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Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Tories and dubious “unemployment” cures

The Tories have come up with 2 proposed plans that make me give them some serious WTF-face.

One is a proposal to make unemployed benefit claimants do mandatory manual labour in council, charity or other work in 30 hour week placements or risk losing their £60 a week benefit.

And what is wrong with this? Well again it is proposed because the Tories believe benefit claimants are slacking. They are lazy and cheating the system and don’t want a job so they’re going to make it “difficult for them” until they co-operate. Again, the jobless are daemonised. After all, they couldn’t possibly be jobless because the country is in a severe recession, could they? Oh no, it must be laziness and leeching. Which is so standard Tories (and Lib Dems too it seems now – be careful if you’re relying on any Lib Dem pledges, Lynne Featherstone has just declared the NUS pledge invalid – bet the NUS students didn’t think so), trying it dismantle the safety nets and make the poor suffer while they stack up the money.

And a related scheme is to make prisoners work in prison – yes, nothing like a captive work force, right?

So, just to clarify, what we get are two sources of compelled labour that are paid minimum wage – or less (that unemployed placement works out at £2 an hour – less than half of minimum wage) regardless of actual market remuneration of the job. And, of course, it closes job positions that would be open to the general labour market (and therefore cutting unemployment).

So… instead of employing some of the unemployed on fair (HAH!) wages appropriate for the hours and level of the job supplemented by benefits to an actual living wage (because gods forbid we have a minimum wage you can actually live on) instead we “compulsory employ” populations at minimum or sub-minimum wage to fill the posts instead.

Well, that’s one way to reduce labour costs, isn’t it? Manpower costing you too much? Don’t worry, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition is here to ensure you can get dirt cheap compelled labour! Why employ an actual employee who you have to pay a living wage and who can leave or sue you for wrongful dismissal if you treat them like shit – noo, get yourself a prisoner or the compelled unemployed!

Next week, look for David Cameron opens new work houses, extra points if you see Clegg denying gruel to Oliver.