Chris Grayling! Liar Liar, Pants On Fire! #WRB #boycottworkfare

Chris Grayling has hit out at those who oppose his workfare *cough* work experience schemes as being ‘job snobs’ in The Telegraph. The biggest problem with the entire article is that Grayling has told several whoppers.

He claims that under the last government claimants would have had their JSA stopped for taking part in work experience. While he is technically correct, if a work experience placement was arranged through the jobcentre then they kept all of their benefits. As far as I am aware Grayling’s schemes are arranged via the Jobcentre/work programme, so claimants would have kept their JSA anyway.

It is also claimed that the current placements are voluntary. They’re not. The word ‘mandatory’ means you have to do it, and don’t forget that if you do not complete your placement, don’t turn up, refuse, or fail to perform adequately you can be sanctioned, that means you lose your benefits for a period of time. The government are currently attempting to increase the maximum sanction period to three years. If you change your mind and return to your placement your sanction still stands, so if you have been sanctioned for 3 months you would be working for absolutely nothing, not even your JSA.

Grayling wrote:

“Short term work experience placements lasting a few weeks are of immense value to young people looking to get a foothold on the job ladder,”

The problem is, it’s not short term anymore. The previous government had work trials, which meant you could work in a real job for 2 weeks and decide if you wanted the job at the end of the trial. That’s short term and it has a goal in sight, a job with real wages!

Yes, Labour introduced New Deal (later renamed Flexible New Deal) and I know a few people who went to this scheme. The main difference I can see is that New Deal comprised of 6 different programmes. Grayling’s scheme is in essence one programme. The needs of different groups are not the same. In 3 years if I’m not working I could be put onto the same programme as someone with no children, half my age, or someone with disabilities. We clearly all have different needs and need different help accessing the labour market. How is packing me off to a big supermarket for 30 hours a week going to help me arrange childcare, travel (the actual art of getting there. Reimbursing me is no good if I can’t get there in the first place!) and then matching my actual skills or ambitions to the ‘work experience’ I’m ordered to do for fear of losing my only source of income?

I’m not a ‘job snob’, I’ve worked full time in noisy, sometimes dirty warehouses doing back breaking manual labour for the minimum wage and I actually quite enjoyed it. I have also walked out of premises and never returned when an employer has failed to pay me for my hard work. I was once working unpaid for 2 weeks. I walked out on day 14 because the tax credits alone didn’t pay the rent. I should have been earning almost £200 a week, instead myself and my daughter were living off tax credits and child benefit. I went back to my old job and survived on minimum wage because it’s better than nothing. That small wage was reward for my hard work. Wanting a wage for hard work does not make anyone a snob, some rich, middle aged Tory who has never worked an 8 hour shift in a dusty, cold warehouse, hurting himself to finish his quota for the day, being completely exhausted when he finally collapsed in the chair at home is a snob for expecting another human being to work for the measly sum of £53.45 for under 25’s, £67.50 for over 25’s and £105.95 for couples a week. Would you work full time for that? Mr Grayling says that if you don’t, you’re the snob, as he swans around in his ministerial car with his expensive clothes, full fridge & freezer and his heating on full. Not to mention his large salary and expenses.

Grayling also seems to be under the impression that it’s just the BBC and Guardian that oppose workfare. Maybe he should go and take a peek at the Superdrug facebook page, the Tesco facebook page, the Argos facebook page and open those comments up on the ASDA Facebook page. He could even sign onto Twitter and see a magnitude of opposition to workfare.  Maybe he’d prefer to have a gander at a simple job search that brings up pages of advertisements asking for Jobseekers, mostly 18-24yrs old, to come and work for their benefits. Don’t try to tell me they’re all IT errors, they’re clearly not.

I would also like to bring to your attention the governments intention to push all disabled claimants of ESA who are rightly or wrongly put into the WRAG (Work-Related Activity Group) into workfare on an unlimited time scale. There will be no fixed period for these placements, they could last 1 week or 1 year, the government want to keep them open ended. If people don’t comply they will be sanctioned.

Mr Grayling is a liar, and not a very good one either. If anyone is a hypocrite it’s him. My dad always says ‘don’t ask someone to do anything you’re not prepared to do yourself’. Chris ‘Pinocchio’ Grayling might do better in the future if he bears that in mind. I’m not holding my breath though.

In the meantime, I’d like to ask you to visit www.boycottworkfare.org and also sign this wonderful petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29356 to abolish workfare.

If you’re lucky enough to be employed then the entire workfare scheme is putting your job at risk. Why would an employer want to pay you for something the government can force someone else to do for free? The employer does not pay the JSA, the government do. Keep your job and help to create new ones, real ones for people who desperately want them. Oppose workfare!

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Posted on February 20, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. It’s about time we had some clarification. If what grayling says about workfare being voluntary is true and accurate then he should put it in writing. As far as I myself can see its voluntary up to the point where saying No results in sanctions and the advice agency the CAB advise people that it is mandatory. Its time Grayling came clean and admitted his mistake.

  2. there is the alternative – get a job…..

    • Please show me all these jobs. There are around 400,000 jobs available and 2.62million unemployed. You work it out.

      • Theres 400 000 + for a starters.

      • Mr Grayling, is that you? I suggest you go to one of the jobcentre run basic numeracy classes, 400,000 does not equal 2.62million. Next you’ll be telling us workfare is voluntary….

      • Nice one…
        Firstly show me an economy that has 100% employment.

        Lets start by helping 400 000 into those jobs though shall we? thats a positive move. Then when disposable income starts to rise and more job are created, it may start to help the remainder.

        Lets also have a think about inproving the transition off benefits whislt in employment to make sure that disposable income increases.

        If you think I’m wrong though, whats your alternative?

      • Firstly, I actually agree with the first part of your comment.

        Second, you should try, like many of us have, to explain that to the government.

        Try to explain to them that having thousands work for free actually deprives jobseekers of an actual job.

        Also, can you help them realise that forcing those of us unable to work are not going to miraculously overcome those barriers by being demonised and bullied? It would go a long way to helping.

        One last point, do your best to teach them that taking from the poorest is wrong when so many big companies get away with not paying billions in tax. And its hypocritical to lecture benefit claimants for ‘scrounging’ when David Cameron alone claimed £21,000 in one year for his mortgage 🙂

  3. There is a second issue. Aside from the clear injustice that makes this scheme the attempt it is to scrw people into the ground through slavery, the resounding claim of “voluntary” status opens another debate completely.

    Volunteer England (without introducing a “national” element, all cases I have seen so far have been in England too, I’d add) and the TUC have a charter. It states among other things that

    (1) The involvement of volunteers should complement and supplement the work of paid staff, and should not be used to displace paid staff or undercut their pay and conditions of service.
    and
    (2) The added value of volunteers should be highlighted as part of commissioning or grant- making process but their involvement should not be used to reduce contract costs.

    I would lay odds that DWP, Grayling, employers et al. are not adhering to it. So I’ve asked him. I’ll come back if he replies and let you know what he said. For the win double, the shrewd money is on “flannel and whitewash”.

    Very good article.

  4. Reblogged this on anotheravenuetocomplain and commented:
    It seems I’m not the only person that Chris Grayling thinks “absurd” (again, with or without superfluous adverbs)

  5. Well ‘Worker’ lucky old you, it sounds like at the moment you are in gainful employment and can take the moral high ground on this subject. So the popular press campaign is paying off then!!
    Never forget that as the slogan goes ‘it could be you’.

    This scheme is wrong and must be re-evaluated, if it is really about ‘work’ experience why are there reports of mature persons with a good work history being forced to participate, do they really need to be imbued with a lacking work ethic, or is the reality that they need a REAL paid job , which in this climate simply does not exist.

    As for the ‘job snob’ issue. Why is it so wrong that a ( I believe they call them) Client should expect to actually gain some form of improvement to their skill set as a result of participating in the scheme. Most of us would do most jobs for wages when the need arises, but to be forced to stack Tesco shelves for nothing is quite wrong. This scheme is being sold as providing the invaluable experience that job seekers require, unless that can be shown to be true then it is quite simply ‘unfit for purpose’.

    My main area of concern is the impact of this scheme on the disabled, particularly mental health sufferers. Not only do they have to contend with a flawed and inaccurate assessment process which has been proved to assess thousands of clearly unfit claimants as ‘ fit for work’ or it’s slightly less scary version the WRAG, but having survived the process they find themselves at the mercy of a JCP advisor ( I use the term loosely) with little or no understanding of the issues they face, and even less in the way of resources to help them.

    Without a careful assessment of each and every individual involved, this scheme can never deliver what it says on the packet and can only benefit employers who would really rather have free labour than pay for it. What we are seeing is a dismantling of a welfare system that at it’s best is a safety net for each and every one of us, even you ‘worker’

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