This network includes SF's unemployed members, retirees, students, stay-home parents and unpaid workers (including those on workfare schemes). We can be contacted at solfedunwaged [AT] gmail.com - some of our leaflets are available in the column to the right.
Download the pdf here.
Job Centre workers in the PCS union are on strike today to defend their pensions, but this is our fight too. The government’s attacks on job centre workers go hand-in-hand with their attacks on claimants. On the one hand they lower the terms and conditions of job centre staff, on the other they force claimants onto privately-run workfare schemes like the Flexible New Deal, through for-profit companies like Maximus, Skills Training and Careers Development Group. Meanwhile they force ill and disabled people off the sick (ESA) and onto Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).
University leavers are increasingly taking low-skilled jobs, according to new research. A study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that 6 months after graduation around 40% of 2010’s graduates were “underemployed” in lower-skilled jobs, up from about 30% in 2006. The information casts further doubts over the controversial tripling of tuition fees, which provoked mass demonstrations across the country at the end of last year, as well as a spate of university occupations.
According to the headlines, UK unemployment fell 88,000 in the three months to April this year to 2.43 million, the biggest drop since the summer of 2000. This was heralded as proof that the government’s policies are working, and that the private sector is creating more jobs than the 143,000 public sector positions slashed during the same period. But dig a little deeper and the spin unravels.
The Office for National Statistics is open that the fall “was mainly due to an increase of 80,000 in the number of students not active in the labour market.” This seems to have been due to them simply being reclassified, rather than them all suddenly finding jobs. So that leaves just 8,000 jobs ‘created’.
A brief look at last year’s developments with regards to Intern pay, a story that the BBC News website is has just updated under its Education section.
Last year, the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) argued for a 'training wage' of £2.50 for those on internships of three months or more as a means to 'boost UK productivity'. Unpaid intern work is of inherently unequal access, because those people with good connections and from wealthier backgrounds are much more likely and capable of finding and staying on an unpaid internship.
SF members who are unwaged will group together under the Unwaged Workers Network. As we move towards forming this network, we first need to find out which members fall into this cateogry, and what are the primary issues we face.
We encourage all unwaged members to contribute to the discussion on our forum if you have online access. This includes unemployed, non-working students, retired, living on benefits, volunteeers and those on work experience placements.
First, we will look towards the production of material along the lines of the Know Your Rights series, and an eventual industrial bulletin. Members should also contribute to online articles that will appear on this section of the SF website.
Any industrial network is only as strong as its members are active, so get stuck in and help the network grow and gain influence!
You can get in touch with us via the contact form on this site.
Abolish workfare - the Solidarity Federation's guide to the government's unpaid work schemes
Workfare is a term used to describe a range of schemes in which people are forced to work without wages in order to receive their benefits. (pdf), (pdf)
Know your rights: failing a Work Capability Assessment
What to do if you 'fail' your work capability assessment
The Stuff Your New Deal Office doesn't want you to know
Download as a pdf here.
Claimants - today is a strike day (UWN J30 leaflet)
Download the pdf here.