Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The new "work for the dole"

proposals are unworkable. I suspect the government knows that and will backtrack, downsize, downgrade, "listen to public concern" etc. It's a classic ploy. All governments do it.
At the same time I have no real issue with people doing some work for the dole. If you are not involved in job hunting for all the working week then something to do can, for many people, be a good thing. Not everyone can occupy themselves in a productive fashion.
My godfather phoned yesterday. He was hoping to come over and see us but the Senior Cat had gone to a meeting - at 92 he still attends such things. He still gets up in the morning with a list of things which need to be done. It's good.
My godfather is only 89 - but he also has a list of things to do each day. One of those things is watching out for a young man who has, to be blunt, made a total mess of his life. This young man has never been employed. Drugs and alcohol are part of his lifestyle, as is being up most of the night and then sleeping in until midday - or later.
People have tried all sorts of things. None of them have worked. All my godfather tries to do is keep this young man off the streets - at least for now.
So, work for the dole? Who would want to "employ" this young man even on a voluntary basis? There are waiting lists for volunteer work now. Some people see it as a way of getting employed. It looks good on their curriculum vitae.
The government is also suggesting that the unemployed should be making forty job applications a month - that's two a day for twenty days. That requirement is being seen as too onerous by many. I have seen young people doing a tour of the shopping centre, asking at each place whether there are any vacancies in retail. It is fruitless exercise.
You need to be in the right place at the right time. A neighbour's child has four hours each Saturday. She works in the local bakery. The pay is poor but, as she said, "I went in to get some bread and the owner asked if I wanted a job. I said yes. It will look good on my cv."
And, as I have said elsewhere, one of the local supermarkets has a policy of employing students who need a job so that they can afford to study.
If we want people to work even for the dole then we will have to find more for them to do. I have no problem with that but I suspect that many people will. There will be claims of exploitation - and they might be justified if things are not gone about the right way - and complaints that too much is expected of the unemployed. And how do we handle the young man my godfather has tried to help? How do help people in rural and remote areas where the opportunities are limited?
But, in the end the question has to be, should the unemployed be treated any differently from the person who must get up each morning and go to work? Surely it is undignified to treat them any other way?


Anonymous said...

Also, I have just read about someone suggesting a small group of unemployed could paint a community hall. What about the professional painters who would now not get that job? It seems foolish to get untrained and possibly uninterested people to work "for nothing" while putting skilled workers' jobs in jeopardy.

Helen Devries said...

We need government programmes to employ people to do public works...that is, fund local government properly and carry out audits to see where the money is going. We do not need layers of consultants - usually retired local government officers - funded from the public purse

jeanfromcornwall said...

There's nonsense like that here as well. Recently, a young woman graduate was looking for work and claiming benefit, and also doing as many hours as she was allowed voluntary unpaid work in a museum. The benefits people insisted she had to do two weeks full time sweeping and stacking in a supermarket "to show she knew how to get out of bed and turn up at work" This would have caused the loss of the museum place. She actually took them to court and won. I think quite a few of the benefits clerks are secret bullies.