Cleaners and security guards strike together, Wednesday 17th May

So why is it called a jobcentre?

scottish unemployed workers' network

The pretence that jobcentres are organised to find people work – and not just to discipline them – seemed to be wearing particularly thin last week as we listened to accounts of the hurdles the DWP puts in the way of any serious job search.

Jim has been doing voluntary work for a housing association for a couple of years; just the sort of thing the DWP usually pushes people to do to improve their job prospects. But recently he got a new ‘job coach’ and she was not happy. She claimed that the housing association was not a charity (she managed to overlook the statement at the bottom of its website) and Jim should have been paid for the work he had done. These non-existent payments would therefore be deducted from his benefit. Jim had to prove that he was indeed an unpaid volunteer. If he had not managed…

View original post 279 more words

In Defence of Our Land: Historical Similarities Between the Enclosure of Common Land from the Thirteenth to Nineteenth Centuries and the Privatisation of Public Land in the Twenty-First; or, Why the Class War Never Changes, Only its Historical Form

architectsforsocialhousing

These extracts are from John Wright’s recently published book, A Natural History of the Hedgerow (2016). I began reading it partly out of my love and hatred of hedgerows, about which I have written before on this blog in an article on Land Values, but also as an escape from the violence, injustice, political corruption and urban squalor of estate demolition. Little did I expect that, far more than a natural history of the hedgerow, Wright’s book also contains a social history of the struggles arising from the enclosure of common land in England and Wales between the Thirteenth and Nineteenth Centuries; and reading it I was struck by how similar the motivations and injustices of enclosure were to the conflicts arising today from the privatisation of land through the programme of estate demolition, not only in London but across the UK. Above all, I was struck by the…

View original post 3,228 more words

No wonder she was angry

scottish unemployed workers' network

Swear-Words

Jen emerged from the jobcentre shouting and accompanied by a security guard. At first she was too angry to engage with us at all, convinced that, as with everyone else she had encountered, our offers of help were hollow. But something persuaded her to turn around and come back. Over a cup of tea in the café opposite, she explained that she had been on JSA but had taken a job for two weeks in a Glasgow club.  When she signed on again she was put onto Universal Credit. She had asked for a Rapid Reclaim, but the DWP treated her like a new claimant and she was undergoing the long wait for her first payment. To make it worse, they initially failed to put through the claim at all and she had had to start again. It was now nine weeks since she had applied, and she was yet…

View original post 806 more words

Line of Sight: Rebel Roo film screening in Leeds, Thursday May 11th

Positive change in Southend

A few of us went along to the Southend Radical Fair that took place on Saturday May 6th at The Railway in Clifftown Road. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what to expect but when we turned up, we were greeted with the welcome sight of a busy, buzzing event with plenty of deep conversations and networking taking place. The stallholders were a fairly eclectic mix ranging from greens, community gardeners and vegans through to groups dealing with gender issues and some funky ‘zine makers.

Basically, the kind of groups who want to start making a difference in the here and now – in other words, starting to build a new world in the decaying, fractured shell of the one we currently endure. In all honesty, a bit of a contrast to the more class struggle focused, combative, stroppy attitude that we have here at the Stirrer! Which is…

View original post 259 more words

When you’re ‘fit for work’, but not fit for work: negotiating DWP logic

scottish unemployed workers' network

DWP hangman

With the DWP targeting the sick and disabled, we are constantly being approached by people who have been found ‘fit for work’ when they clearly are not. They have challenged the decision – always worth doing as the success rate is very high – but before they can put in a full appeal, they have to ask for it to be looked at again within the DWP (for a Mandatory Reconsideration), and while this is happening the only way they can get benefits is to sign up for Jobseeker’s Allowance. This means accepting the pretence that they are indeed ‘fit for work’ just long enough to get registered for the benefit; but once they are signed on they have the same rights to doctors notes as any other recipient of JSA. Most doctors are naturally concerned when their seriously ill patients are forced to look for work, and will readily…

View original post 679 more words