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.
“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.
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!