Unemployed could face compulsory manual labour

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  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 12:33:02
    BBC link
    Guardian link

    Here's the meat of the story:
    Long-term benefit claimants could be forced to do manual labour under proposals to be outlined by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. He is due to outline plans for four-week placements doing jobs like gardening and litter clearing. He said the message would be: "Play ball or it's going to be difficult."

    Goodness! Very radical reform being proposed here. I think it's more than a bit degrading to the unemployed. It sounds like they'll be doing the sort of things criminals do as part of community service. Surely there's a better solution to get people back into work than this?
  • CosmicFuzz 7 Nov 2010 12:37:06 23,189 posts
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    Hmm. I agree dg, there's a difference between benefit scum who don't want a job and avoid looking for proper work, and those who have been hit by the recession and just can't find work. This would just lump them all together and punish them all without considering individual circumstances.

    Would it not be easier to have something like, "if you've not been working for X amount of time, then you do the manual labour stuff"? At least try to separate the two groups.

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  • Dougs 7 Nov 2010 12:38:37 66,665 posts
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    Utterly insane. Yet again, those most hard up will be hit the hardest. Those that can afford not to sign on, won't. Most don't have that luxury. And how the fuck are they supposed to look for work, during this 30 hour week they're meant to work every 4 weeks?

    Having worked in the job centre for 3 years, I can't see how this is going to help anyone get work. It's cheap labour, designed to alienate and degrade the unemployed.
  • Res 7 Nov 2010 12:39:32 1,814 posts
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    I thought exactly the same thing, but also in relation to those who enjoy and want to do those kind of jobs. If I had a job cleaning up the local environment (as either of those examples suggest) then why the hell would I want to keep it when people who see me doing it are just going to assume I'm too lazy to go out and find a job for myself, and have instead been dumped there as some kind of punishment?
  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 12:41:56
    Not that I'm comparing the Conservatives to fascists, but it reminds me of the jobs Mussolini created with his public works projects. In case anyone doesn't know, Mussolini created these public works as a way of lowering the unemployment levels in Italy.

    Amusingly, the schemes were often useless. A favourite of mine is when he built a motorway despite their being next to no cars to actually use it.

    Obviously building a motorway or clearing the marshes is harder work than picking up litter, but they're not a million miles from each other.
  • neilka 7 Nov 2010 12:42:00 15,655 posts
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    I think "long-term" is the part people are missing. I don't think anyone is saying that you should be out picking up Big Mac boxes the day after you're made redundant.
  • Dougs 7 Nov 2010 12:42:29 66,665 posts
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    That's a good point - what about those businesses that will be at threat and unable to get work, due to the armies of unemployed carrying out a service that they charge for, for free? Unless the govt will pay them to hire the unemployed (not read much else)
  • Ginger 7 Nov 2010 12:42:48 6,826 posts
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    Dougs wrote:
    Utterly insane. Yet again, those most hard up will be hit the hardest. Those that can afford not to sign on, won't. Most don't have that luxury. And how the fuck are they supposed to look for work, during this 30 hour week they're meant to work every 4 weeks?
    Well, how about they use the other three weeks?

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  • dsmx 7 Nov 2010 12:42:53 7,555 posts
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    Since we don't know the exact details yet we may be jumping the gun a bit on this proposal it may just be for the people that haven't been in work for x amount of years.

    However sometimes the job centres people go to are just useless and the people working there don't even bother trying to help people. My job centre certainly didn't help that much all it cared about was if you wrote 3 jobs on a bit of paper to say that you applied for them, they didn't even bother checking that you had actually applied for them.

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  • Dougs 7 Nov 2010 12:43:21 66,665 posts
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    neilka wrote:
    I think "long-term" is the part people are missing. I don't think anyone is saying that you should be out picking up Big Mac boxes the day after you're made redundant.

    long term is more than 6 months
  • mal 7 Nov 2010 12:52:46 22,336 posts
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    Dougs wrote:
    That's a good point - what about those businesses that will be at threat and unable to get work, due to the armies of unemployed carrying out a service that they charge for, for free?
    And those businesses are mainly staffed by recent immigrants. OMG, IDS is teh Racist!

    I seem to remember this idea was floated by the Conservative government last time. I think the idea was to make the claimants wear special uniforms to identify them as different from paid workers, as people doing community service are.

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  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 12:55:08
    mal wrote:
    I seem to remember this idea was floated by the Conservative government last time. I think the idea was to make the claimants wear special uniforms to identify them as different from paid workers, as people doing community service are.

    /Giga-Joey
  • Ged42 7 Nov 2010 12:57:19 7,700 posts
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    It would suck being a cleaner that lost his job because of the unemployed guys taking over and ended up back cleaning under the job centre.

    Though would the council run these things or would they give money to cleaning companies like Veolia to babysit the 'long term unemployed.'
  • heyyo 7 Nov 2010 13:02:06 14,374 posts
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    They should be forced into volunteer work instead, can do that 9-5 as well.
  • MetalDog 7 Nov 2010 13:02:13 23,708 posts
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    The time span I've read is 'a year'.

    So - that'll be a lot of university graduates in jumpsuits, then. How does the dole compare to minimum wage, by the way?

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  • heyyo 7 Nov 2010 13:05:01 14,374 posts
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    Jobseekers is 50 a week is it? Minimum wage is 5.93 x 40 = 237

    Am I missing something when people say they're better off on benefits than working?
  • lucky_jim 7 Nov 2010 13:05:51 5,255 posts
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    Utterly insane idea, but I predicted it months ago as it's entirely in keeping with this government's mission to reintroduce feudalism.
  • warlockuk 7 Nov 2010 13:06:43 19,133 posts
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    That's just JSA. There's other benefits too, like getting rent paid, council tax waived etc etc

    I'm a grumpy bastard.

  • MetalDog 7 Nov 2010 13:09:01 23,708 posts
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    They're cutting those other benefits too, warlock. The gap between rich and poor in this country is already shockingly wide - it's about to get a lot wider, I think.

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  • Ged42 7 Nov 2010 13:09:33 7,700 posts
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    heyyo! wrote:
    They should be forced into volunteer work instead, can do that 9-5 as well.

    They've had working in charity shops as part of the dole for years.

    I enjoyed it myself (it was nice to get out and miles better than 'back to work' courses), but you could see the dismay on some of the other job seekers faces at the idea of having to do voluntary work.


    @Metaldog - Dole is usually slightly better money wise because of council tax and rent being paid for you.
  • Dougs 7 Nov 2010 13:09:34 66,665 posts
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    JSA is 65 quid for over 25s. Quite why it's cheaper for under 25s to live, I have no idea
  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 13:12:24
    heyyo! wrote:
    Jobseekers is 50 a week is it? Minimum wage is 5.93 x 40 = 237

    Am I missing something when people say they're better off on benefits than working?

    It's 65 a week according to the BBC article I linked in the OP.

    Quite often in cases of people who choose to be unemployed, they're better off on benefits than they would be if they were in work. Surely they can't be blamed for not wanting to be less well off? We simply shouldn't have a situation where people can have more money on benefits than they would if they were in work. However, I don't believe the solution to that is to cut benefits. Instead, it should be to increase the minimum wage.

    There seems to be a misconception in the political parties (particularly the Conservatives) that people on benefits or minimum wage have it pretty comfortable. That is absolutely not the case, as has been demonstrated again and again. The most recent example that springs to mind is the programme on Channel 4 where MPs from all the parties tried to live life in a council flat on minimum wage/benefits for a week. They were all surprised that it's actually pretty damn hard to get by.
  • DFawkes 7 Nov 2010 13:12:44 22,593 posts
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    Dougs wrote:
    JSA is 65 quid for over 25s. Quite why it's cheaper for under 25s to live, I have no idea

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  • Mr-Brett 7 Nov 2010 13:18:51 12,723 posts
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    heyyo! wrote:
    Jobseekers is 50 a week is it? Minimum wage is 5.93 x 40 = 237

    Am I missing something when people say they're better off on benefits than working?

    I assume it's because it's multiple benefits, jobseekers, housing, child support, etc

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  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 13:24:21
    It also really depends on what they're doing - if it's actual manual labour then it's going to be productively exhausting. I do sympathise with the idea of getting people back into a routine, but really what is there for people to do?

    I'm sure that the councils would love the idea of getting free cheap labour to do the menial tasks they'd normally have to hire for, but that seems pretty counter productive.
  • Deleted user 7 November 2010 13:26:48
    It also sounds like a nice way to alienate those who do these tasks as their actual jobs. No doubt it'll feel great for people who do things like trimming hedges and cutting grass for the council to find out that the government considers their form of employment as a punishment for other people.
  • morriss 7 Nov 2010 13:34:09 70,911 posts
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    Dougs wrote:
    Utterly insane. Yet again, those most hard up will be hit the hardest. Those that can afford not to sign on, won't. Most don't have that luxury. And how the fuck are they supposed to look for work, during this 30 hour week they're meant to work every 4 weeks?

    Having worked in the job centre for 3 years, I can't see how this is going to help anyone get work. It's cheap labour, designed to alienate and degrade the unemployed.
    I couldn't really put it any better, tbh.
  • thelzdking 7 Nov 2010 13:35:04 4,316 posts
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    It's a proposal that has obviously been thought up by people who have never faced the prospect of ever doing a job which is even slightly menial, never mind actually being unemployed.
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