Disabled workers forced to take unfit jobs

Insecurity of zero-hours contracts and workplace cuts increase the ill-health of people with a disability, a new study shows

Sarah Dean is not the image of a disabled person in work the government wants you to see. The 26-year-old has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Unable to cope with the anxiety of going through the “fit for work” tests in order to apply for employment and support allowance, the disability out-of-work benefit, Dean is surviving on zero-hours contracts. ESA would have given her either a higher rate of benefit to live on (compared with jobseeker’s allowance) or support (albeit poor) to find a job more suitable to her health needs. But as a JSA recipient, Dean is not classed as “disabled”, as ESA claimants are, and so has to take pretty much any job going.

Dean has had four different contracts in as many years, working as a shop assistant at various tourist venues, on- call for a shift any, and every, day. What makes an insecure job difficult for workers generally can make it debilitating for someone with a disability or health condition, and Dean tells me both her ADHD and OCD have worsened, to the extent she now needs specialist ADHD therapy.

“It’s been constant pressure: pressure to take whatever hours I could, stress wondering if I could afford the bills,” she says. “No adjustments were made [for me] despite quoting the Disability [Discrimination] Act till I’m pink in the face.

“The ethos is, ‘humans are cheap. If they’re different, use them till they break, then replace,’” she adds. “It turns you into a complete wreck.”

Dean’s is one of close on 150 experiences of disabled workers catalogued in a study by the Public Interest Research Unit (PIRU) for the campaign group, Disabled People Against Cuts. The government rhetoric about disability over the past five years has effectively created two mythical figures: the lazy, work-shy disabled person, milking the state for benefits, and the hardworking disabled person, able to take any job with little or no support. But the PIRU research gives a voice to the hidden reality: from the strain on disabled people forced to take unsuitable work, to discrimination or abuse by colleagues and employers.

 “The attitude to disabled workers has hardened in the last few years,” says Claire Hudson, a public sector worker in her early 30s. Hudson has a neurological condition that means she struggles to pick up new skills without the right support but, regardless, has been expected by her employers to take on additional work after other departments had cuts. She has applied to reduce her hours but says her employer “is not making it easy”.

Taking time off because of her disability has been met with resentment. “When I returned to work in my current job I was treated quite badly by colleagues who felt I shouldn’t have any ‘special treatment’,” she says. “Months on, it’s not much better.”

This sense that “disabled scrounger” narratives are permeating the workplace was a common theme in PIRU’s research, with disabled workers reporting they were increasingly regarded as “a burden”, “alien”, “lazy”, or exaggerating their condition. One local authority worker, with a disability that affects his ability to walk, said his boss tried to make him move “to a building with stairs and no lift”.

It was a fear of being seen as “trouble” – and the insecurity of a zero-hours contract – that meant Dean originally didn’t disclose her ADHD or OCD to her last employer. Her fears were justified: when Dean did explain her disability to her boss and asked for stable hours “to help [her] cope”, her hours were reduced to nothing, in effect, forcing her to leave. “Now I’m about to sign on for the third time in a year,” she says.

As another respondent to the study put it: “I always try to hide my disability from prospective employers. If it became known, I never got the job.”

The minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, confidently claimed this month that the Conservatives have got “thousands more disabled people into work” but look a little closer, and the government is cutting Access to Work, the fund that helps make that possible. Work Programme figures show just 8.7% of new ESA claimants put on to the flagship back-to-work scheme in March last year had a “job outcome” a year later.


Read more here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/23/disabled-workers-forced-take-unfit-jobs

From Call Boys to Strippers & Grinders … Jobs Advertised at the Jobcentre!

The ramblings of a former DWP Civil Servant ...

Badger [5491]

Ball grinder [8125]

Bandyman [8111]

Batman [6231]

Beater’s assistant [8121]

Beater-up [8111]

Behinder [8117]

Belly roller [8114]

Blanket raiser [8113]

Body mounter [8132]

Boner [5431 5433]

Boring engineer [8123]

Bottom filler [5413]

Bottomer [8121 8125 5413]

Box hand [9134 9139 5421]

Bruiser [5213 also Bruiser (leather dressing)]

Bumper [8113 8122 8125]

Burster [8122]

Butt suspender [8114]

Call boy [6215]

Can dodger [8113]

Carpenter-diver [5315]

Chick sexer [9119]

Chopperman [8121]

Doper [8114, 8139]

Duffer [9139]

Flasher [5491]

Fluffer [8114]

Drifter [8122, 8123]

Eye puncher [8125]

False twister [8113]

Farmer’s wife [9111]

Fat boiler [8114]

Fish nobber [5433]

Hanger-on [8122, 9141]

Hemp cutter [8113]

Hooker [8113, 8117, 9139]

Humper [9139]

Pig dehairer [5431]

Pouncer [5419]

Puffer [8139]

Puller-off [9121, 9139]

Ring doffer [8113]

Ransacker [8133]

Ripper [8122]

Skull breaker [8117]

Slugger [8119, 8139]

Skiver [8114, 8129, 5413]

Smearer [5419]

Sniffer [8133

Sponger [5491]

Stripper and grinder [8129]

Swinger [8113]


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Number Of Jobs Gained On Work Programme Plummets: Are Benefit Sanctions To Blame?

the void

no-sanctions-plac The latest Work Programme statistics (PDF) show a shocking fall in the number of people gaining work and suggest that being sent on the scheme is now actively harming people’s chance of getting a job.

The figures show that even after spending a year on the Work Programme, only 10.7% of people had gained a job which lasted at least six months.  This is a fall of almost a quarter since last year’s high in April when 14% of people on the programme for a year had found a long term job – figures which were regarded as a disaster at the time.  The Work Programme has been in steady decline ever since, with the percentage of people finding work overall – including those who have completed the full two years of the scheme – at a new low of just under 19%.  This is down from 22.5% just six…

View original post 659 more words

DWP plans to ditch ridiculed jobs website

Universal Jobmatch set to be jettisoned after it was found to be carrying a series of fake, repeat or fraudulent jobs ads

The government has drawn up plans to scrap its official jobs website, Universal Jobmatch, after recognising it is too expensive and that its purpose is undermined by fake and repeat job entries, according to leaked internal communications from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

A cache of documents seen by the Guardian details how the government’s main website for job hunters – which tens of thousands of unemployed people have been required by the DWP to sign up to – is likely to be jettisoned when the contract for the service comes up for renewal in two years.

A year and a half after its launch, Universal Jobmatch has been ridiculed for hosting numerous fake jobs, including one for an MI6 “target elimination specialist” and “international couriers” for CosaNostra Holdings, as well as listings for pornographic websites.

More recently very serious problems have emerged. Separate investigations by Channel 4 News and the Labour MP Frank Field have uncovered hundreds of thousands of fake, repeat or, in a minority of cases, fraudulent job postings that enticed jobseekers to spend money needlessly – for example on fake criminal records checks – or were a means of harvesting personal information for identity fraud.

At the start of March, the DWP removed more than 120,000, or one-fifth, of all job adverts from over 180 employer accounts, because the ads did not abide by the site’s terms and conditions.

Field is now pressing the National Audit Office to investigate the site which he described as “bedevilled with fraud“.

The DWP said it regularly monitors Universal Jobmatch to remove jobs that do not meet its rules and that of 524,640 employer accounts only a tiny minority have proven to be in breach of them. The leaked information about Universal Jobmatch became public after the chair of the public accounts committee said last week that the DWP was on the verge of a “meltdown” over its relationship with private companies and welfare reform.

The leaked documents say that some of the website’s problems have partly stemmed from the decision by ministers that the site – which is run by the international online recruitment company Monster – be as “open” as possible to all types of employers. Recruitment agencies have taken advantage of this openness by uploading repeat adverts on the site.

The effect, the documents go on to say, has been that civil servants have been unable to determine how many genuine employment vacancies are listed on the site. According to one email, the data simply is not “robust” and rectifying the issue will be expensive.

Other internal communications suggest that civil servants have asked for more than one hundred changes to the service. However senior managers have decided to pass on only a handful of them to Monster because they have given up on improving the current site and expect to start afresh after April 2016.

read the rest of this article by Shiv Malik in the Guardian, 16th March 2014, here: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/16/dwp-jobs-website-universal-jobsmatch


Iain Duncan Smith Faces Probe Over ‘Bogus’ Jobs On Jobseekers Website

Iain Duncan Smith‘s Department of Work and Pensions could be investigated after it emerged that over a third of a million jobs it advertises for job hunters could be bogus or unlawful.

Labour MP Frank Field has asked the National Audit Office to launch a probe into the scale of job fraud on the DWP’s Universal Jobmatch site, which all jobseeker’s allowance claimants are forced to use to look for work and must apply for a minimum number of jobs each week.

The DWP admitted to Field that 179 employer accounts advertising 352,569 jobs may potentially be in breach of the website’s Terms and Conditions. Ministers were recently embarrassed by a a £10-per-hour prostitute job advert popping up in error on the Direct Gov website.

Teresa Pearce, Labour member of Parliament’s work and pensions committee, told HuffPostUK: “Jobs are posted on Universal Jobmatch by “employers” but a large number, specifically in sales, are commission only door-to-door catalogue sales – not proper jobs at all. Also, there are some “self-employed” jobs which are clearly bogus employment.

“The worst thing is that if a jobseeker failed to take one of these “jobs” they could have their benefit stopped. Universal Jobmatch is a deeply flawed tool which delivers for neither job seeker nor possible employer.”

Field said: “The heart of the government’s welfare reform programme is bedevilled with fraud and, in its current state, it is out of control. Anyone can place an advertisement on the site in the space of five minutes by ticking a few boxes.

“Ministers need to get a grip before more people fall victim to fraudsters preying on them with the helping hand of a major government department.”

The DWP was forced to investigate allegations earlier in February that a Coventry recruiter posted 11,000 fake jobs on the government website, which has itself won an award for being the “worst online recruitment site”.

Employment minister Esther McVey admitted in February that the department does not collect data on where the jobseekers who use Universal Jobmatch end up or how many complaints are lodged about the system.

She told MPs: “Universal Jobmatch is part of the Government’s plan for providing easy online access to Government services for all and is one of the services we use to help claimants back into work.

“We are unable to produce data for the number of claimants referred to Universal Jobmatch, who have entered employment. However, we know that the majority of JSA claimants are now registered on Universal Jobmatch with an account and are applying for jobs using the service.”

A DWP spokesman said bogus adverts were common to all on-line job sites, adding: “The truth is that the vast majority of employers post genuine jobs, and we crack down on those who don’t play by the rules. We also regularly monitor the site and remove jobs that don’t meet our rules, such as duplicate advertisements or jobs for franchises.”

by Asa Bennett in the Huffington Post, 6th March 2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/03/05/iain-duncan-smith-jobmatch_n_4904627.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

The government’s Jobmatch website is carrying bogus vacancies from nine online recruitment agencies run by a Baptist deacon in Coventry, who makes money by encouraging visitors to post their CVs.

The government’s Jobmatch website is carrying bogus vacancies from nine online recruitment agencies run by a Baptist deacon in Coventry, who makes money by encouraging visitors to post their CVs.

More than 11,000 positions currently advertised on the government’s Universal Jobmatch website may be bogus, an investigation by Channel 4 News has found. The jobs, which range from sous chefs to dry cleaners, account for almost one in 50 of all those posted in Britain on the site and, in some areas, a third of all the jobs available on Jobmatch, may be fake.


Since March 2013 it has been mandatory for all jobseeker’s allowance claimants to register and use the Jobmatch website. Those who fail to do so can have their benefits cut entirely. But if some of the jobs on the site are not genuine, the claimants who have applied for them may have been wasting their time.


The Channel 4 News investigation found that nine apparently unconnected recruitment websites, advertising thousands of positions across the UK, are all controlled by one man in Coventry – Mark Coward, a businessman and Baptist deacon who has posted thousands of jobs.


Coward’s company


In recent months, Coward has received thousands of pounds for marketing job products at applicants. Jobseekers who answered any one of thousands of ads posted by Coward were encouraged to visit a legitimate recruitment business, CV-Library, using links that showed Coward had recommended them.


He then received £1 for every CV successfully submitted to CV library. Coward later told Channel 4 News that most of the original applications submitted to him for the jobs he posted were then simply deleted.


Last year Channel 4 News was contacted by Richard Evens, an out-of-work librarian who had concerns. At first, Mr Evens was delighted when a raft of library jobs suddenly appeared on the Universal Jobmatch website. Each position was offered in a different area of the country but the job descriptions were identical.


Three companies posted the ads: Thomas Reilly Associates, MF Training and Recruitment Solutions and Que Consultants. All are controlled by Coward, and his business network has many other identities. Jobs Junction, Career Nationwide, Recruitment 4 Office, Retail Jobs 4U, Career In Caring, and Find My New Job are all controlled by him.


Some of the websites associated with these businesses were registered anonymously but linked back to rental properties owned by Coward in Coventry.

read the rest of this Channel 4 article here: http://www.channel4.com/news/why-is-government-website-carrying-fake-jobs