‘SH’ on his experience of how Jobcentres are forcing claimants in to accepting zero hour contracts.
As my wait had exceeded the usual 15 minutes, which normally consists of a cursory glance towards my painstaking 26 step job search and a “sign here please”, I knew it was my turn to see ‘The Enforcer’.
Every now and then I’ve noticed I would be signed by a member of staff whom I didn’t recognise, and subsequently realised this was a roughing up process to make clear that I was only one wrong step away from a three month benefits sanction.
On this particular occasion, I presented my job search as usual, and welcomed any questions. However, it was immediately clear that this member of staff had taken zero effort to look in to me or my circumstances and thus proceeded to quiz me on the credibility of newspapers and websites which I use to find job vacancies. I have experienced this before however, so answered the questions politely and in full. The next step however, left me aghast. I was initially given a thorough dressing down on how I couldn’t hope to work in the public sector and “preach about benefits” when I had been claiming JSA for 3 years (I have been claiming JSA since graduating little over ONE year ago) and had “no life experience” so I should strongly consider looking at zero hour contract work as a way to gather it.
Now, I am, and always have been under the impression that the role of DWP Job Centres is to get those of us unfortunate to be seeking work back in to suitable and sustainable positions. Zero hour contracts offer no security to the employee and can surely, given their nature, not be seen as a sustainable form of employment.
I was left shell shocked that I was being actively encouraged to pursue such an insecure form of employment and on doing a little research, I found it may be worrying common practise in job centres across the country.
The impact of the sanctions vary: in the most extreme cases a person can lose their benefits for three years. As Jobcentre front line staff are being pressured to sanction more and more people we reveal some of the most insane reasons given to people that has resulted in them having their benefits stopped here. We look at the most ridiculous reasons for sanctioning benefits yet.
- “ARMY VETERAN STEPHEN TAYLOR, 60, WHOSE JOBSEEKER’S ALLOWANCE (JSA) WAS STOPPED AFTER HE SOLD POPPIES IN MEMORY OF FALLEN SOLDIERS”.
Details link: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/war-hero-stephen-taylors-benefits-2895202
- “A MAN HAD TO MISS HIS REGULAR APPOINTMENT AT THE JOB CENTRE TO ATTEND HIS FATHER’S FUNERAL. HE WAS SANCTIONED EVEN THOUGH HE TOLD DWP STAFF IN ADVANCE”.
Details Link: http://politicalscrapbook.net/2014/02/jobseeker-had-benefits-cut-for-attending-his-fathers-funeral/
- “CERI PADLEY, 26, HAD HER BENEFITS SANCTIONED AFTER SHE MISSED AN APPOINTMENT AT THE JOBCENTRE – BECAUSE SHE WAS AT A JOB INTERVIEW”.
Details Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2347281/Unemployed-graduate-benefits-stopped-missing-job-centre-appointment-INTERVIEW.html
- “A MAN GOT SANCTIONED FOR MISSING HIS SLOT TO SIGN ON – AS HE WAS ATTENDING A WORK PROGRAMME INTERVIEW. HE WAS THEN SANCTIONED AS HE COULD NOT AFFORD TO TRAVEL FOR HIS JOB SEARCH”.
Details Link: https://twitter.com/RTCAB/status/278572512114249728
- “MOTHER-OF-THREE ANGIE GODWIN, 27, SAID HER BENEFITS WERE SANCTIONED AFTER SHE APPLIED FOR A ROLE JOB CENTRE STAFF SAID WAS BEYOND HER”.
Detail Link: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/unemployed-mums-despair-after-jobseeker-5912618
For a detail view on the most senseless sanctions decisions made please visit the following link: http://i100.independent.co.uk/article/the-11-most-senseless-benefit-sanction-decisions-known-to-man–x1dmkd2_Me
Unite Community have been involved in the campaign against sanctions that is pushing thousands of people into poverty, debt and reliance on food banks. We also think it is no coincidence that as we see these savage attacks on our Welfare state we also see the rise in casual work and zero hours contracts in short workers are being forced into precarious jobs creating a cycle of unsecured work, low pay and a reliance on charitable donations is this what Mr Cameron meant by our Big Society?………………!
Check out the website of former DWP staff helping helpless and poor societies against the austerity http://jobseekersanctionadvice.com/
Check out the Barnsley Unite Community Blog Here http://barnsleycsc.com/
And the Unite / PCS Sanctions advice here http://www.unitetheunion.org/uploaded/documents/CommunitySanctionsGuide11-18024.pdf