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02 March 2012 @ 06:38 pm
Workfare = Fail.  
I've been keeping an eye on the media furore regarding workfare for the past few weeks. It's something that may affect me sometime, being long-term unemployed and all. And wow - the stupidity of some of the things the politicians come out with baffles me!

1) The politicians saying that workfare helps someone get into work makes me suspicious. They've quoted a 50% success rate, which when you look further is actually the percentage of JSA claimants that stop claiming in the 6 months after finishing their work placement. The percentage of people who are off JSA in 6 months WITHOUT workfare is also 50%. AND coming off JSA doesn't mean someone has found fulfilling employment - they may have found a temp and/or part-time job (and the jobcentre have been known to insist that you take a job you're offered even if it's only 7 hours a week), they may be ill, they may have had a paperwork cock-up and lost their claim for a while, they may have chosen to face worse financial hardship than carry on with the humiliation of the JSA process, etc.
2) Potential employers are not exactly going to be impressed by a stint of workfare. If they have a choice of potential employees and one has a history of paid work, another has a history of voluntary work and another has a history of workfare, which would they choose? And it seems most of the workfare jobs are completely unskilled so you don't learn anything new.
3) The politicians suggesting that the unemployed are being "snobby" for not wanting to do the shit work offered in the placements is SO ABSURD. People are not objecting to doing the jobs, they're objecting to doing the jobs for no pay and with no choice in the matter! DUH.
4) The concept that workfare creates jobs is equally ridiculus. If a supermarket has 10 workfare employees, the workfare employees are doing work that would otherwise be being done by 10 employees, meaning the supermarket has 10 less jobs than it otherwise would. DUH.
5) There is no incentive for businesses involved in workfare to offer the workfare employees jobs after their stint. Why would a business do that when they could just get in another workfare employee to work for free?!?! And repeatedly we have heard testimonies to say that this is true - most people doing workfare haven't been offered interviews afterwards, and new workfare employees are drafted in.

The thing that bugs me the most about all of this is the issue that first gained it recognition (thanks to the brilliant Cait) - by people being told to do workfare or lose their benefits. Shockingly, the phrase "do ____ or lose your benefits" comes out a lot at jobcentres. And usually it's a lie, or half-truth. But people who are reliant on JSA are going to believe it - the rules around JSA are so complicated - and the terror of destitution is so strong that people will go ahead and do whatever they're told. And i find that sickening.
Stephinystephiny on March 4th, 2012 01:28 am (UTC)
I've just spent so much time ranting on my own lj that I don't have enough energy left to comment properly here.

This. Is awesome.

Seriously, why do you not write it as a proper article and see if anyone will publish it?