Found at: sian and crooked rib
‘Our Wobbly presence at RF Brookes did not go unnoticed. We stopped and engaged many claimants attending interview in conversation and informed them of their rights – that they shouldn’t be sanctioned for refusing to take a job vacancy thats arisen due to industrial action and also let them know to get in touch for support if that happened.
Workers came to chat with us as well as Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union organisers, we received support from visiting vehicles and a few other people stopped by and joined us in conversation during our stay.
RF Brookes were obviously not happy about the gathering outside their gates and after their miserable security guard grassed and revealed my identity (after he let me through their barrier and as I waited at reception) I was refused an interview.
Following their demands to explain what organisation I was from, what the picket was about and telling them in no uncertain terms that I was not happy about betraying workers involved in an industrial dispute, or about their union busting and scabbing which was met with ignorance… an attempt to pass the buck to the Job Centre was made. The DWP is to be informed that I presented for interview but that my views do not meet their requirements. The feeling is mutual!
I attended a meeting of the BFAWU this evening. They thank us for our picket and solidarity, we’ll be seeing them again soon 😉
❤ wobbly love!”
A fellow worker with quite severe adult ADHD and anxiety disorder was recently the victim of a ridiculous workplace assessment and found totally fit for work without any consideration for his condition.
The fellow worker is in possession of a letter of diagnosis dated October 2014 that his ADHD and anxiety are so bad that he is unfit for work.
The fellow worker is also a single parent.
After the assessment ‘fail’ his ESA was immediately stopped and he was informed to file a claim for JSA and search for a job. No support, no guidance, nothing.
The fellow worker asked me to accompany him to the job centre and I did so.
The initial appointment was basically a ‘get the claim filed’ exercise designed to last about 10 minutes. This was no problem.
The fellow worker was then told that his next appointment would be a 40 minute appointment that would delve further into an appropriate type of work and any implications regarding his single parenthood. The JC adviser then told the fellow worker his appointment would be at a time that was ridiculous and gave the fellow worker no time to pick his daughter up from school.
The fellow worker asked for another appointment more appropriate and was told ‘no’.
The fellow worker then asked me for assistance. Together we demanded an appropriate appointment and the second time around after some faffing around in a back area we were given the appointment we wanted.
Getting this wish gave us 7 days to formulate a strategy to try to avoid the fellow worker being put into a position where :-
1. His mental health would deteriorate
2. He would be unable to take and collect his daughter to and from school
3. He would be able to construct a meaningful appeal against the work assessment’s ridiculous findings.
The answer was a good old fashioned GP’s sick note that the fellow worker had obtained at a GP’s vist immediately after the 10 minute interview at the jobcentre.
The fellow worker and I attended the job centre for the 40 minute appointment and rather than let the JC adviser control the interview the fellow worker took immediate control and presented his sick note clearly stating that he was signed off from work for 3 months with an anxiety disorder.
This gave us everything we wanted. The job centre adviser was forced to concede that JSA can be paid for up to 13 weeks on production of a sick note without there being any pressure on the claimant to search for work or be on any kind of workfare program.
I am pleased to say that our fellow worker will now be paid for 3 months at the full adult jobseekers rate, is under no pressure to attend the job centre, search for work or be mandated to attend workfare.
The pressure is now off and the task ahead is for our fellow worker to put together an appeal and have his ESA re-instated.
The important point in all this is that there is a role for union reps with job centre claimants.
The fellow worker approached the union for help and together we were able to identify a strategy that would achieve what the fellow worker wanted and we left the job centre fully satisfied with the outcome.
Credit goes to the fellow worker who owned the problem and with union assistance worked out his own solution.
He did tell me that support from the IWW had been crucial in him obtaining the confidence to clearly dominate the proceedings at the job centre and get the result he wanted.
He was quite anxious that because his ESA had been stopped, without an income he and his daughter would have problems being able to feed themselves and pay their rent.
I am please to report that this fellow worker and his daughter are now safe for 3 months pending appeal thanks to his presence of mind and appropriate IWW support.
Several Activists from across Bournemouth staged a demonstration of support for Tony Cox of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network who was arrested on 29th January. Activists from Dorset GMB of the IWW, Dorset Peoples Assembly and unaligned activits were all present in a show of solidarity.
The following quote from SUWN
“Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker. We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.”
Leaflets were handed out to comrades signing on today informing them of how they can empower themselves to avoid workfare and what their rights are under the workfare scheme. Many people arriving at the job centre thanked us for our show of solidarity and appreciated that there are many comrades that understand their plight
Say No to slave labour and no to workfare
Dorset IWW GMB are supporting this action with a picket in our area, if you would like to be involved, please contact us!
Solidarity with unemployed activist arrested for representing a jobseeker – call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty. Take part in a day of action at job centres Britain-wide, 25 February 2015.
Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker. We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.
We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented. Tony will be in court in Forfar on 25th February facing charges of “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”. That same day we call on people to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show their solidarity with Tony and distribute information to claimants urging them to exercise their right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews.
As we face unprecedented sanctions and benefits cuts, it’s more important than ever that we support each other and stand up to the DWP bullies. The Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions and other groups have established a strong presence at the Jobcentres in Dundee and in nearby towns and cities like Arbroath, Perth and Blairgowrie, supporting claimants in opposing sanctions and harassment.
On 29 January Tony was accompanying a vulnerable woman claimant, who suffers from severe dyslexia and literacy problems. The claimant, D, had been signed up to the Universal Job Match (UJM), the computerised job search system, and was being forced to complete five job searches per day, the pressure of which had led to her having several panic attacks. Tony proposed that D’s UJM account be closed, and that her number of job searches be significantly reduced. The adviser refused to consider this, and so Tony and D met with the Jobcentre manager.
The manager likewise refused to even look at the issue, falsely claiming that all jobseekers had to be registered with UJM. She even suggested to D that she should arrange another meeting without Tony or any other witness or rep present. Despite the pressure D was being put under by the manager, she replied that she would not attend another meeting without Tony. At this point the manager demanded that Tony leave the building or the police would be called. Tony refused to leave, but the meeting ended when it was agreed that a further meeting be arranged to discuss the issue further. Tony was arrested after he left the Jobcentre.
The right of claimants to be accompanied to interviews, and for the accompanier to have the right to speak, has been established by groups like Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, who have forced the DWP locally and Britain-wide to apologise for calling the police on ECAP reps, and to affirm claimants’ right to representation. The DWP clearly state “Claimants accessing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and services can have someone to accompany them to act on their behalf…”
The attack on benefits and claimants is part of the austerity assault on the entire working class. We call on all unemployed and claimants groups, anti cuts and anti austerity groups, human rights groups, workplace activists, and all working class people, waged and unwaged, to show solidarity with Tony and the right of the unemployed and all claimants to organise collectively to fight back.
Visit your local Jobcentre on 25th February with banners and placards and distribute leaflets to claimants on Tony’s case and the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews.
- Send a message of support to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complain to Noel Shanahan, Director General Operations DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA
- Sign the petition
- There will be a picket of the Forfar court before the hearing at 10am on 25 February, by activists from Dundee, Tayside and area – for details contact email@example.com
- There will be a solidarity action in Central London at 3pm – for details firstname.lastname@example.org
Call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty – email@example.com
And don’t forget Disabled People Against Cut’s Day of Action the following week on 2 March!