‘Welcome to hell’

scottish unemployed workers’ network

Jim was far from happy when we met him. Rules governing UC claimants who are in irregular employment were making his life a misery, and making him question the whole point of working. Jim, however, is no ‘skiver’, that largely mythical creature, so beloved of Tory ministers and their willing little mouthpieces in the main stream media. As he himself put it, ‘I hae to work, it’s noa jist the money, but it’s getting harder and harder.’ In the last few months his UC claim has been repeatedly shut down.

In the past, someone who got short-term work could make a rapid reclaim when it ended to get back onto JSA, and any way there was no long initial wait to get payments. Now, with the supposedly simplified system of UC, which was meant to make it easier to go in and out of work, your claim can get shut down if even a short term job takes you over the monthly threshold, and how long it takes to start up again is a lottery, depending on when in your assessment cycle your job ends. As we explained in a previous blog, you may be plunged into deep economic insecurity for as long as nine weeks before getting back on UC payments.

In the last year alone, Jim has had five separate jobs, and has had his UC claim shut down on two occasions. As a manual worker who is employed on zero hour and short term contracts, he is keenly aware of the difference between Tory rhetoric regarding life on UC and the sometimes brutal reality of working at the front line of ‘the gig economy’ that neo-liberal ‘voodoo economics’ have brought into being.

And, having worked for a wide range of employers, Jim is also well aware of the ‘tricks’ employers use to deceive and pressurise workers: of employers who take you on but then ‘punt you when their order is completed’; of managers at the Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline who take on new workers and then ‘beast them until they go faster, or get rid of them altogether’; of workers who receive verbal warnings (‘three strikes and you’re out’) for spending five minutes in the toilet rather than the two minutes they are allowed. As we talked, he turned to the buroo, and, pointing to its entrance, exclaimed, ‘There should be sign up ower that door, saying “Welcome to Hell”’.

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Supporting Comrade Tony Cox

Activists from Dorset IWW and Dorset Peoples Assembly as well as unaligned comrades outside Bournemouth Job Centre in support of Tony Cox Photograph courtesty of Haydn Wheeler

Activists from Dorset IWW and Dorset Peoples Assembly as well as unaligned comrades outside Bournemouth Job Centre in support of Tony Cox
Photograph courtesty of Haydn Wheeler

Photograph courtesy of Haydn Wheeler

Photograph courtesy of Haydn Wheeler

Members of Dorset General Members Branch of the IWW at Bournemouth Job Centre today

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