit claimant, so how do you feel about doing a couple of hours a week in a Tesco warehouse so that you actually deserve your child benefit?

Tabby1963 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:58:27

Spooky, my point 1 point is really about not having something to get up for and instead, drifting to doing something passive in the house (it may not actually be JK but it's something to while away the hours and hours of inactivity that unemployment can be). It leads on to point 5.

Over time, it gets to be a habit, a bad habit. It is just not good for our mental health to be living such a depressing, passive existence. Having a purpose (working) has got to be better than not.

Point 4, about spending money you've earned yourself instead of getting handouts for doing nothing. what would you rather do? what is going to make you feel better about yourself, give you experience, and more likely than not, lead to a proper full-time job and even more opportunities?

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 29-Sep-13 12:58:40

x-post wannabe!

Rooners Sun 29-Sep-13 13:00:03

Miranda - please stop spelling it wrong. It's 'principle'.

mrscog Sun 29-Sep-13 13:01:56

I suppose I like these discussions because I get tired of (as with most political issues) the whole 'everything about x idea is terrible' vs 'everything about x idea is great/good for the nation', whereas most decisions whether they come from the left or right have a reasonable jist/intention behind them, but they always seem to be too extreme in one way or another.

Take the hoo ha over childcare ratio changes. I was completely against them. However, I can see the merit in allowing some flexibility over ratios for a short space of time at a changeover time of day, or where you have 2 child-minders working together and one of them needs to pop out for 5 minutes during naptime. However it just became so polarised (and thank got it was stopped). I just feel so unrepresented by both politicians and the media all the time as I generally fall in to the middle of the road with these things. Workfare is a good example of one of these things for me. Hate it as it stands, but I do think everyone should be encouraged/facilitated to participate in society.

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:02:57

and more likely than not, lead to a proper full-time job and even more opportunities?

But it doesn't, it has already been established that workfare and the like doesnt work. a tiny % of participants get a job at the end of it.

re your point 1. just because you are out of work doesnt mean that you have nothing to get up for or a purpose.

As someone else said I think you have fallen into the trap of thinking there is a 'type' of jsa claimant.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 29-Sep-13 13:03:10

Point 4 is irrelevant: workfare in its current form doesn't pay a wage. That's the main complaint about it. So you can't spend money you've earned because you don't earn any,

noddyholder Sun 29-Sep-13 13:04:16

This 'scheme' has NO redeeming features it is a con all round and terrible for society as a whole. The message it sends is not that you re t least 'up and not watching Jeremy Kyle' hmm but that even though you have been seeking work for months with no success the govt have a stash of jobs that need doing

It is just not good for our mental health to be living such a depressing, passive existence. Having a purpose (working) has got to be better than not.

This is very true. I am just not sure why you think its OK to miss out the main point of having a job.....A FAIR DAYS PAY FOR A FAIR DAYS WORK.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 29-Sep-13 13:15:37

Just to point out minesapintoftea, that, at least for me, working PT does pay substantially more than being on JSA, even taking into account the increased council tax, no free school meals etc.
It is worked out pretty carefully to be this way. For example, housing benefit is calculated on 65% of your earned income, so that is you earn a bit more, the HB goes down, but not the same amount that you earned iyswim.
I dont know if people with more kids have the same experience as I do though.

Tabby1963 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:16:58

Thanks Sunshine for that link to Boycott Workfare. I am just working my way through it. I am particularly disturbed to read news that, through a Parliamentary question, people taking part in these schemes, which do not pay "wages" (not even at minimum wage) but benefits, are still counted as employed on Government statistics, even if they don't receive any money at all!

Spooky and Wannabe, I am thinking that we all want the same thing here (giving more people the chance to get meaningful employment). However, from what I have been reading, the way this scheme is being implemented, it is sometimes more of an abuse than a real chance to increase employment. How depressing.

I take your point about some claimants being older with many years experience in their field. My friend's husband, recently redundant after 30 years in an industry and with a lot of experience in his field, is now a taxi driver.

turnaroundbrighteyes Sun 29-Sep-13 13:18:00

The governments previous hardline stance that you were peanalised for wanting to work any job even if it was part time and you couldn't get a full time one always seemed unfair. So it sounds fair to be expected to work a few hours at minimum wage for benefits you are claiming whilst looking for full time work so long as claiments are able to look for their own placements if they wish and to that it isn't taken advantage of by big corps.

No idea why people seem so keen for all private businesses to be excluded or have to guarantee jobs though. What about when the claimant wants experience of a field they are only academically qualified for. Or a new business that could grow more quickly eventually providing more jobs - in many cases these are run by people working for less than minimum wage to get them off the ground. Totally legal for someone self employed or a company director to work fot less than MW, just not to employ anyone on less.

Thants Sun 29-Sep-13 13:22:04

Yabvu. Poor people are not our slaves. We have minimum wage for a reason.

MinesAPintOfTea Sun 29-Sep-13 13:28:37

IfNot I am happy for part time jobs to be offered for fair pay. In fact I think its a good idea. But I read the original comment as being in favour if the current workfare system which is considerably below minimum wage.

IfNotNowThenWhen Sun 29-Sep-13 13:51:33

No, I agree with you minesapint-workfare is totally bogus. I was just making an aside really, just to keep it factual.
I often hear how "people are better off on benefits" and actually, ime, that is not the case. (I do have a real job obviously, not a workfare "job")

I still want to know if those in favour of workfare, for claimants to "earn their benefits" are willing to work a few hours for free to earn their child benefit?

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 13:56:42

people taking part in these schemes, which do not pay "wages" (not even at minimum wage) but benefits, are still counted as employed on Government statistics

Yes, that should tell people something about why the government is so keen to push this.

Make it look like the unemployment rate has fallen...

Debs75 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:04:13

Is workfare to help the claimaint a job in a field they want or just to fill retail and factory work?

DP did a back to work course a few years ago and he wanted to do some plumber training. He was refused as he has previously worked in retail and factories, the only jobs around at the time. The DWP response was they will only give you training in a role you have worked in before.
There is no decent paid jobs in retail and factories and the shifts make it hard for me to then work and for us to still care for our dc's. Plumbing could lead to self-employed work with choosing hours around the dc's.

In principle workfare could and should be a good idea, keeping long term claimants up to date with training and experience, stopping short term claimants from becoming long term clamiants. Giving these people new skills and helping them access further education.
It Should Not give big companies cheap labour

IAmMiranda Sun 29-Sep-13 14:13:39

Some people seem to misunderstanding what I'm saying or just not reading the OP

The premise of workfare ie. Those who are able to work to put in hours for their benefits - is sound.

Yes, the current system is extortion. People should be working fair hours, flexible to their needs in roles that are non-profit and beneficial to society. The example given earlier of helping children with reading is excellent.

11 hours a week is a reasonable amount that reflects NMW, provides a CV filler, gives a boost to the worker and gives plenty of time for job-hunting. 11 hours could easily be worked around other responsibilities such as childcare.

This is not a moot point at all - the idea is sound, the procedure needs to be changed

SpookyNameChange13 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:17:28

Do you think the government are going to adopt your idea then OP? do you think they will drop their current policy that benefits their mates in industry in favour of your idea that benefits jsa claimants and society?

I think you have a very rosy idea of what the premise of workfare actually is.

It really isn't about helping people

IAmMiranda Sun 29-Sep-13 14:17:47

Fuck, been spelling principle wrong. Sorry! (I'll blame it on being on my phone....) blush

The idea is not sound.

The majority of claimants have paid through their NI contributions so that they can claim from this pot if they are unemployed. To then make them work for money they have already worked for is outrageous.

IAmMiranda Sun 29-Sep-13 14:21:34

I know exactly what workfare is and I'm not saying that I am pro the current system. But the idea of working for your benefits is fair.

harticus Sun 29-Sep-13 14:22:03

People want jobs. Proper jobs.
Simple and easy as that.
Decent contracts, decent wages.
As none of the political parties have full employment as an ambition we are forever stuck with these half baked exploitative schemes.
I an old enough to remember the horribly abused (and abusive) YOP scheme that eventually died on its arse after 5 years.
Same shite different names - it is all about fiddling the employment figures.

Tiredmumno1 Sun 29-Sep-13 14:24:37

It is not fair Miranda, read what wannabe just said.

Also if you are all for people working for benefits, then ifnot had a valid question which you haven't answered. It was, would you be happy to work for your child benefit then?

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