Forced labour or work experience?

Wed, 13/02/2013 - 13:00
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By Northernscot-Forced unpaid labour for multi-nationals or work experience? How much are some companies saving in wages by using this scheme?

Yesterday’s ruling in the Appeal Court in London, concerning the governments back-to-work schemes with the using of free labour, has caused major upset to the London Government.

The ruling stood behind the fact that unpaid schemes were legally flawed. The Government who have already demonised many unemployed as lazy buggers and parasites on the back of hard working people, saw the use of free labour as work experience and a way towards helping the unemployed find work.

The problem for the scheme is that the person is forced to work for free and during that time has no ability to seek and apply for real work.

The companies involved can obtain a conveyor belt of free labour almost non-stop, thus possibly making large profits from free labour.
When the scheme was announced last year a number of large well-known companies pulled out after criticism that the scheme was not about work experience but of continuous free labour.
The ruling was based on a 24 year old who was unemployed.

Whilst looking for work she did voluntary work at her local museum fulfilling the requirement for work experience one would have thought.

She was however forced to go on the “sector-based work academy” scheme for two weeks to stack shelves and clean floors for free.

The company where she had to do this unpaid work is Poundland. The lady concerned, claimed that requiring her to work for nothing at a Poundland store breached laws on forced labour.

She said today “those two weeks were a complete waste of my time, as the experience did not help me get a job. I was not given any training and was left with no time to do my voluntary work or search for other jobs.

The only beneficiary was Poundland, a multimillion-pound company. I don’t think I am above working in shops like Poundland. I now work part-time in a supermarket.

It is just that I expect to get paid for working. I agree we need to get people back to work but the best way of doing that is by helping them not punishing them.”

It will be interesting if anyone out there in web-land can find out exactly how many hours of work Poundland has received from free labour and how much money they have saved by the use of this free labour?

In fact it would be of great interest to find out in total the number of hours all free labour people have had to do and the total of any savings from wages made from companies involved, if any.

The ruling in the Appeals court also supported a 40 year old unemployed HGV driver who was told that if he refused to do a 30 hour a week placement for six months with no wage, that his Job Seekers Allowance would be stopped.

A spokesman for The Angel of Poverty Ian Duncan- Smith’s DWP said, “We have no intention of giving back money to anyone who has had their benefits removed because they refuse to take getting into work seriously. We are currently considering a range of options to ensure this does not happen.”

Work seriously? Is the government taking the Albert out of the unemployed, work for free or you’re not serious about work!
So in other words slave labour will continue under the Tory/LibDem dictatorship.

What is seriously wrong with the government’s idea of work experience is that it should give people a meaningful and beneficial experience in a job which actually gives them skills, thus the opportunity to find work.

Sending people into cheapo shops to stack shelves and clean floors as part of the placement does not give anyone a meaningful experience and a springboard to employment.
Yet again, we have a heartless Tory/LibDem government that treat the unemployed with contempt.

Most people who face the spectre of unemployment desperately want to find work, they are not layabouts. Finding work and helping people to find work is good.

But for a scheme that just sends some folk to clean floors is nothing but a government sponsored system to supply endless free labour.

This is the same system that has been used in America and has been widely criticised by many.
Work placements should be about teaching people skills that allow them the time to also physically seek and apply for work, not lock them into Victorian workhouse practices of free slave labour.

Sure enough the rich Tories will push through quick changes to allow their slave labour scheme to continue and with the threats to stop peoples JSA if they say no to long placements of free labour.

We don’t think that anyone who cannot get a job would not want to learn skills and have some work experience to help them get a job. This scheme needs revisiting by the government and revised.

People must be paid for what they do, not used as a cheap commodity; companies should also only take part if they can offer real skills for the participant.

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