Four people talk about sanctions and the pointlessness of jobcentres

We talked to person after person who was on JSA and signing on. And being sanctioned.

Earlier this week, I spent a morning outside the Kilburn jobcentre with the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group. The group regularly leaflets at the jobcentre, to let people know that there is help and support available for people who are struggling.

We talked to person after person who was on JSA and signing on. And being sanctioned. The first person we saw was a young man who came out of the jobcentre yelling that he’d just been sanctioned for 13 weeks. He was furious, as well he might be. Thirteen weeks is a hell of a long time to go without money.

He was too angry to talk about that with us in any detail, but we did speak to a lot of other people who had similar experiences. I recorded those discussions and have posted transcripts of those recordings below. I’ll be doing a lot more of this. People need to hear the sorts of things that people on JSA are saying. And I don’t think it will do jobcentres any harm to know that there are journalists out the front of their places asking people what things are like inside.

Because things don’t seem too good at all inside. Just about everyone we spoke with talked about sanctions and appointment mixups and confusing instructions and paperwork, and having to “walk on eggshells” in case anything happened that might lead to a sanction. This part really gets on my nerves. If you’re on JSA, you’re at the mercy of everyone. You’re on the receiving end of everything. People can treat you however they like. And all because you’re unemployed. It’s as though being unemployed has become a hanging offence.

Read the rest of this article by Kate Belgrav here: http://www.katebelgrave.com/2014/02/four-people-talk-about-sanctions-and-the-pointlessness-of-jobcentres/

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