Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/680/12435
The Work Programme: is it only chasing people off benefits?
A job seeker, Coventry
I have been on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) for 12 months. I finished education last year and have found it near impossible to find a job.
The Work Programme is defined on the government website for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as "measures designed to help in the government's key aims of fighting poverty, supporting the most vulnerable and helping people break the cycle of benefit dependency."
I can tell you what it really means - those who are part of this programme are being pushed into working 30 hours a week to 'earn' their benefits or face losing them entirely.
The average job seeker claims around £200 a month. 30 hours a week on the minimum wage for an 18 year old (the earliest someone can sign on) would be £639.60 - so job seekers are expected to work for a third of what's supposed to be the legal minimum.
We have not in any way been told what these jobs will be or will include - just a vague "something that will help the community". We have no idea what the working conditions will be, what training will be provided or what skills it will give us.
The hours of this community work are entirely non-negotiable. I am taking part in courses and placements in Teaching Assistance. I would have to give this up in order to keep receiving benefits.
March for Jobs!
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Jarrow crusade when 200 unemployed men marched from Jarrow in South Tyneside to London. Youth Fight for Jobs is marching to demand decent jobs with decent wages for all. We want real training opportunities, not slave labour schemes. Join us to say that workers and young people won't pay for the bosses' crisis!
Merthyr march for jobs
Merthyr Tydfill to Cardiff 4-6 August
Jarrow march for jobs
Jarrow to London
5 October - 5 November
Get in touch to take part or help organise or raise money:
020 8558 7947
In The Socialist 20 July 2011:
News International scandal
Socialist Party news and analysis
Anti-cuts news and campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party review