I arrived a little early for our demo on Thursday and as a result I thought that I would spend my extra time handing out our leaflets and giving advice if needed.
I got stopped by a very empowered lady. She is a claimant at Ashton Jobcentre and as a result of our standing outside the Jobcentre she has become empowered. She’s read her legal rights and she certainly uses them. She says when she’s inside the Jobcentre she hands leaflets out and doesn’t take any messing. She wanted me to tell the folk who read the blog to keep strong. She said that she would be joining us this Thursday. I can’t wait for her to join us.
It was a particularly cold day. I spoke to a woman who had not had any money since last August. They sanctioned her once and now keep adding sanction after sanction. We are trying to pursuade her to appeal, they had told her wrongfully that she couldn’t. Let’s hope that she follows our advice. But it’s hard when you are hungry and just can’t feel any hope at all.
As it was particularly cold I decided to stand at the front of the building out of the way of any doors, so not to cause an obstruction. I had found a little spot where it was a degree or two warmer. It was a blessing, my coat is very old now and it’s hard going out there.
Within 5 minutes of my standing there, a G4S security guard marched out demanding that I move. He couldn’t give me a reason why, but he had his usual grin on his face. Of course I didn’t move. I stood my ground very peacefully. No crime was committed and no harm was caused. After all I wasn’t causing an obstruction, I was polite and I’m sure the Job Centre is regarded as a public building. So there I stood, until I had to leave.
It’s becoming apparent that the DWP are showing as much compassion as previous years regarding the cold and allowing people to wait inside for their appointment. Claimants aren’t allowed to wait even if it’s for 10 minutes, and are sent outside in the freezing cold.
Now let’s get this right. Claimants do not want to enter a Jobcentre and they are hardly going to be abusing the “kindness” of the DWP by allowing them to stand inside whilst waiting for their appointment. So why are they being so petty? It’s all about control. Grind the claimants down as much as possible, so eventually they will do your bidding without question.
Regarding waiting inside the Jobcentre for your appointment. There is no official ruling stating that you can’t. They just like tell you that you can’t. So wait in the lobby of your local Jobcentre. Go and use one of their computers for 10 minutes or look at a few leaflets. It’s cold and you need to keep warm. Don’t let them bully you.