SCC WELCOMES NICVA’S REJECTION OF THE WELFARE REFORM BILL
The Stop the Cuts Campaign (SCC) welcomes the concern raised by the NICVA and Law Centre regarding the proposed Welfare Reform Bill.
NICVA’s Seamus McAleavey said “…we hope the prominent decision-makers fully comprehend the impact on some of the poorest people in our society who will be hit hardest”
The SCC state that not only do the Assembly need to comprehend the impact on society but it actively needs to reject this bill.
The Stormont committee chairman Alex Maskey, Sinn Féin stated that he, and indeed, all MLA’s were concerned about the impact the reform will have on local people; but quickly hide behind the issue of parity to distance himself from blame.
SCC spokesperson, Pat Lawlor, said “this bill is an attack on the genuinely ill, the unemployed and workers on low incomes. With a one year restriction on benefits, thousands will be driven into poverty as they are forced to try and find work that doesn’t exist.”
“Ironically on the week that celebrates International Women’s Day, it should be noted that this bill will adversely affect women the most. It will be women who will bear more than two-thirds of welfare cuts through tax credits and child benefit as the baby element of tax credits, currently worth up to £545 a year to low income households, is to be abolished.”
The SCC demand the Assembly Executive refuses to implement these changes to welfare. The SCC state now is the time to begin to build a mass campaign of opposition in every community to fight for decent benefits, education, training and work for all, without compulsion and for the creation of real jobs and investment and protection of our public services.
For more information contact:
Pat Lawlor 07810522111
David Adair 07743346834
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