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David Guyatt
11-04-2014, 08:11 AM
Yep, in the UK these days, of you're unemployed and receiving benefits, you can be forced to work for a commercial company for free. It is, de facto, slave labour.



DWP orders man to work without pay for company that let him go

John McArthur is sanctioned by jobcentre after refusing ‘forced labour’ at firm where he was previously paid minimum wage



Shiv Malik (http://www.theguardian.com/profile/shiv-malik)
The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian), Monday 3 November 2014 17.27 GMT
Jump to comments (1718) (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/03/dwp-benefits-electrician-work-placement-labour#start-of-comments)

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/11/3/1415035607790/John-McArthur-makes-his-o-011.jpg
John McArthur makes his one-man protest outside LAMH in Motherwell after having his jobseeker’s allowance cut. Photograph: Alan Watson/HE Media/South West News

A man who was let go at the end of a temporary job has been ordered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to work for the same firm for six months without pay.
Electronics specialist John McArthur, now unemployed, says he is living off 16p tins of spaghetti and without heating after being sanctioned by a jobcentre for refusing to work unpaid for LAMH Recycle in Motherwell, a Scottish social enterprise.
He says he was happy to work for LAMH (http://www.lamhrecycle.co.uk/) under the now-defunct future jobs fund for the minimum wage in 2010-2011, but refuses on principle to do the same job unpaid.
McArthur, 59, says he is surviving on a monthly pension of £149 after the DWP stopped his unemployment benefit until January as punishment for his refusal to go on the 26-week community work placement (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-work-placements-dwp-provider-guidance) (CWP).
For almost three months, McArthur has spent two hours each weekday morning (http://www.motherwelltimes.co.uk/news/one-man-protest-over-slave-labour-scheme-1-3587213) parading outside the plant wearing a placard reading: “Say no to slave labour”.
“It was simply a case of: ‘Go here, work for nothing and if you don’t we’ll stop your subsistence level benefit,’” he said.
McArthur, who says he has been applying for 50 jobs a week without joy, said the CWP programme was “entirely exploitative” and came at the “expense of poor people who’ve got absolutely no choice”. He added: “They [the government] deny it’s forced labour, that you can say no, but forced doesn’t always mean physical, it can be psychological or economic.
“The person who is trying to survive already on subsistence level welfare has absolutely no choice in the matter … especially if they’ve got young children to look after.”
LAMH confirmed it has 16 people working for six months without pay under CWP but added that since the end of June, six had progressed into paid employment.
The social enterprise, which repairs computers and recycles tin and cardboard, says it helps dozens of people each year who are long-term unemployed, many of whom have health issues.
Joe Fulton, the operations and development manager, said he believed the scheme “worked for people who want to make it work for them”. He added that out of the organisation’s paid workforce of 39, 25 had previously been unemployed.
McArthur said there were no jobs for someone his age in the Lanarkshire area. He said support for his placard demonstration had been overwhelming and just one person had objected.
Following conversations with local councillors, North Lanarkshire council passed a motion in October strongly objecting to forced employment schemes saying it would not get involved itself. “This council will not provide jobs or placements without pay as a condition of receiving benefits unless it is truly voluntary,” the motion read.
“We do not support any mandation of unemployed people to work without pay that puts their benefits at risk.”
The motion added such measures were ineffective and could “further stigmatise and demotivate” the unemployed in their search for work.
Last Wednesday, the DWP continued to battle the information commissioner and hostile court judgments ordering it to reveal where possibly hundreds of thousands of people are being sent to work without pay, sometimes for months at a time.
At the tribunal, the DWP argued that if the public knew exactly where people were being sent on placements political protests would increase, which was likely to lead to the collapse of several employment schemes and undermine the government’s economic interests.
The DWP confirmed some of the UK’s biggest charities, including the British Heart Foundation, Scope, Banardo’s, Sue Ryder, and Marie Curie had withdrawn from the CWP scheme, causing a significant loss of placements.
Giving evidence, senior civil servant Jennifer Bradley confirmed that numerous charities and businesses were receiving cash payments as an incentive to take on the unemployed.
She said several DWP schemes used mandatory unpaid work as a tool to help people but stressed that it was written into the terms that charities and businesses could not use people out of work to replace their paid workforce.
The DWP said it could not comment on individual cases but added that community work placements “help long-term unemployed people to gain work experience which increases their confidence, helps them to gain vital skills and crucially, improves their chances of getting a job.
“We are not naming the charities and community groups involved in the scheme in order to protect them from those who seem intent on stopping us helping people into work.”

Martin White
11-04-2014, 09:26 AM
This is all part of the Great Tory Lie that the national Benefits bill is caused by "shirkers", when in fact the great majority of "welfare" spending in the UK is on pensions and people who are in work receiving benefits to supplement their low incomes. In reality, the State is subsidising the profits of big business, while CEO pay rockets.

This can only come from the brain of a man who, whilst Tory leader, claimed his haircuts and underpants on expenses, claimed a £38 breakfast on expenses, paid his wife thousands of pounds a year from public funds as his "Diary Secretary" while in fact she did nothing. Iain Duncan Smith is a despicable hypocrite, coward and a bully.

Magda Hassan
11-04-2014, 11:06 AM
This is all part of the Great Tory Lie that the national Benefits bill is caused by "shirkers", when in fact the great majority of "welfare" spending in the UK is on pensions and people who are in work receiving benefits to supplement their low incomes. In reality, the State is subsidising the profits of big business, while CEO pay rockets.

This can only come from the brain of a man who, whilst Tory leader, claimed his haircuts and underpants on expenses, claimed a £38 breakfast on expenses, paid his wife thousands of pounds a year from public funds as his "Diary Secretary" while in fact she did nothing. Iain Duncan Smith is a despicable hypocrite, coward and a bully.

Yes, yes, and yes Martin. And IDS is despicable vile little man. Just like the Tories.

Magda Hassan
11-04-2014, 11:10 AM
I would have thought under contract law that such 'agreements' would be invalid since there is force involved. But I am not a lawyer. ::dalek::

Tories look like they are implementing eugenics (social cleansing) under a new means.

Martin White
11-04-2014, 11:25 AM
Indeed. In fact, only yesterday on twitter I described Tories as people that would remove one of your kidneys, sell it for their personal profit and then convince you that you're better off with one anyway.

How Iain Duncan Smith was never prosecuted for fraud, I have no idea.

It's probably worth another thread to describe the twisted logic in this situation: a legal trade union holds a legal vote for strike action, and the Tories complain it's not valid because the turnout was only 40%.

Meanwhile, the Police and Crime Commissioners which had turnouts in the region of 14% (in other words, the "winner" only needed 7% of the total vote) are perfectly valid expressions of democracy. The turnout for the South Yorkshire PCC election (following the resignation of the incumbent after the Rotherham child abuse scandal) actually went down from 2012. IIRC the election last week was about 0.5% down on the poll in 2012.

In another parallel universe, the people of Manchester - who voted against having a directly elected Mayor - have been told by Osborne that they are getting one anyway, and somehow this is a "win" for Democracy.

Increasingly, the concept formally known as Democracy is becoming "whatever the ruling party tell you it is"

Martin White
11-04-2014, 11:29 AM
This is all part of the Great Tory Lie that the national Benefits bill is caused by "shirkers", when in fact the great majority of "welfare" spending in the UK is on pensions and people who are in work receiving benefits to supplement their low incomes. In reality, the State is subsidising the profits of big business, while CEO pay rockets.

This can only come from the brain of a man who, whilst Tory leader, claimed his haircuts and underpants on expenses, claimed a £38 breakfast on expenses, paid his wife thousands of pounds a year from public funds as his "Diary Secretary" while in fact she did nothing. Iain Duncan Smith is a despicable hypocrite, coward and a bully.

Yes, yes, and yes Martin. And IDS is despicable vile little man. Just like the Tories.

You also notice, that despite the incontrovertible truth of the breakdown of welfare payments, the Government keep up this "strivers v shirkers" rhetoric, aided by Channel 4 and Channel 5 doing programs like "Benefit Street" which portray benefit recipients as feckless scroungers. All lapped up by the mass media especially the Mail and the Express.

Chief Whip Sir George Young (convicted drink-driver) described the homeless as "those people you step over on the way out of the Opera".

Compassionate Conservatives. An oxymoron if ever there was one.

Magda Hassan
11-04-2014, 11:43 AM
It is organized. This world wide Tory war on the poor. The same thing is happening in New Zealand and Australia and in the US and Canada. I want to know who is writing the script. Because they are all reading from exactly the same one.

Martin White
11-04-2014, 11:53 AM
I saw the best line ever last week on Twitter.

"Hunger kills more people than Ebola, but that's not a problem since rich people can't die of it."

Magda Hassan
11-04-2014, 12:03 PM
It's probably worth another thread to describe the twisted logic in this situation: a legal trade union holds a legal vote for strike action, and the Tories complain it's not valid because the turnout was only 40%.

Meanwhile, the Police and Crime Commissioners which had turnouts in the region of 14% (in other words, the "winner" only needed 7% of the total vote) are perfectly valid expressions of democracy. The turnout for the South Yorkshire PCC election (following the resignation of the incumbent after the Rotherham child abuse scandal) actually went down from 2012. IIRC the election last week was about 0.5% down on the poll in 2012.


The other component to the war on the poor is the war on organized labour. The thing the Tories fear more than anything is organized labour and an informed and educated populace. There are the same attempts to remove worker's human rights and disenfranchise trade unions in all the Anglo countries.

Tracy Riddle
11-04-2014, 02:16 PM
All over the English-speaking world, the "conservatives" really yearn to go back to the 19th century when the "right" people were running things, and the "other people" were in their place and did what they were told.

David Guyatt
11-04-2014, 03:21 PM
It is organized. This world wide Tory war on the poor. The same thing is happening in New Zealand and Australia and in the US and Canada. I want to know who is writing the script. Because they are all reading from exactly the same one.

I would personally put that who down as the Bilderberg group who have been shaping the elite trans-atlantic agenda since 1954 and who recruited the trade unions, media and political parties of all complexions into their camp decades ago.