Socialist Worker

Push people off benefits and get an Easter egg

Issue No. 2346

Job centre workers are facing disciplinary measures if they don’t sanction enough benefits claimants.

Sanctions mean those out of work can lose Jobseeker’s Allowance for four weeks and housing benefit for two for an “insufficient job search”.

“The official line is that there are no targets for sanctions,” said Jack, a job centre worker in Birmingham.

“But managers try to find ways around that.

“We found out that some managers were offering incentives, in the form of Easter eggs, for the highest number of claimants sanctioned for refusing employment.

“That means people losing their benefits for three months.

“No one is going to work harder for an Easter egg. But it shows the culture that’s in place.”

One job centre worker in Scotland said he was put on a performance improvement plan for failing to sanction enough claimants.

In January a job centre manager in Buckinghamshire was recorded as saying,

“We are still falling short of the DMA [sanctioning] activity expected for [this area], therefore minimum expected actions are now set for each personal adviser.

“Each PA is expected to take two stricter benefit regime actions [referrals] per week.

“Performance improvement plans would have to be considered for non-compliance.”

Jack added, “There are targets to put people on the mandatory work programme, even if they’re close to getting work or have an interview.”

PCS union members across the civil service struck on Wednesday of last week.

Jack said the action “helped to create a determined mood”.

Now PCS members across the civil service are working to rule and observing an overtime ban.

They plan to hold a half-day strike on 5 April starting at 12 noon.


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Thu 28 Mar 2013, 13:04 GMT
Issue No. 2346
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