London-based members of Unite Community, the recent Unite initiative to organise the unemployed, students and the retired; has called a demonstration against benefit sanctions.
The demonstration will take place on 12 September at the Department For Work and Pensions headquarters in Westminster, on the day that the next set of unemployment figures are released.
The leaflet for the demonstration explains:
“Earlier this month, Work and Pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith said that the fall of 46,000 from the unemployment figures to 2.56 million was “encouraging”. But a slight boost due to a large number of temporary Olympics jobs hides the fact that finding a job will not get easier in the coming months. At the same time this Government is promising more misery for those on the dole.
* there are now more than a record 8 million people working part-time, of which 1.4 million are seeking full-time work
* the numbers of people that have been out-of-work for more than a year has leapt up by 10%
* we now have a lost generation of young people locked out of education, training and work – still over 1 million 16-24s are unemployed
With 2.4 million more “economically inactive” added to the nearly 2.6 million on the dole there are nearly 5 million people chasing 472,000 jobs or an average of ten people competing for each job. Even though there are not enough jobs the unemployed are being punished:
* More and more the unemployed are being conscripted into workfare schemes; providing unpaid work
* Failure to attend an appointment for one of these schemes or refusing to take part will almost certainly result in a benefit sanction. The imposition of a sanction means the loss or reduction of benefits from 2 weeks up to 6 months. This is being increased to 3 years.
* Claimants are being sanctioned for being only 2 minutes late for interviews, incomplete job searches, or even not collecting clothing vouchers. Jobcentre workers have revealed that they are under pressure from managers to meet targets to sanction claimants – and been given tips on how they may trick claimants into losing benefits.
* Private welfare-to-work firms that profit from workfare have referred 110,000 unemployed for sanctions. The worst offenders are Working Links and A4e, both companies have been the centre of fraud allegations in the past year.
No wonder then that sanctions have trebled from 139,000 in 2009 to 508,000 in 2011.
JOBS NOT SANCTIONS
Wednesday 12th September – from 9.00am
Department of Work and Pensions
Caxton House, 6-12 Tothill Street, London SW1H 9NA – nearest stations Westminster & St James Park
Called by members of Unite Community in London
For leaflets email firstname.lastname@example.org