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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Unemployment, compulsion & the blame game

Unemployment, compulsion & the blame game

12th December 2008

On the 27 October 2008 the “Employment and Support Allowance” replaced Incapacity Benefit & Income Support. The new benefit places greater requirements on claimants to look for and find work, or massive benefit sanctions. The “Welfare Reform Bill” before the House of Commons being debated in Dec 2008, is all about massively reducing dependency upon the welfare state – to remove benefits from the people!

Marxists have long realised the fact that" The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly." (Engels) and the threat to dismiss evokes uncertainty and frequently a compliant work force. Marxists interpret current insecurities of the work place as deliberate policy intended to coerce the workforce, and the uncertainties of the system of income support as designed to discipline the reserve army of labour.

Underlying the analysis of both 'problems' and 'solutions' is the failure to trust ourselves, which in turn leaves us unable to trust others, which causes us to identify bogus 'problems' and define unworkable 'solutions'. The level of unemployment becomes less important if governments are able to find ways to provide all permanent residents with a Basic Income sufficient to sustain them.

Job Centre Plus & the Labour Government tells us that any job so long as it is "not illegal or immoral" is better than no job at all, the unemployed are now to be forced into such jobs or lose their benefits. It is not surprising that government trots out clich├ęs about unemployed people's indifference to finding work and all the associated rhetoric of the last quarter of a century.

Governments seem reluctant to acknowledge that many jobs are not liberating, career enhancing, or even sensible options for someone wanting secure employment. Many new jobs are part time, casual, of limited duration, or injurious to health; some are extremely dangerous, and some are so low paid that even full-time workers are living in poverty. Many workers are unemployed because they spent most of their past working lives employed in industries which have been phased out by tariff cuts, or where technological or market shifts have led to huge reductions in the amount of labour required.

The failure of the state to create enough jobs for all who want them or to find ways to share all the available jobs amongst the entire labour force has come to be defined as the 'unemployment problem'. Various 'solutions' have been proffered by governments, welfare agencies, academics and others. Those who are uninformed about the complexity of this issue, and who rely upon the fact that they are employed and that they have not personally encountered difficulty acquiring paid work, frequently assert that there is not an unemployment problem. They claim there are plenty of jobs but some people just don't want to work. They seem unconcerned when confronted by ratios between people registered as unemployed and notified vacancies. Nothing will convince them otherwise.

Some economic fundamentalists like some within the British CBI (Confederation of British Industry), suggest the cost of solving unemployment is too high; attempts to lower the rate of unemployment would result in a distortion of the market, and amount to an interference with liberty. In any case they suggest unemployment may be beyond control, beyond interest, too complicated to solve or an externality. They suggest it may be necessary to keep joblessness at the present level in the general interest of the economy, or perhaps it is some how the unemployed's fault.

There are those who claim Britain doesn't have an employment problem, that unemployment is sectional - affecting only groups they contend are peripheral to productive processes like: the young, the old, the uneducated, those who are not job ready, people with a disability, migrants. Those who use to be on Incapacity Benefit who numbered nearly 3 million are now being forced into “work for benefits” schemes, even though these claimants are ill. The makers of such statements seem unconcerned that the total number of people who constitute these groups nears 5 million.

Preoccupation with economic measurement, market outcomes, commodity prices and share market prices is the result of the widespread acceptance of neo-classical economics. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or Gross National Product (GNP) is widely accepted as measures of a country's relative economic performance. Since the rise of economic fundamentalism such measures have increasingly been seen as measures of a country's well being.

If, instead of providing hourly economic statistics on TV channels like “Bloomberg” over which average people have no control, the media provided: a depression index, health and happiness calculations, a daily social wellbeing index, daily employment creation and job loss figures then citizens might come to understand the social and personal dimensions of joblessness and might be determine to do something about it.

High rates of unemployment have been attributed to a multitude of causes including: the recent down turn in the economy, too many migrants, the work shy nature of the unemployed or their lack of skills, technological change, payment of unemployment benefits the nature of society - sometimes expressed as the natural rate of unemployment, the rise of part-time work, women (particularly those who are married) entering the labour market, the high costs of labour (wages cost), or by intentional government and industry policy.

It is important to explain what causes unemployment. When the people come to decide who should bear the cost of high unemployment or the cost of solving it, decisions about who should pay are likely to be determined by how voters account for the creation of the problem. Some have suggested that unemployment is an economic problem, something determined by the market, by balance of trade, by cyclical downturns in business activity, and so forth. But unemployment is not just and maybe is not even an economic problem -rather it is a social, political, moral and ethical question. If it were an economic problem, capable of economic solutions then why have the econocrats not solved it?

The highest levels of unemployment in the 1990’s in the UK have coincided with the rise of neo-classical economists to the pinnacle of decision making in this country.
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=50128328 Watch my video on Thatcher idea of Britain.

If unemployment is not an economic problem but rather a political, social, moral and ethical question then being a non-economist does not rule ordinary people out of the debate - rather it rules them in. If people are prepared to make the social, political, moral and ethical decisions which can solve unemployment they may find they still need to utilise technical economic tactics to come to solutions but this does not necessitate embracing the ideologies of economic fundamentalists.

The type of economic tactic chosen (as Gordon Brown hopes to use in the next few years) to solve unemployment, for instance creating jobs in health, education and community services, will in large part be determined by the ideological positions adopted.

Once the people determine to raise social priorities above purely economic outcomes, it would not be possible to continue to ignore the costs, personal or social, which unemployment causes. It would no longer be sustainable to define such problems away as externalities. For years the despair which constantly confronts the jobless was ignored by this Labour Government & the previous Conservative Government of the 1980/90’s. Waiting for economic recovery to trickle down from the rich to the poor would not be seen as socially acceptable behaviour.

Citizens prepared to seek socially just outcomes could not, in all conscience, continue to allow people without work to bare a grossly disproportionate share of the costs of unemployment. There would be an acknowledgment that those who are without work don't want a job in the long run, they want one now and whilst they are waiting for a job should be provided with a secure income set at a level sufficient to ensure it would not undermine their future economic viability.

This scenario is predicated upon the belief that Brits want to live in a society which is humane, socially inclusive, committed to egalitarianism, solidarity and social justice. I may be wrong and Britain may decide to continue to reward the greedy, the sneaky, and those criminal capitalist businesses who have brought Britain to its knees, if it did reward those it would usher in the sort of divided society we now have but on a much grander scale.

Recently Caroline Flint MP said as Housing Minister, - unemployed council and housing association tenants should seek work or face losing their homes...She said new applicants for social housing would have to sign "commitment contracts" pledging to seek employment. Council flats in Edinburgh like many other areas throughout Britain are being demolished & tenants forced out in a bid to sell land to private developers who are to build private housing – a modern day version of social cleansing of council tenants or a modern day highland clearance of tenants ?
Local Authorities (Councils) are becoming ultra keen in seeking repossessions after tenants fall behind with rent payments – usually because of Job Centre benefit sanctions reducing the ability to pay. Rent arrears are forced through the County Courts as a policy decision, with extra court costs added to the rent arrears – then eviction unless you pay. It worth pointing out that many Council Libraries have now removed concessionary access for the unemployed. Local Councils have also removed the travel concessionary passes which allowed the unemployed to seek work using public transport.
Unemployment, at least in the short term, is recognised by so-called market economists to be a by-product of industry restructuring, micro and macro-economic 'reform', increased efficiency / competitiveness and globalisation. Some market economists choose to treat the resulting unemployment as an externality and therefore of little consequence. They have no understanding that Unemployed Workers are human beings. If they choose to comment upon it all, they assert that in the longer term due to a 'trickle down effect' employment demand will eventually pick up and in the long term everyone will benefit because of the increased prosperity, the economy is simply left to find its own equilibrium. In New Zealand where this approach to unemployment was adopted with enthusiasm it did not solve unemployment nor did it result in increased prosperity.

There is an even more vicious approach to unemployment, this is: “it's their fault” or blame the victim approach which conveniently denies that globalisation is a game which only the super rich can win. This approach has been around in many guises in Britain. The “it's their fault” approach suggests the reason unemployed people are not able to obtain paid employment is the result of a failure on their part. This approach underpinned the worthy / unworthy / 'less eligibility' debates which have raged in welfare circles since the Elizabethan poor law era. It was a central feature of the post World War II 'workers welfare state' with its work testing and targeting. The 'less eligibility' debates are set to return as a result of the “Welfare Reform Bill” before the House of Commons being debated in Dec 2008.

The elderly were deemed worthy because it was assumed they had made a prior contribution and people with severe disabilities because it was determined that they were incapable rather than unwilling to work, but of late workers are being forced to retire at a later date. Of late those with disabilities are being targeted & forced to work for benefits. The “it's their fault” approach has recently taken on a new virulence. At the very time when Britain as a country has never been richer more and more people are being included in compelled activity requirements.

Persevering with the concept of 'problem individuals' creates difficulties for society. By making 'work' whether in the market economy or 'preparedness to work' in the benefit system the defining characteristic of inclusion, society constructs its own burden. Since the mid-1970s the market has been totally incapable of absorbing all the available labour in Britain and in many other advanced capitalist countries.

The government here in Britain and the United States, New Zealand and Australia asserts that the problem is dependency upon the welfare state. Defining the problem in these terms almost demands the solution arrived at is the removal of, or substantial reduction in, welfare assistance. On 27 October 2008 in the UK the “Employment and Support Allowance” replaces “Incapacity Benefit” and “Income Support”. The new benefit places greater requirements on claimants to look for and find work. Given that we have got the highest unemployment for 18 years the reform has come at a difficult time.
Various US insurance giants are now driving the UK welfare policy, the giant US income Protection Company, Unum Provident, & New Labour are working together, in an attempt to reduce the 2.6 million who were claiming Incapacity Benefit (IB). Unum Provident, has been described in the US as ''an outlaw company that for years has operated in an illegal fashion." and been accused of racketeering and cheating tens of thousands of insured Americans out of their claims.
The “Welfare Reform Bill” before the House of Commons being debated in Dec 2008, is all about massively reducing dependency upon the welfare state – to remove benefits from the people!

In Australia there has been a steep rise in the number of unemployed who have had their Welfare benefits either completely or partially cut off. More than 350,000 jobless people - more than half the total number receiving benefits were penalised during the 2000-2001 financial year for breaches of the federal government’s draconian job search rules. The benefit sanctions caused severe hardship to some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, particularly the homeless, and the mentally-ill, jobseekers with drug and alcohol problems, people with literacy and numeracy difficulties, youth and indigenous people. A total of $258.8 million worth of penalties were inflicted during the year, delivering a windfall to the Australian government at the expense of the unemployed and their dependants. An estimated 35,400 people lost their dole payments altogether for eight weeks a threefold increase on the previous 12 months. Many more recipients received the heaviest penalties, ranging from $837 to $1,431, for breaching the government’s “activity test”. The Single Parent Pension (won by the women's movement in the early 1970s) was now stigmatised by the mark of "welfare dependency". The social democratic idea of welfare - that governments had an obligation to guarantee either a decent job or a social payment if they failed-was torn up in the 1980s in Australia. Unemployment benefits are re-badge and restructured as “Newstart Allowances”. The once voluntary programs to help single parents, those with a disability and others claimants into work, became compulsory "obligations".

We need to learn the lessons of what has already happened in places like the US, New Zealand and Australia. In the mid 1990’s The National Unemployed Centres Combine of which I was on the Executive Committee (National TUC Unemployed Centres) promised to raise a national fund to tackle (through judicial review, court action and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights) aspects of the Job Seekers Allowance which, at the time said, impinge on civil liberties or discriminate on the grounds of disability. This judicial review, court action and appeals to the European Court of Human Rights, never happened & yet again the unemployed have been let down by those involved within the TUC Centres & the Trade Union Movement as a whole. Trade Union Members are now going to lose their jobs in this downturn in the economy; we need to organise now before members are faced with unemployment.

A right wing UK Labour Party simply paves the way for an even more right wing Conservative Government. The New Zealand Nationals came into office after a Labour Government had started down the path towards industrial deregulation, free trade, welfare cutbacks and globalisation. This will be the case here in Britain unless we wake up to the threat NOW. New Zealand experienced an economic fundamentalist government which introduced individualised work contract employment and a social welfare system which was incapable of ensuring the poor were provided with an adequate income or decent health services. The Canadians have shown their “Welfare to Work” programmes just didn't achieve their aims. A government report clearly shows there has been no increase in the numbers of employable welfare clients declaring employment income after leaving welfare.

In recent years Australia’s “Breaching" is what the Federal (Conservative) Government (with Labour Party support) had introduced to keep the unemployed under control. The slightest mistake, example, not receiving a letter from Centrelink, or worse, missing one of the meaningless interviews, incurs a fine of $840. Such a mistake reduces the meagre payments of unemployed people by 18 per cent over a period of six months. A second mistake reduces payments by 24 per cent and a third mistake within a period of two years results in payments being stopped for eight weeks — a fine of about $1,400.

In Britain in December 2008 a Labour Government with Conservative support brought before the House of Commons (Parliament) a Bill of which it has copied from Australia, New Zealand & the United States. That bill is the “Welfare Reform Bill”.

Britain Benefit Penalties – make the comparison with Australia “Breaching” policy - "Warning for First Offence, £12 Deduction for Second Offence, £24 Deduction for Third Offence & Then a Probation Order "Community Service order will be placed onto Claimants.

These penalties are harsher than those imposed for many crimes and will force people into poverty. It will lead to them losing their homes and building up massive debts for electricity, water and other services. When people are reduced to abject poverty, their self-esteem and self-worth are lowered, they feel that they are not respected in society, disillusionment and depression sets in, making it more likely that they will become ill, not eat properly, and not have decent clothes or decent living conditions. It is less likely that they will become educated or gain meaningful work.

Marxists have long pointed to widespread unemployment as a weapon capitalists use to tame their captive workforce and hold down wages (Marx 1870 Vol 1

“We need to organise the unemployed – united with the workers in work today, for tomorrow it could be YOU! Trade Unions in Britain need to stop the Welfare Reform Bill - it’s never too late”.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Conservative Party attacks the Unemployed - stealing benefit from the unemployed & giving it to business!!



Conservative Party attacks the Unemployed - stealing benefit from the unemployed & giving it to business!!


Last week the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK, David Cameron, pledged to give businesses a tax break of £2,500 per new employee they take on who has been unemployed for three months or more, upto 20% of their workforce.


I thought I'd explore this in more detail .. as a trade unionist through and through, I wanted to expose the real intention behind the tories agenda for the unemployed. In his speach Cameron admitted it would only benefit 1 in 3 new jobs, the companies could only claim the tax break if, the employee had not worked for that company in the last 12 months, had been unemployed for 3 or more months and the company had not made any redundancies.


It seems the Tories want to force the unemployed into ultra low pay jobs or work for dole payments while removing benefit entitlement from others thus giving that money to business instead.


Right back to Thatcherism(Monday 05 January 2009)


TORY leader David Cameron said on Monday that he sometimes felt like shaking Gordon Brown and saying: "Look, what don't you get? It's a credit crunch, that's what needs to be addressed."
Mr Cameron then proceeded to vanish swiftly up his own back passage by insisting that the recession should not be used as an opportunity to "tear up the market system" and "return to 1970s-style interventionism." And then, to crown it all, the Tory buffoon leaped to the defence of the privateers, saying that he would like to see a much larger private sector in the future. Just how many ways does the Tory leader want to cut his cake? Let's run through it carefully for the benefit of the confused Mr Cameron.
First, let's define the present "credit crunch." It's a highly specific phase in free-market capitalism, during which the speculators who run the big banks overreached themselves in their avarice, caught a cold with some very risky investments and, as a result, lost trust in their colleagues' business acumen and shied away from lending them more money to speculate with.
Now, since this reaction was common to all the big bankers, lending ground to a halt and, because free-market capitalism relies on borrowed capital to fuel both the markets and any industrial expansion going on, the whole system damn nearly collapsed.
One of free-market capitalism's biggest weaknesses is its total anarchy and lack of any central planning. It's a free-for-all in which the devil takes the hindmost. So far, so good. But what is Mr Cameron's answer? Why, to defend the market system even though it virtually self-immolated and to demand that it should be left alone to grow and extend, despite its evident self-destructiveness. A bigger private sector, less government intervention and let the market sort out its own ills is his prescription.

The fact that this would result in hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers struggling to make ends meet while capitalism butchers itself in a frenzied blast of financial and industrial blood-letting seems not to impinge on his consciousness or, if it does, it clearly doesn't matter to him. So the friendly, socially conscious face of that nice Mr Cameron suddenly shows itself as a mask and under the mask is revealed the snarling face of unbridled Friedmanite Thatcherism in all its bloody glory.

All of this Tory rubbish wouldn't matter if Labour was what Labour should be. But it ain't.
If all was as it should be, Mr Brown would be laying out plans for huge government investments in industry, paid for by raising taxes on the rich and carrying with the investment the purchase of great tranches of shares in the companies concerned, thus bringing into the equation some element at least of state control and sensible planning.

The car industry, with its tens of thousands of jobs, could be preserved, rail expansion could be secured, homebuilding could be revitalised and the mess that is the free market could be hamstrung in its insane rush to speculate on anything and everything. Instead, Mr Brown offers us what? Just the Tory scheme to guarantee bank lending for businesses and a determination to press ahead with part-privatisation of the Royal Mail and other institutions.

Oh, and you can borrow off the government to pay your mortgage for a bit when your job vanishes, providing, of course, that you can pay it back later.
Some choice.


Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Fuel Poverty - Nationalise UK Gas & Electricity Companies

October 2008-10-21

Fuel Poverty - Nationalise UK Gas & Electricity Companies - Governments must change course

Post your comments about how you’re coping with the higher fuel bills / energy bills but importantly write letters to your MP’s calling on the idea of Nationalising the Gas & Electricity Companies within the UK in the best interest of all the people. To do this we must totally pull out of Europe because EU Rules prevent Nationalisation within Member States, because of the Banking crisis the rules have been suspended to allow the Nationalisation of our Banks, if they can do this then they must Nationalise UK Gas & Electricity on a permanent basis.

It seems criminal to me that people are being forced to go without heating & lighting as this UK Government cares more about helping bankers than ordinary folk. How come this government can find the money to help capitalist criminals but can’t find the money to Nationalise Gas & Electricity Companies who force ordinary people to live in fuel poverty – while paying massive bonuses/dividends to shareholders. “Tell Sid we must nationalise”

Peter Mandelson of New Labour along with the Tories talk only about helping businesses as the economy continues the downward spiral, but what about we’ the people & how we have to live in 2008 !!

As you’re reading this – think about the pensioner who becomes so weak & so cold they dare not move out of their chair! The year, 2008 marked 100th birthday of the state pension but after 100 years, 1 in 4 pensioners still live below the poverty line. Its worth pointing out that millions of workers will rely on the state pension when they retire. The state pension must be raised above the poverty line for all & the restoration of the link with earnings – the British Labour Government announced its intention to restore the link, eleven years on, it has still not done so.

Think of the mum who pulls her hair out in despair, had their benefits slashed (euphemistically called sanctioned) she tries to juggle feeding her kids or keeping them warm! Claimants are going to be suffering in poverty & prevented from claiming benefits that are rightfully theirs. 1 in 3 children live in families below the poverty line. As a result millions of children go without basic necessities such as adequate clothing, a healthy diet or a warm home. This winter looks dire, as folks find it near impossible to make ends meet.

Think of the single guy who falls into serious depression, walks the streets in hope of a finding a job trying to keep busy but governments & the wider media blames him for his unemployment – can’t afford to buy food only reduced items or going without, then finding he can’t cook it because he’s on a Token Meter for his gas & electricity. Thinks’ he be better of dead, tries everything & anything to escape the harsh world of living in a tenement flat.

This is Britain in 2008 & it’s going to get much worse but we are the forgotten victims. The price of bread, milk and eggs has shot up by nearly 25 per cent, while gas and electricity bills are now higher than ever before.

Looking at Scotland its clear to me that issues dominating Scotland's politics today is the Scottish Parliament's lack of powers: its inability to deal with crises of housing, unemployment, energy, transport & manufacturing, its continuing subordination to external neo-liberal policies, its lack of finance & constant pressure on public sector services, jobs & wages.

It’s an outrage that this Labour Government can manage to find – more than a total of Seven Hundred Billion Pounds to bail out City Spivs in the London Stock Markets. The Scottish capitalist within our banking sector have been bailed out by nationalising some of Scotland’s Banks. The money is there to Nationalise the Gas & Electricity Companies in the UK its immoral for these companies to be making billions of pounds in profits at the same time as our pensioners, single mums & the unemployed among others who are vulnerable in our society, suffer in the cold. At the same time folks have to juggle with higher bills some can’t afford to eat or use heating.

To tackle fuel poverty within Scotland alone, powers need to be transferred from Whitehall (UK Parliament) to the Scottish Parliament - those extra powers must be seized.” I urged you to write to both MP’s in London & MSP in Scotland’s Parliament calling for powers to act on issues like fuel poverty. Scotland’s Parliament needs the powers to act in the best interest of its people

Most people in Britain care little about personalities but care more about the vision of that government – this government has used deception to hold us down for to long. “Tell Sid we must nationalise”

On a separate Note the UK’s “Government Welfare Green Paper” means unprecedented attacks on welfare delivery & the welfare state as we know it – demand to know from your Member of Parliament / Member Scottish Parliament / Welsh & North Ireland - Assembly Member, where they stand on the subject.

“Lets us at last realise our true power & win the battle of ideas”.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Open Letter to TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber

In 1995 the Tories was preparing to bring us the Job Seekers Allowance, I was marching with the TUC March for Jobs in the Midlands which was part three of a three nations march for jobs converging onto Sheffield. We where calling for the right to work, & calling for the scrapping of the “Job Seekers Allowance Act”.

I met Brendan Barber on that March in Sheffield before he became General Secretary of the TUC, I welcome his recent comments on the front page of the (“Morning Star” October 15th) regarding the unemployment situation in Britain & how we are treated & blamed for unemployment. To the eternal shame of our TUC & our General Secretary – you have been far too silent on the issue in recent years. Just for the record – with regard to the government blaming the unemployed – it’s never been acceptable to harass or blame us – you should have been coming out with this strong condemnation years ago Mr Barber. The unemployed had the same treatment back in the 1930’s with less than supportive response of the Labour Party and the trade unions to the plight of the unemployed during the depression years. Now is the time for our TUC & you Brendan to become the Champion of the unemployed.

Prior to Job Seekers Allowance Act JSA the Employment Service / Job Centre described the unemployed as clients or claimants; the Act imposes the expression jobseeker. Part of the underlying purpose of both the Act and the change of nomenclature is to suggest that the State has no role in job creation and that it is the individual who is responsible for his or her unemployment. Governments see no role in job creation responsibility.

Governments must change course in job creation responsibility. Governments both Labour & Conservative to their eternal shame took the opinion – let’s leave it to the markets to create jobs. We saw the failed polices of “lets leave it to market forces” in the destruction of our Mining Industry. The economic chaos unfolding around the world proves if any is needed that governments are needed to govern. Shrugging your shoulders & having ultra light touch regulation on how business operate within the markets is a failed policy. Capitalist business operations have been about greed not need – this has got to stop, but it’s the unemployed who are the forgotten victims & who seem to be demonised, patronised & blamed for unemployment within the wider media.

The Government sees the individual responsible for his or her unemployment, but what choice do we have when the economic crisis dictates how long you keep your job for? Unemployment increased to 1.67 million between last April and June. This was the highest level in over 15 years. Unemployment increased to 1.79 million between June & August which is the biggest rise for 17 years. Within the next year the unemployment count will soar well over the two million mark towards three million as Britain enters recession / depression.
Living in Scotland its clear to me that issues dominating Scotland's politics today is the Scottish Parliament's lack of powers: its inability to deal with crises of housing, unemployment, energy, transport & manufacturing, its continuing subordination to external neo-liberal policies, its lack of finance & constant pressure on public sector services, jobs & wages.

It’s an outrage that this Labour Government can manage to find – Hundreds of Billions Pounds to bail out the Stock Markets. The Scottish capitalist within our banking sector have been bailed out by nationalising some of Scotland’s Banks.

It seems criminal to me that people are force to go without heating & electric as this Government cares more about helping bankers than ordinary folk. How come this government can find the money to help capitalist criminals but can’t find the money to Nationalise Gas & Electricity Companies who force ordinary people to live in fuel poverty. Scotland’s Parliament needs the powers to act in the best interest of its people

To tackle unemployment within Scotland alone, powers need to be transferred from Whitehall to the Scottish Parliament - those extra powers must be seized.”

Most people in Britain care little about personalities but care more about the vision of that government – this government has used deception to hold us down for to long, the “Government Welfare Green Paper” means unprecedented attacks on welfare delivery & the welfare state as we know it – demand to know from your Member of Parliament / Member Scottish Parliament / Welsh & North Ireland - Assembly Member, where they stand on the subject.
“Lets us at last realise our true power & win the battle of ideas”.

Unions call for end to war on unemployed

Tuesday 14 October 2008



UNIONS warned new Labour on Tuesday that ministers must stop blaming the jobless for unemployment as jobs continue to be slashed across Britain.
In recent months, the Brown administration has unveiled plans to attack some of the most vulnerable people in Britain, with Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell boasting that privateers will be handed multimillion-pound contracts to harass people back to work.
However, the TUC insisted that, as unemployment soars due to the economic crisis, government policy towards the jobless must now change.
As new unemployment figures are predicted to show at least a 30,000 increase in the dole queue, the TUC said that three immediate policy changes are now needed - increasing statutory minimum redundancy pay, greater tax relief on redundancy payments and a reverse in cuts to front-line staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who deal with the unemployed.
In the medium term, the TUC also believes that there needs to be a full review of government policies aimed at getting people back to work, scrapping current policies based on the assumption that unemployment is the fault of the jobless, such as "work-for-dole" plans.


TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said that this is a policy based on "blaming the victim," which will also threaten the jobs of people doing paid work which could be done by the unemployed in a "workfare" scheme. Mr Barber noted that Britain had got used to record levels of employment but that the world has changed and new policies for jobless times were now needed. "There can be no assumption that the people who are losing their jobs will find it easy to get new ones and they will need all the help they can get with redundancy pay, retraining and personal advice," he said. "Ministers must reverse DWP job cuts, increase minimum redundancy pay and let people take up to £50,000 redundancy pay tax free. The government must also drop work-for-dole plans that pander to the prejudice that unemployment is the fault of the unemployed, but do nothing to help people get jobs.
"As unemployment increases, more and more people will either lose their jobs or know someone who has," added the TUC leader.


"These 'blame-the-victim' attitudes will quickly change and so must government policy."
GMB general secretary Paul Kenny added that his union has been warning the government for years that the problem in the labour market is a lack of jobs.
"The facts speak for themselves and the government must listen," he said.


A CWU spokeswoman added: "Nobody wants to be unemployed. There can be a terrible stigma attached to being on the dole. "Employment remains a central concern in today's uncertain economic climate and we welcome the TUC positive suggestions on improving provisions for the unemployed."


Left MP Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the TUC report and insisted that the green paper should be withdrawn because it was "morally wrong." He insisted that "it is wrong to make people work for their benefits and it also undermines people already in work," he said. "It is also an attack on the living conditions of some of the most vulnerable people."

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

UK Labour Government Deception !


In 1995 I wrote an article within the pages of the “Morning Star” later to be published in a book “What Strategy for the Left” entitled “The Benefits of Labour” outlining why Britain would be better of with a Labour Government in the forthcoming General Election of 1997. My first article back in 1995 expressed our hopes – this article exposes the Governments deception. In 1995 the Tories was preparing to bring us the Job Seekers Allowance, I was marching with the TUC March for Jobs in the Midlands which was part three of a three nations march for jobs converging onto Sheffield. Marchers came from the Scotland/North England & London/South & Wales area calling for the right to work, & calling for the scrapping of the “Job Seekers Allowance Act”.

Living in Scotland its clear to me that issues dominating Scotland's politics today is the Scottish Parliament's lack of powers: its inability to deal with crises of housing, unemployment, energy, transport & manufacturing, its continuing subordination to external neo-liberal policies, its lack of finance & constant pressure on public sector services, jobs & wages. To tackle unemployment within Scotland alone, powers need to be transferred from Whitehall (UK Parliament) to the Scottish Parliament - those extra powers must be seized.

Ahead of the General Election of 1997 Labour shadow ministers did give clear indications that, if elected, they would tackle some of the worse parts of JSA. They gave assurances that, while it would be difficult to find parliamentary time to significantly change the Jobseekers Act it was most certainly their intention to make “speedy and far reaching reforms to eliminate the worse excesses” arising from it.

Even after the Labour victory of 1997 strong indications were given that a report tackling these issues was to be ready for July 98. This was then deferred until the “major review of the benefits system.” Unemployed people continued to suffer the indignities as have prevailed, and massively increased, since October 1996 when the JSA Act became Law.

Not scrapping the "Job Seekers Allowance" is Labours’ Betrayal!

Exposure must be given to the way the unemployed are now forced onto a "Lie Detector" just to make claims for benefits even "Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit". Edinburgh was the first Council in Scotland to use the technology in December 2007. All first-time claimants will be subjected to controversial "voice stress analysis" technology in telephone claims to see if they were lying at the outset. The way the unemployed are being treated is contemptuous; potentially Trade Union Members will be facing the dole queue as the economy fails. Make no mistake; the Unemployed will be made to suffer as the economy / capitalist system fails!
Confronted by growing unemployment, France, Germany and Italy amongst others have experienced periods of massive social unrest over the last decade and as a result some gains have been made. Lessons that cannot be ignored as the innocent find themselves blamed.

Unemployment increased to 1.67 million between last April and June. This was the highest level in over 15 years. Unemployment increased to 1.79 million between June & August the unemployment rate shot up to 5.7%, which is the biggest rise for 17 years.
Within the next year the unemployment count will soar well over the two million mark towards three million as Britain enters recession / depression. The wider Labour & Trade Union Movement as a whole must wake up to this reality & act.
A total of 147,000 people were made redundant between June & August – an increase of 28,000 on the previous quarter. Just 29.4 Million had jobs out of a UK population of nearly 70 million – down by 122,000 in the last quarter. That is the biggest three-monthly fall since 1993. More people in London are out of a job than anywhere else according to the latest government figures. The capital recorded 304,000 jobless residents, while the North West region saw a 6.6% rise to 221,000 in the number of those unemployed. Manufacturing jobs have been hard hit with 46,000 losing their jobs so that just 2.87 million labourers were counted. Workers aged 18-24 were also badly affected, with 559,000 recorded as jobless in the three months to May. The number of unemployed men rose by 111,000 to just over a million between June & August. For women, the figures increased by 52,000 to 732,000 in the same time period. The figures also revealed 440,000 people had been out of work for more than a year – an increase of 35,000. In the past year, 104,900 people began claiming JSA the figures have reached 939,900 – the highest in two years.

In 2009 the Labour Government plans to drive thousands of people off benefits into ultra low paid work & "work for dole" schemes in a desperate effort to keep unemployment levels low. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell unveiled his widely trailed package in 2008 to "make sure a life on benefits is not an option." The Labour Government wants to make life on the dole hell - well I've got news for New Labour life on the dole is already hell. Mr. Purnell said that one of the goals was to end the idea that there is a choice between claiming benefit and work. Unemployed Workers' have very little choice in becoming unemployed in the first place after being thrown onto the dole scrapheap. The Unemployed are not to blame.

This winter looks dire, as folks find it near impossible to make ends meet. The price of bread, milk and eggs has shot up by nearly 25 per cent, while gas and electricity bills are now higher than ever before. House repossessions have reached record levels. It’s an outrage that this Labour Government can manage to find – more than a total of Eight Hundred Billion Pounds to bail out City Spivs in the London Stock Markets. The Scottish capitalist within our banking sector have been bailed out by nationalising some part of Scotland’s Banks.
It’s criminal that people in my area are force to go without heating & electric as this Government cares more about helping bankers than ordinary folk. How come this government can find the money to help capitalist criminals but can’t find the money to Nationalise Gas & Electricity Companies who force ordinary people to live in fuel poverty. Scotland’s Parliament needs the powers to act in the best interest of its people.

Prior to JSA the Employment Service described the unemployed as clients; the Act imposes the expression jobseeker. Part of the underlying purpose of both the Act and the change of nomenclature is to suggest that the State has no role in job creation and that it is the individual who is responsible for his or her unemployment. Governments see no role in job creation responsibility. It cannot be denied that whatever method of counting is used there are more people seeking work than there are job opportunities.
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10th December 2008 marked the 60th anniversary of the Declaration.

In many respects the Jobseekers Act, the consequent Regulations of 1996 and their application by Jobcentre Plus is contrary to both the spirit and the words of the declaration so solemnly signed by the British Government in 1948 and never rescinded.

As proclaimed by the United Nations, I draw your attention to section 21 which states: • Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment • Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.• Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary by other means of social protection.

To stop benefit under the Act if a claimant does not accept a job offer, no matter how ludicrous, is a clear denial of free choice of employment and does not address the issue of any unfavourable conditions of work. Equality of pay for equal work is an alien concept to many of the employers to which unemployed workers are directed under the Job Seeker Regulations.
To describe JSA as a punitive system is well founded by trade unionists, claimants & welfare rights teams up and down Britain who, every day, see trade unionists & claimants who have had their benefits slashed (euphemistically called sanctioned), feel pressured into jobs for which they are totally unsuited, told they cannot have a holiday, sent for futile job interviews, thrust into jobs at rates of pay significantly less than the minimum wage. Thatcherite rhetoric continues to be used to attack the unemployed / jobseekers as Labour courts the right-wing press with pledges to crack down on so-called scroungers. Labour already uses a range of 21st-century technologies, including lie detectors, to identify people who are allegedly claiming money fraudulently. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also use Data-matching with private credit reference agencies to provide comparisons between financial information which people give to the DWP and their dealings with companies and banks.

People's lifestyles are being matched with their stated financial circumstances by finding out if they have applied for large loans or enjoy luxuries such as satellite television & ordering from home catalogues. Checks will be made with DVLA to identify what kind of car you drive. Checks will also be made with passport agencies to identify how often your passport is used – this made all the more easier as new passports carry a micro chip of data. The DWP estimates that total benefit fraud currently stands at £700 million per year - equivalent to less than 1 per cent of total benefit expenditure. This pales into insignificance compared to corporate tax avoidance, which, according to figures from the Tax Justice Network, deprives the Exchequer of between £25 billion and £85 billion a year.

In 1999 the Labour Government made a political promise – to end child poverty. Progress had been made; the previous escalation of child poverty had been halted. The Government is way of target to meet the 2010 target of halving child poverty. At the same time it’s not hard to understand why targets have stalled because harassing parents on JSA contributes to increases in child poverty. 1 in 3 children live in families below the poverty line. As a result millions of children go without basic necessities such as adequate clothing, a healthy diet or a warm home. Hundreds of claimants in my area are having their claims for benefits deterred or delayed; this is of particularly concerned if, the use of voice stress technology “Lie Detectors” have caused this. Claimants are going to be suffering in poverty & prevented from claiming benefits that are rightfully theirs.
Stopping JSA payment under harsh rules creates poverty for all within the family. Unemployed Workers can now be sanctioned for failing to satisfy the punitive conditions attached to the receipt of JSA and of course they now have no right to Hardship Payments. In effect unemployed workers can be left with no income whatsoever. We need a major shift in ideas within the Labour Party in favour of ordinary people, many debates have taken place within the pages of the Morning Star & Communist Review but it’s the unemployed who are the forgotten victims & who seem to be demonised, patronised & blamed for unemployment within the wider media.

As unemployment levels grew throughout the 1920s and 1930s many turned to the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) the organisation came under the influence and control of the British Communist Party (CPGB). The less than supportive response of the Labour Party and the trade unions to the plight of the unemployed during the depression years has been cited to explain the attraction of the Communist Party for many who found themselves out of work. The Communist Party of Britain must give leadership & the forthcoming Unemployed Advisory Committee will be that start – up & Down Britain Branches, Districts/ Nations must identify Party Members who will be prepared to attend the Advisory & contribute to the debate & coordinate a plan of action to be forwarded to the EC for the Party to act upon.

The last TUC Congress in the UK & those delegates attending gave the unemployed a “minimum voice” in debates. Massive work needs to be done in re-building the TUC Network of Unemployed Centres of which many have fallen into the trap of just becoming Welfare Rights Advice Centres. The Centres were born out of a TUC Special Conference in 1980 & the Peoples March for Jobs. At a time when the voice of the unemployed is needed to be heard those doors are being slammed shut in their face.

In 1996 the International Labour Organisation approved Convention 177 on Homework. This Convention sets out international standards for the just treatment of Homeworkers, & outlines practical steps governments should take to ensure Homeworkers are protected. In 1997 the British Labour Government announced its intention to ratify the Convention. Eleven years on, it has still not done so. The year, 2008 marked 100th birthday of the state pension but after 100 years, 1 in 4 pensioners still live below the poverty line. Its worth pointing out that millions of workers will rely on the state pension when they retire. The state pension must be raised above the poverty line for all & the restoration of the link with earnings – the British Labour Government announced its intention to restore the link, eleven years on, it has still not done so.

Most people in Britain care little about personalities but care more about the vision of that government – this government has used deception to hold us down for to long, the UK’s “Government Welfare Green Paper” means unprecedented attacks on welfare delivery & the welfare state as we know it – demand to know from your Member of Parliament / Member Scottish Parliament / Welsh & North Ireland - Assembly Member, where they stand on the subject.

“Lets us at last realise our true power & win the battle of ideas”.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Economic Chaos & UK Unemployed






Economic Chaos & UK Unemployed


With the economic chaos unfolding around the world & the impact on Scotland I want to highlight more of the injustices facing ordinary people living in our area & how all this affects us.
Living in Scotland in the UK its clear to me that issues dominating Scotland's politics today is the Scottish Parliament's lack of powers: its inability to deal with crises of housing, unemployment, energy, transport & manufacturing, its continuing subordination to external neo-liberal policies, its lack of finance & constant pressure on public sector services, jobs & wages.

The "outrageous" Orwellian powers to crack down on benefit claimants by the UK Labour Government continues at pace. UK Government Ministers & Jobcentre Plus / DWP are snooping on the lifestyles of Britain's poorest people. The plans show contempt for some of the most vulnerable people in society. "Ministers are treating all benefits claimants as if they are criminal suspects". Today, they are going for the poor. Tomorrow, they will want access to all credit-card bills. It is disproportionate to invade the privacy of millions to catch a few. The UK Government should be ashamed. To tackle unemployment within Scotland alone, powers need to be transferred from Whitehall (UK Parliament) to the Scottish Parliament - those extra powers must be seized.” Readers are urged to write to both MP’s in London & MSP in our Parliament calling for powers to act on issues like unemployment. The “Governments Welfare Green Paper” means unprecedented attacks on welfare delivery & the welfare state as we know it – demand to know from your MP / MSP where they stand on the subject.

Thatcherite rhetoric is being used to attack the unemployed / jobseekers as Labour continues to court the right-wing press with pledges to crack down on so-called scroungers. Labour already uses a range of 21st-century technologies, including lie detectors, to identify people who are allegedly claiming money fraudulently. All first-time claimants will be subjected to controversial "voice stress analysis" technology in telephone claims to see if they were lying at the outset. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also use Data-matching with private credit reference agencies to provide comparisons between financial information which people give to the DWP and their dealings with companies and banks. People's lifestyles will also be matched with their stated financial circumstances by finding out if they have applied for large loans or enjoy luxuries such as satellite television & ordering from home catalogues. Checks will be made with DVLA to identify what kind of car you drive. Checks will also be made with passport agencies to identify how often your passport is used – this made all the more easier as new passports carry a micro chip of data. The DWP estimates that total benefit fraud currently stands at £800 million per year - equivalent to less than 1 per cent of total benefit expenditure. This pales into insignificance compared to corporate tax avoidance, which, according to figures from the Tax Justice Network, deprives the Exchequer of between £25 billion and £85 billion a year.

It’s an outrage that this Labour Government can manage to find – more than a total of Eight Hundred Billion Pounds to bail out City Spivs in the London Stock Markets. The Scottish capitalist within our banking sector have been bailed out by nationalising some part of Scotland’s Banks.

It seems criminal to me that people in my area are force to go without heating & electric as this Government cares more about helping bankers than ordinary folk. How come this government can find the money to help capitalist criminals but can’t find the money to Nationalise Gas & Electricity Companies who force ordinary people to live in fuel poverty. Scotland’s Parliament needs the powers to act in the best interest of its people

This winter looks dire, as folks find it near impossible to make ends meet. The price of bread, milk and eggs has shot up by nearly 25 per cent, while gas and electricity bills are now higher than ever before. House repossessions have reached record levels. Hundreds of claimants in our area are having their claims for benefits deterred or delayed; this is of particularly concerned if, the use of voice stress technology “Lie Detectors” have caused this. Claimants are going to be suffering in poverty & prevented from claiming benefits that are rightfully theirs.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Unemployment within the UK

In 1995 I wrote an article within the pages of the “Morning Star” later to be published in a book “What Strategy for the Left” entitled “The Benefits of Labour” outlining why Britain would be better of with a Labour Government in the forthcoming General Election. My first article back in 1995 expressed our hopes – this article in 2008 exposes the Governments deception. In 1995 the Tories was preparing to bring us the Job Seekers Allowance, I was marching with the TUC March for Jobs in the Midlands which was part three of a three nations march for jobs converging onto Sheffield. Marchers came from the Scotland/North East England & London/ South area calling for the right to work.
Living in Scotland its clear to me that issues dominating Scotland's politics today is the Scottish Parliament's lack of powers: its inability to deal with crises of housing, unemployment, energy, transport & manufacturing, its continuing subordination to external neo-liberal plolicies, its lack of finance & constant presure on public sector services, jobs & wages.
"To tackle unemployment within Scotland alone, powers need to be transfered from Whitehall (UK Parliament) to the Scottish Parliament. "
The response from Trade Unions & Trades Union Congress (TUC) Regarding Unemployment within the UK.
The Governments Position : Ahead of the General Election of 1997 Labour shadow ministers did give clear indications that, if elected, they would tackle some of the worse parts of JSA. They gave assurances that, while it would be difficult to find parliamentary time to significantly change the Jobseekers Act it was most certainly their intention to make “speedy and far reaching reforms to eliminate the worse excesses” arising from it.

Even after the Labour victory of 1997 strong indications were given that a report tackling these issues was to be ready for July 98. This was then deferred until the “major review of the benefits system.” Unemployed people continued to suffer the indignities as have prevailed, and massively increased, since October 1996.

Failing to Scrap the "Job Seekers Allowance" Labours’ Betrayal !

To describe JSA as a punitive system is well founded by welfare rights teams up and down Britain who, every day, see claimants who have had their benefits slashed (euphemistically called sanctioned), feel pressured into jobs for which they are totally unsuited, told they cannot have a holiday, sent for futile job interviews, thrust into jobs at rates of pay significantly less than the minimum wage.

The number of people out of work in the UK rose by another 81,000 between May and July, to 1.72 million, according to government figures. That took the official unemployment rate up from 5.3% to 5.5%. The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance also rose, by 32,500 to 904,900 in August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. In a further sign of the economic slowdown, the number of people in work and the number of vacancies both fell.
"Today's figures show that unemployment is starting to accelerate and it now looks very likely that total unemployment will reach two million during 2009," said the TUC's general secretary Brendan Barber. "It is clear that deflation is a much more pressing threat than inflation, and interest rates should be cut," he added. Earlier on Wednesday, the TUC warned that the number of people out of work for a year or more could almost double by the end of 2009. Unemployment over past decadeThe rise in the headline rate of unemployment to 5.5% took it to its highest level since early 1999. "With unemployment rising, people are looking to the government for a response"


This New Labour Government with both the Prime Minister - Gordon Brown and the Chancellor have totally accepted that governments have no job creation responsibility.


The Question in many a mind in the UK is, are we seeing the End of the Governments Role in dealing with the long term Unemployed ?
In 1999 the Labour Government made a political promise – to end child poverty. Progress had been made; the previous escalation of child poverty had been halted. The Government is way of target to meet the 2010 target of halving child poverty. At the same time it’s not hard to understand why targets have stalled because harassing parents on JSA contributes to increases in child poverty. 1 in 3 children live in families below the poverty line. As a result millions of children go without basic necessities such as adequate clothing, a healthy diet or a warm home.

Stopping JSA payment under harsh rules creates poverty for all within the family. Unemployed Workers can now be sanctioned for failing to satisfy the punitive conditions attached to the receipt of JSA and of course they now have no right to Hardship Payments. In effect unemployed workers can be left with no income whatsoever.

All JSA claimants are required to ‘sign on’ at their nearest Job Centre of which hundreds have been closed down forcing claimants to travel far a field.

The Jobseekers Agreement sets out:
• The steps a claimant must take each week to show that s/he is actively seeking work; • It also states the hours which the claimant is prepared to work and where they are prepared to work; • The minimum wage which the claimant is prepared to accept.
During the first three months of their claim unemployed workers can refuse to accept jobs which are not in their usual trade or don’t pay a similar wage to that they have received. After three months claimants must broaden their job seeking and be prepared to accept others job within their capabilities whatever the wage. This is made clear to the claimant at a restart interview after “signing-on” for three months.Claimants then face a series of six monthly restart interviews where capability, availability and job seeking activity are checked. Claimants must continue to sign-on every two weeks and report any changes in personal circumstances. Job Seeking activity can also be scrutinised at fortnightly signing. If claimants do not conform to various rules, or refuse to sign the Agreement etc., then a system of sanctions will imposed.

Prior to the introduction of JSA unemployed workers could be penalised for not complying with the rules, for example a claimant adjudged to have left their employment voluntarily without good cause could lose their entitlement to unemployment benefit but automatically entitled to a reduced rate of Income Support if they had no other income. With the introduction of JSA a series of sanctions were also introduced. Unemployed Workers can now be sanctioned for failing to satisfy the punitive conditions attached to the receipt of JSA and of course they now have no right to Hardship Payments.

In effect unemployed workers can be left with no income whatsoever.

“We need a major shift in ideas within the Labour Party in favour of ordinary people, many debates have taken place within the pages of the Morning Star & the wider media but it’s the unemployed who are the forgotten victims & who seem to be demonized, patronized & blamed for unemployment within the wider media. “

TUC Congress & delegates gave the unemployed a minimum voice in debates. Massive work needs to be done in re-building the TUC Network of Unemployed of which many have fallen into the trap of just becoming Welfare Rights Advise Centres. The Centres were born out of a TUC Special Conference in 1980 & the Peoples March for Jobs. At a time when the voice of the unemployed is needed to be heard those doors are being slammed shut in there face.

This year marks the 100th birthday of the state pension but after 100 years, 1 in 4 pensioners still live below the poverty line. Its worth pointing out that millions of workers will rely on the state pension when they retire. We must demand that the state pension be raised above the poverty line for all & restore the link with earnings. Most people in Britain care little about personalities but care more about the vision of that government – this government has used deception to hold us down for to long, the “Governments Welfare Green Paper means unprecedented attacks on welfare delivery & the welfare state as we know it – lets us at last realise our true power & win the battle of ideas.”


Prior to JSA the Employment Service described the unemployed as clients; the Act imposes the expression jobseeker. Part of the underlying purpose of both the Act and the change of nomenclature is to suggest that the State has no role in job creation and that it is the individual who is responsible for his or her unemployment. Governments see no role in job creation responsibility. It cannot be denied that whatever method of counting is used there are more people seeking work than there are job opportunities.
The UK Economy is at a 60-year low, says Darling. And it will get worse !!Britain is facing "arguably the worst" economic downturn in 60 years which will be "more profound and long-lasting" than people had expected, Alistair Darling, the chancellor told us the British People.The Unemployed will be made to suffer as a result !!!


On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this coming 10th December will mark the 60th anniversary of the Declaration.

In many respects the Jobseekers Act, the consequent Regulations of 1996 and their application by Jobcentre Plus is contrary to both the spirit and the words of the declaration so solemnly signed by the British Government in 1948 and never rescinded.

As proclaimed by the United Nations, I draw your attention to section 21 which states: • Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment • Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.• Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary by other means of
Social protection.


To stop benefit under the Act if a claimant does not accept a job offer, no matter how ludicrous, is a clear denial of free choice of employment and does not address the issue of any unfavourable conditions of work. Equality of pay for equal work is an alien concept to many of the employers to which unemployed workers are directed under the Job Seeker Regulations.
To describe JSA as a punitive system is well founded & claimants who have had their benefits slashed (euphemistically called sanctioned), feel pressured into jobs for which they are totally unsuited, told they cannot have a holiday, sent for futile job interviews, thrust into jobs at rates of pay significantly less than the minimum wage.

What we have seen taking place within Britain over the last decade is a warning to other countries, take heed !


We need to expose the way the unemployed are now forced onto a "Lie Detector" just to make claims for benefits even "Housing Benefit/Council Tax Benefit". The way the unemployed are being treated is contemptuous; potentially Union Members will be facing the dole queue as the economy fails. Make no mistake; the Unemployed will be made to suffer as a result!
Confronted by growing unemployment, France, Germany and Italy amongst others have experienced periods of massive social unrest over the last decade and as a result some gains have been made. Lessons that cannot be ignored as the innocent find themselves blamed.
Unemployment increased to 1.67 million between April and June. This is the highest level in over 15 years. Within the next year the unemployment count will soar.


As unemployment levels grew throughout the 1920s and 1930s many turned to the National Unemployed Workers Movement (NUWM) the organisation came under the influence and control of the British Communist Party (CPGB). The less than supportive response of the Labour Party and the trade unions to the plight of the unemployed during the depression years has been cited to explain the attraction of the Communist Party for many who found themselves out of work.

Join the Campaign against the Job Seekers allowance on Facebook !!


In 2008 the British Labour Government plans to drive thousands of people off benefits into ultra low paid work & "work for dole" schemes. The Tories fell into line with Labour's plans to drive thousands off benefits and into work. Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling pledged opposition support if Labour backbenchers threatened to rebel over the proposals. Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell has unveiled his widely trailed package to "make sure a life on benefits is not an option." The Labour Government wants to make life on the dole hell - well I've got news for New Labour life on the dole is already hell.Mr Purnell said that one of the goals was to end the idea that there is a choice between claiming benefit and work. Unemployed Workers' have very little choice in becoming unemployed in the first place after being thrown onto the dole scrapheap. The Unemployed are not to blame!TUC general secretary Brendan Barber warned: "This is a mistake. There are already sufficient sanctions to deal with benefit claimants who cheat the system and all the evidence shows that the vast majority of the jobless want to work. "With many commentators expecting unemployment to rise, now is not the time to start blaming the victim."People who lose their jobs want help in getting new skills and new paying jobs, not make-work schemes that provide no pay, no prospects and not even any time to search for a new job."

“Everyone has the right to a decent job – lets’ start highlighting the way the unemployed are being treated, of which is utter contempt!”