Workfare – It Still Doesn’t Add Up

Second post in the series.  The commissioning editor seems to have the opinion this might run and run…

After a stalwart occupation of a Tesco in Westminster yesterday, Chris Grayling, the bully who want to make it easier for you to die in the workplace and starve the poor and the infirm through slavery, has stepped up.

In a remarkable statement that sounds like Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, (“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”) Grayling has called the opposition to his Workfare “utterly and completely absurd“.  It seems that irrespective of the reality, Grayling thinks he is right and the entire British public opposing him is wrong.  Might I be so bold as to suggest you have a word with your co-minister Lynne Featherstone, who memorably said “We want to move away from the arrogant notion that Government knows best…”.  But I digress, another day, maybe.

I don’t appreciate being called absurd, even without the redundant adverbs.  So I sent him this.

Dear Sir,
 
You have been quoted as saying this

“Our work experience scheme is voluntary and thanks to companies like Tesco and many others has provided a route for literally thousands of young people to find their first job.
 
“The idea that providing work experience for unemployed young people is some kind of forced labour is utterly and completely absurd.”

The DWP have stated that allowances (you call them “benefits”) will be stopped after a week has passed on “placement”.  This is a clear element of compulsion, forcing individuals into non-contracted labour that subverts the national minimum wage.
 
The Volunteer England and TUC charter states that

“The involvement of volunteers should complement and supplement the work of paid staff, and should not be used to displace paid staff or undercut their pay and conditions of service.”

AND

“The added value of volunteers should be highlighted as part of commissioning or grant-making process but their involvement should not be used to reduce contract costs.”

These “volunteers” you speak of are clearly displacing workers from legitimate vacancies and/or reducing hours for existing staff thus undercutting pay and conditions of service.  At nil cost to Tesco and at a nil increase of cost to “the taxpayer”, this is a clear case of your department reducing contract costs.
 
Please therefore explain to me how you justify your “utterly and completely absurd” remark as it appears to be hollow words without substance in the face of the evidence provided above.
 
I will be publishing this exchange so I would expect a reply within one week or I will assume “no reply”.
 
Yours,
 
A concerned citizen

There is a complete arrogance and failure to acknowledge that the many without a vested interest are clearly more balanced on this than the few.  The Cabinet of course are not excessively wealthy individually and have never taken payment collectively from various giants of business around the country.  Like, say, Tesco.

Is Grayling just arrogant or dancing to the tune of private interest over public concern?  Let’s see what his reply says.  If, indeed, he deigns to reply at all.

“I’m ready for my close up Mr De Mille”

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