Over the past few months the government’s work experience scheme has come under increasing scrutiny. The scheme is nothing more than one attempting to introduce slave-labour for the young unemployed, with young people working 30 hours a week, for eight weeks, and receiving no additional pay on top of their Job Seekers Allowance (JSA), which they are threatened with losing if they do not participate.
The case that has received the most media attention is that of Cait Reilly, a geology graduate who had been volunteering in a museum to try to get a job there, but was forced to work in Poundland. The scandal reverberating from this has prompted Sainsbury’s and Waterstones to pull out of the scheme.
According to the government’s propaganda this ‘experience’ will give young people the skills to make employers take them on. But there is no guaranteed job at the end of the ‘experience’. Tesco’s have already taken on 1,400 ‘volunteers’, but only 300 have received jobs and who’s to say that they wouldn’t have been taken on anyway!
Tesco’s have now started advertising jobs as JSA + EXPENSES in the job centre plus system, including one dated 9th February for night shift workers (usually premium rates) in East Anglia.
The truth is that this is a massive attack on pay, terms and conditions of retail workers. Instead replacing vacancies with real jobs, companies can bolster their profits by taking on conscripts for a month or two.
Whilst its welcome that USDAW has now heeded the call we made 3 months ago and have now come out in open opposition to the scheme, with General Secretary, John Hannett being quoted in the press as demanding ‘the rate for the job’.
USDAW putting pressure onto companies it has agreements with is a step forward, but it shouldn’t be left there. Activists and reps should link up with unemployed campaign groups such as Unemployed Centres and Youth Fight for Jobs to build a campaign linking those in and out of work to scrap the ‘work experience’ scheme and replace it with real jobs with union rates of pay and conditions.
SCC supports the Youth Fight for Jobs campaign as part of a national day of action against workfare have organised a protest on the Saturday March 3rd, 1:30 pm at TESCO’s, Royal Avenue Belfast.
The SCC are asking all who support the right for a real living wage and not exploitation to join the protest and get involved.
SCRAP THE WELFARE REFORM BILL
THURSDAY 9TH FEBRUARY @ 7.30PM
BALLYNAFEIGH COMMUNITY HOUSE, ORMEAU ROAD
MARIA MORGAN (NIPSA PRESIDENT, PERSONAL CAPACITY)
PAT LAWLOR (STOP THE CUTS CAMPAIGN CO-ORDINATOR)
The Stop the Cuts Campaign will host a public meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 9th January in Ballynafeigh Community House, Ormeau Road, Belfast, to bring together the local community to discuss the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill. The Bill aims to replace the majority of current benefits with one new benefit, Universal Credit,
Pat Lawlor, the Stop the Cuts Campaign Co-Ordinator, said:
“We’re told this Bill aims to create a simpler benefits system. In reality though it is an attack on the most vulnerable in society. The replacement of DLA will also serve to impoverish those most in need.”
“Through the removal of child tax credits and housing benefit, plus a new benefits cap, an estimated 12,000 families will lose their homes with many more thousands forced further into debt and poverty.”
“We hope to use this meeting to engage local people in a discussion on how communities and the trade union movement can resist this assault.”
The Stop the Cuts Campaign is a broad alliance of trade unions, political parties and community groups which aims to build united opposition to all cuts by Westminster and Stormont. It is supported by NIPSA, the Fire Brigades Union, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, Socialist Party & Workers’ Party.
For more info contact 90311778 / 07743346834
Thursday 9th February @ 7:30pm
Ballynafeigh Community House, Ormeau Rd
This meeting is open to all who want to build a campaign to fight the introduction of the Welfare Reform Bill by the N.I. Assembly Executive that will cut much needed welfare benefits from thousands of people plunging them into poverty.
Facilitated by the Stop the Cuts Campaign
For more info contact 90311778 / 07743346834
To the horror of local parents, ArtAbility on Belfast’s Shankill Rd, has been told that all funding has ceased leaving parents with no choice but to raise emergency donations in order to keep this vital service running.
This is just a taste of the massive cuts which have been passed by the Assembly. Please contact your councillors, MLA’s and MP’s in North and West Belfast to demand that funding is fully restored to ArtAbility.
More details to follow.