Jobmatch: the latest news, and a few thoughts on where next.

Today, Iain Duncan Smith confirmed that Jobmatch is going to become compulsory in the New Year. Channel 4 News, the Independent and the Telegraph all have good critical articles on the story – the Telegraph’s coverage is particularly notable, as this generally Tory-leaning paper is really laying into the scheme. As well as confirming that the scheme is going to become compulsory, the Telegraph also notes that “The tracking element of the programme will not be compulsory as monitoring people’s behaviour online without their consent would not be allowed under EU law.”
So, there’s two things to take away from today’s news: one is that claimants won’t be able to refuse Jobmatch for much longer, but the other is that they can definitely refuse the monitoring aspect of the system. There doesn’t seem to be much hope for a strategy of total refusal to register, but if the Jobcentre doesn’t have the power to sanction people who don’t share their details then there’s a lot of potential here.
As I’ve said before, Jobmatch is an area where there’s unique potential for claimant organising, and today’s news doesn’t entirely change that. In general terms, a lot of political activity often consists of awareness-raising; this is fine as far as it goes, but awareness by itself, without the power to act on that knowledge, isn’t much use. And looking specifically at claimant organisations, a major problem that we face is our relative lack of disruptive power compared to people with jobs who can take action in their workplaces, and especially the strictness of the current sanctions regime*.
Both these things are different for Jobmatch. Because it’s dependent on individuals signing up and giving their consent to have their details monitored, the simple act of sharing information – “it’s not compulsory for you to do this” – can have a real impact. And because data protection law means we can’t be forced to share our details against our will, there’s more potential for unemployed people to resist this spying system than there is for them to resist other DWP schemes.
On an individual level, refusing to let the Jobcentre spy on your details could potentially save you from being sanctioned. On a collective level, mass refusal could turn the government’s £17 million spying system into a total failure. Could Jobmatch end up being one of the most disastrous government projects since the Poll Tax? I don’t know, but there’s only one way to find out.

Don't tick the box!

Don’t tick the box!

* footnote for people who care about anarchist theory: if you’re interested in these issues, Collective Action have just published a piece called “Give Up Classtivism” looking at the limitations of these forms of activism, and particularly the campaign against workfare. As a supporter of the workfare campaign, I think the issues they raise are interesting, and worth engaging with, but since their conclusion is that “our source of power is still ultimately proletarian subjectivity applied at the point of production and reproduction of capitalism”, it’s hard to say what this actually means for claimants. Since, by the very fact of being out of work, we’re excluded from the workplace, is there anything we can do that can’t just be dismissed as activism, or is the point just that we should get on our bike and look for work, so that we can become proper workers and start exercising proper disruptive power?

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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."
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15 Responses to Jobmatch: the latest news, and a few thoughts on where next.

  1. dzwasp says:

    the jobmatch system is pretty rubbish. Wondering if you log into it and have not given consent for dwp to access your account then you should be able to do your normal job search using other jobsites/agencys/systems and log what you have done on them to the activity log on UJ. From where I am looking you have not refused to use UJ and you are actively seeking work.
    Not sure if they could threaten you if that happens (they probably could by making some strange condition).
    Might speak to my union rep about this.

  2. george says:

    So are they now above the law, what about peoples rights to their own data how its stored and its safety,privacy laws etc.I can see a stream of legal cases comin at the government with this idea.

    • Yeah, I’m guessing they’re counting on most people being too beaten-down and intimidated to do anything about it, but it might only take a few high-profile cases for the whole thing to start falling apart.

    • george says:

      Thanks for the info, much appreciated,

      The more who don’t take this crap lying down the better.They’ve just stop my money over Xmas for no justifiable reason, i am going to make sure it costs them including all my bus rides and bank statements etc etc.

  3. george says:

    They have to be be bloody joking,

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/138705/response/336624/attach/html/3/Freedom%20of%20Information%20request%20Ico%20Universal%20Jobmatch.pdf.html
    Reply

    my personal adviser can just about spell my name and as for identification of skills gaps is totally bullshit.There is no training available apart from the dead head schemes on the workprogramme which wont help anyone with an already qualified skills base. What we need is real jobs, not til staff shelf stacking etc etc etc.

  4. bob says:

    There was one crafty way the advisor tried to get around my refusal to give access; he ask/told me to log in to my UJM account in the jobcentre pc’s. I told him i didnt have to do that as i dont log in to the site, i only use it as a search engine (like the old site). I keep a written record of my jobsearches i find on it. The advisor can’t issue a direction because i’ve registered.

  5. george says:

    Anyone know how they are going to overcome privacy laws etc, and get all to be effectively forced to use a website just because the arrogant government think this website is a great idea to solve unemployment.

    • dzwasp says:

      they might just use fear and threat of sanctions (even though they are not allowed to issue sanctions for UJ).
      I expect they will also try to sneak amendments into the privacy law.
      The same they have done with the health & safety law for employees (article 47 I think), which effectively makes employers not liable for any health & safety accidents on their premises.

  6. george says:

    Hopefully by then, many will be off this bag of crap programme.
    I had no idea about the health and safety with employers.etc,So no one has any legal right to a claim while at work.That seems totally mental but would be in line with this arrogant bunch of posh boys.They have enough legal and tribunal cases to keep them busy anyway.lol.

    • dzwasp says:

      seems to be :

      Amendment of section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, which has been added at the last minute to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

      Responsible department: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

      The amendment to Section 47 of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, has been added to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill at the eleventh hour.
      The amendment would mean:
      – Employers would no longer have a strict liability for the health and safety of their workers, for the first time since 1898.
      – Workers could not rely on an employer’s breach of health and safety law to win a personal injury claim, they would have to provide proof of negligence.
      – Enforcement of health and safety law would be increasingly left up to a significantly weakened and less effective Health and Safety Executive.
      – Employers will increasingly hide behind the defence that complying to health and safety regulations was not “reasonably practicable”.
      Please rescind this amendment and preserve workers’ rights to a safe workplace.

  7. george says:

    We all better get them claims in quick lol

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