Workfare and Jobmatch – the omnishambles continues

The government’s welfare reform plans are looking increasingly shaky. On the workfare front, Scope are pulling out of Mandatory Work Activity, making them the fourth charity to pull out of the workfare scheme in the last five weeks, after the British Heart Foundation, Age UK and Cancer Research. Boycott Workfare’s campaign against workfare providers has an impressive track record of forcing employers to abandon workfare, and there’s every reason to believe that this kind of sustained pressure will win more victories in future.
Meanwhile, the new Universal Jobmatch site is attracting increasing amounts of press criticism, with the Guardian and Daily Mail following up on Channel 4 News’s excellent expose, which in turn was inspired by Johnny Void’s consistently quality work on the subject. The basic problem with Jobmatch is that it’s designed to spy on claimants in order to find excuses to sanction people, but as well as this basic problem, there’s also the fact that it’s an incredibly badly-designed site, and could very easily be used for identity theft.
The bad publicity is definitely having an effect: for instance, when contacted by the Guardian, the DWP claimed that the scheme was still being piloted before a national rollout, which everyone who’s been inside a jobcentre in the last month or so knows is a lie. This definitely gives claimants who want to resist the scheme a bit more room to move, as it’s unlikely that the DWP will want to risk the potential backlash from sanctioning someone for refusing to sign up to a site that’s so notoriously unsafe. The PCS union are reporting that the scheme is definitely not mandatory. If the humiliating stories continue for a while longer, it’s entirely possible that the DWP will end up ditching Jobmatch entirely and replacing it with something else. But it’s important to keep an eye on what they’re doing: the central problem with Jobmatch is still that it was designed as a tool to cut people’s benefits, and it’s likely that any replacement will have similar features, even if bad press shames them into creating something that works a bit better.
Ultimately, no matter what happens with workfare and Jobmatch, claimants are still likely to carry on facing government attacks of one kind or another. In the long run, the only thing that can protect us is a movement of claimants willing to stick up for each other. Sympathetic news stories can help, but in the end there’s no substitute for the people most directly affected taking action together.

About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
This entry was posted in Internet, Protests, The media, Unemployment/claimants and welfare and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Workfare and Jobmatch – the omnishambles continues

  1. Ahhhdwp says:

    I just went to sign today, and they informed me that the job seekers agreements are being changed in january; making sign up and full participation on universal jobmatch, a condition of receiving benefits. I challenged them on data protection, but the girl was clueless and spouted off the ” party line “. Think i’ll need to seek legal advice about this….

  2. Pingback: Jobmatch, Blacklisting, Grand Jury Resistance: Mid-December round-up | Cautiously pessimistic

  3. Ahhhhhhdwp says:

    I told them that they are forcing me to surrender my data protection rights, and that i’d need legal advice before signing a new JASG. The girl said i’d need to speak with her manager in the new year… I said that’s fine, as i’d need his or her name if i take legal action. I i cluded my email as my name in the last post, could you possily change or remove? ( typing in a rush! )

  4. Ahhhhhhdwp says:

    I Wish i knew….. As far as i can see, the agreements are contracts, and both parties need to agree to the change. A threat of financial penalty seems like a contract being signed under duress, and puts them in line for legal action… Especially if they are forcing you to surrender legal protections under data protection laws too….. I’m going to see my local CAB, they usually have a volunteer solicitor who can advise.

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