I wrote this on my Facebook page and people were shocked. I don’t think the enormity of it all actually hits you unless you either are or have been in a similar situation or you spend a lot of time outside a Jobcentre like we do. Its easy to forget I suppose, if you aren’t reminded about it all that time like I and my comrades are. The news obviously doesn’t cover this issue, unless it is spoken about in parliament. Even then its only a few lines in the paper. The only newspaper that will freely write about it is The Morning Star. The paper that I’m lucky enough to get my articles in. If you don’t buy it try it. Its a refreshing change to read the real news.
It was freezing today outside the Jobcentre. It was already cold but the wind chill was bad today. The Jobcentre is situated on a corner and we are lucky to have a bit of shelter.
Whilst I was stood discussing recent events in Parliament with a comrade a man asked us what we were doing. I replied that we were there to provide advice and support for those who are at risk from being sanctioned or have been sanctioned. He then became quite agitated. He said “That place, don’t talk to me about that place. Its terrible. My brother went into there, they decided to sanction him. He went home and committed suicide. They are murderers. The government are evil. How long is this going to continue for?” It was very clear to see that he was very angry and upset. He wasn’t hanging around either. He rushed off without giving his name and I don’t blame him.
Nothings changed within the Jobcentres. You are proven guilty without being given the chance to have a say. Sanctions are supposed to be referred to a decision maker and you are supposed to have a chance to appeal against their decision. This isn’t the case though. Sanctions are rushed through, with the correct procedure ignored. Claimants often go to the bank or post office to collect their pittance and are told there is nothing in their account. Its shocking but this happens all the time.
The work programme also refer people for sanctions. I would guess that they are on the same par as the Jobcentre for referring people for sanctions. When I questioned Standguide one of our local Work programme centres they said that they didn’t sanction people. Of course they don’t they just refer people for sanctions. They are often as bad as the Jobcentre. After all they are also paid by the DWP.
Also responsible for referring people for sanctioning are the workfare providers. Although there is talk about workfare stopping they aren’t. They are just changing the name for it. Rebrand it and they wait to see how long it will be before the public catch on that it is the same thing. They must think that we are stupid. One charity that has locally got most of its staff working there on the workfare programme is Barnados. Almost all of their staff are workfare victims. Made to work at least 16 hours there a week, and according to my source they have to work very hard whilst they are there. This is another charity that I will be boycotting. The hypocrisy of this is astounding. They claim to help people but are at the same time exploiting them.
Update on my last post. A young man approached us today and spoke to us about his experience at Standguide. He was made to stay inside the building for 6 hours and wasn’t allowed to go out for his dinner or to have a break. He had to spend all that time in front of a computer. He was told not to be aspirational, he is very highly educated but he wasn’t to look for work he was qualified for. He was told to look for jobs like shelf stacking etc. That made me wonder if they have some kind of agreement with a supermarket chain. He also stated that the demanded to have access to his personal emails, he of course said no. He was also visited at home by the same man that visited myself. In the end he had enough. He walked into the Jobcentre and signed off. Now he’s struggling for money.
As you can see people feel like they are forced to sign off. of course the government love this. They will then say that these people have found work, which of course they haven’t.
Sorry for the long blog. I had a lot to say today.
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