Disabled & terminally may be forced to work for free or lose benefits.

That includes working for free, for private companies. This is f*cking disgusting. Working can improve one's quality of life and mental health, but not being free labour for profit-making companies.

"Some long-term sick and disabled people face being forced to work unpaid for an unlimited amount of time or have their benefits cut under plans being drawn up by the Department for Work and Pensions."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...

So why on earth would companies hire workers, if the government provides them for free?

This seems to be part of an ongoing thing where people are being told to work at stores such as Tesco (while only receiving job seeker's allowance and meeting their own costs of getting to work, etc) or lose benefit entitlement. Speculation is that it's to get people to trip up and be declared ineligible for benefits for a period, and presumably improve the "X million claiming JSA" or "Y thousand people found work" stats.

How is this remotely legal?

1Dgaf wrote:

That includes working for free, for private companies. This is f*cking disgusting. Working can improve one's quality of life and mental health, but not being free labour for profit-making companies.

"Some long-term sick and disabled people face being forced to work unpaid for an unlimited amount of time or have their benefits cut under plans being drawn up by the Department for Work and Pensions."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/feb/16/disabled-unpaid-work-benef...

See? You can't say they are working for free, they are working for their benefits. Which they probably need because they are too sick/disabled to work... which is why this is stupid, not to mention pretty immoral.

Here's a list of the current employers taking part in the workfare program!
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page...

Don't forget it's not just the disabled or terminally that are being press ganged into work. The totally immoral thing is that if private corporations have work that needs doing they should hire staff and pay them the required wage for that work. Instead we have a system of modern day press ganging which benefits corporations that are all buddy-buddy with the gov't

Why can't they be paid a wage and still receive their benefits? Why do they have to work for free?

gregrampage wrote:
Why can't they be paid a wage and still receive their benefits? Why do they have to work for free?

Indeed

The way Cameron is going, I'm actually going to start looking back fondly on the reign of Mrs Thatch as an era of equality and plenty for all. And I would've laid better odds on me getting a sex change than thinking that 10 years ago.

DudleySmith wrote:
The way Cameron is going, I'm actually going to start looking back fondly on the reign of Mrs Thatch as an era of equality and plenty for all. And I would've laid better odds on me getting a sex change than thinking that 10 years ago.

Thatcher at least had the good grace to own the fact that she was a hard nosed, objectionable harridan. Whereas Cameron tries to hide the fact that he is an over-privileged public school bully whose only goal is to line his and his friends pockets at the expense of the rest of us.

Well, DanB, your government has been extraordinarily stupid in the way it's spent its money for a long time. It has run up a massive debt position. You HAVE TO PAY YOUR OWN WAY in the world. Must. There is no alternative. And England has been living substantially beyond its means for a very long time.

Instead of blaming them now for trying to save money to make their interest payments, you should have been horrified back when they were borrowing to make basic consumption expenses.

Government debt is dangerous.

Malor wrote:
Well, DanB, your government has been extraordinarily stupid in the way it's spent its money for a long time. It has run up a massive debt position. You HAVE TO PAY YOUR OWN WAY in the world. Must. There is no alternative. And England has been living substantially beyond its means for a very long time.

Instead of blaming them now for trying to save money to make their interest payments, you should have been horrified back when they were borrowing to make basic consumption expenses.

Government debt is dangerous.

Oh god. Can we keep this out of one thread?

Well, if you're going to be upset about government budget cuts, then pointing out that the budget has to be cut because of PRIOR spending by that government is most emphatically in bounds.

(I assume that these workfare companies are paying the government somehow for the workers; if not, then it wouldn't have a budget impact, and is just reprehensible.)

I'm not upset about budget cuts, I'm upset about free labor. It's not like one is the guaranteed result of the other.

Malor wrote:
Well, if you're going to be upset about government budget cuts, then pointing out that the budget has to be cut because of PRIOR spending by that government is most emphatically in bounds.

(I assume that these workfare companies are paying the government somehow for the workers; if not, then it wouldn't have a budget impact, and is just reprehensible.)

Taking this to PMs.

Wonder if they do this in Zimbabwe.

The government has let companies off £25 billion in tax, either through dodgy deals or 'legal' tax avoidance schemes. So, government spending isn't the only issue here.

But, yes, perhaps it's best if that conversation is left to PMs. Not that I want to be involved in it.

Umm.. doesn't "disabled" mean you're not able to do anything? Just saying...

Kehama wrote:
Umm.. doesn't "disabled" mean you're not able to do anything? Just saying...

Even if you can't do anything but breathe, there are balloons that need inflating.

Malor wrote:
Well, DanB, your government has been extraordinarily stupid in the way it's spent its money for a long time. It has run up a massive debt position. You HAVE TO PAY YOUR OWN WAY in the world. Must. There is no alternative. And England has been living substantially beyond its means for a very long time.

Well yes but if Keynes taught us anything it's stimulus spending that pulls you out of recession. You resolve your debt during times of economic growth, by spending judiciously in those periods. The austerity measures currently being introduced to the UK have done nothing to halt the continuing negative economic growth and without exception the measures are being targeted at people at the bottom of the pile; the very people who were not responsible for this. The cuts are almost without exception ideological rather than practical

For instance, the HMRC (UK tax office) estimates that corporations and high net worth individuals evade between 25 and 40 billion in tax per annum in the UK. A further 26 billion is estimated to go uncollected due to inefficiencies in tax collection. Do our austerity measures target this? No, in fact the government is committed to reducing staffing in tax collection by nearly 15,000 workers over the next 3-4 years (that's nearly 100 people a week losing their jobs!). Yet austerity measures aimed at realising saving money from the benefits system at best will realised a value of only 1 or 2 percent of what tax goes uncollected.

Instead of blaming them now for trying to save money to make their interest payments, you should have been horrified back when they were borrowing to make basic consumption expenses.

Government debt is dangerous.


Well yes, but I was bit young to have any say or understanding through the 70s and 80s when the key financial deregulation that led to today's collapses occurred.

Malor wrote:
(I assume that these workfare companies are paying the government somehow for the workers; if not, then it wouldn't have a budget impact, and is just reprehensible.)

These companies are not paying the government. That is just one of the reasons that people are outraged. But really it shouldn't matter either way, if the companies in question need that work done they should be hiring the staff and paying them a working wage.

Kehama wrote:
Umm.. doesn't "disabled" mean you're not able to do anything? Just saying...

Being retarded doesn't stop any of the Republitards or those bible thumpers from getting jobs.

rosenhane wrote:
Kehama wrote:
Umm.. doesn't "disabled" mean you're not able to do anything? Just saying...

Being retarded doesn't stop any of the Republitards or those bible thumpers from getting jobs.

This is a little bit out of line and off topic.

I'd have more to say but it's all been said already. I don't see how something like this could make even a short run.

Don't prisoners already work for free or near free? Or am I going in the wrong direction comparing apples to stoves?

Edwin wrote:
Don't prisoners already work for free or near free? Or am I going in the wrong direction comparing apples to stoves?

I think you're going the wrong direction. Especially as this is, in this particular case, mostly a UK issue. I feel bad for our UK brethren, but it's heartening in a strange way to see that the US isn't the only nation that's got extremely perverse ways of punishing the disadvantaged and taking advantage of them. It's true that in the US we incarcerate people in high numbers in privately run prisons and then have them work for free. In the UK they're more humane, but this still sucks.

I recently went through a protracted battle with the Labor Department in the US trying to get them to allow me to pay money they clawed back after I fought it for a long time. They took months getting me a final bill and months allowing me to find a person to pay the money to (they're always busy). Eventually they sent a letter saying they were going to garnish my wages over $800 they clawed back. So I spent all day trying to contact *someone* who would let me pay it. Too late. I paid it and THEN had to deal with explaining to my employer why my wages were being garnished. I would have been better off never going on UI.

This isn't as bad as what is happening in the UK, but at this point I'm thoroughly convinced that I'd be better off if they allowed me to just take my own money and put it in a savings account until I needed it. I know, that's not the way UI works. It works like true insurance where in theory people putting money into the system put it in without the intention to use it unless they have to. But the way the governments abuse how you can use it (or in the US how they can claw it back and make your life hell) I don't know that it's worth it anymore. Better to let people just invest that money themselves and have no safety net than this.

In the UK it might be better to let individuals take the money they'd spend in taxes and funnel it through well run charities or something. The government / corporate complex is becoming very efficient at finding ways, regardless of the country, of taking that money and using it to their advantage.

Companies in the UK are using prisoners as far-less-than minimum workers. I don't agree with that, either. As much as one wants to see people punished, I'm not sure using them as cut-price labour is good for society or rehabilitation.

Here's my division between the two scenarios:

I think working convicts is fine, so long as: a) They still cost the state more to imprison than the state recovers from them making license plates or whatever, and b) No private enterprise is involved, only public. In that scenario, there's no profit involved in someone being a prisoner--there's just some recouping of costs. As soon as somebody is making money off the endeavor (like, say, the scenario we've got here in the US) it creates moral hazard and should be avoided. (But honestly, that has a lot more to do with the privately run prisons than to do with convict work programs.)

The goal of imprisoning people is to punish them for breaking the law, or to keep them isolated from society for society's protection. In order to do that, you need to spend resources on housing, food, clothing, etc. As long as work is neither busywork nor back-breaking labor, it's something to do with your time. If there's some benefit to the state that offsets the costs of housing, food, clothing, etc., that's reasonable.

Requesting or requiring convicts to work (and honestly, they should be given the option, with the understanding that being willing to work is "good behavior", and that they should never be deprived of necessities for failing to comply) does not conflict with the goal of keeping them prisoner.

The goal of giving people social welfare benefits is to give them resources for housing, food, clothing, etc. because they do not have the resources themselves. Some people are in a position where they will never be able to support themselves. Others have the potential to support themselves if they're given enough resources to bootstrap things (time to learn a trade, time to find a job, lack of worry about what the kids are going to eat, etc.) Removing benefits from people who will never be able to support themselves is directly contrary to the goals of the program. Encouraging them to support themselves as much as they can is reasonable, as long as there's no double-bind in terms of "if you start making a little money, we'll reduce your benefits". That's on the basis of "people like to feel useful", and the idea that there may be some work they can do that will make them feel useful but which won't give them enough resources to support themselves. Removing benefits from people who may at some point in the future be able to support themselves is counter-productive, because part of the idea is that it will become easier for them to find work if their basic needs are covered. Forcing them to spend time working doing work that will not support them is counter-productive if it's a distraction from finding real work that will support them.

Requesting that people on social welfare spend a small amount of time working and allowing them to keep the fruits of that labor to improve their lives is reasonable. Requiring them to do so is unreasonable, because some are simply unable to and those who are able to are expected to need their time for self-improvement. Punishing them for failing to meet the requirement is absolutely ridiculous, since it conflicts with the base goal of the program: making sure people's minimum needs for survival are met.

And of course, in the social welfare case it's also inappropriate for private companies to profit. It may be appropriate for a small amount of money to be spent by the government to establish programs where employers can be matched up with normally unemployable people who want [em]something[/em] to do--and possibly to offset the costs of having employees that can't be there more than a tiny amount of time a week. Likewise, it may be appropriate for the government to spend money to establish programs to match up employers with currently unemployable people who wish to learn skills. But in both cases these workers shouldn't be free, and their work should be paid for by the company if the company benefits from it. Optimally, such workers should be cost-neutral for the company at best--and more likely their employment should be a public service by the employer rather than of direct fiscal benefit to the employer.

Any scenario with actual profit involved should be avoided at all costs.

The bottom line is that once the profit motive enters the picture how far are you from slave labor? The government makes laws to "get tough on crime" at the request of corporate campaign donors already. If we're not already there it's not a huge leap to imagine corporations working to imprison citizens for use as free labor. Otherwise slavery.

rosenhane wrote:
Kehama wrote:
Umm.. doesn't "disabled" mean you're not able to do anything? Just saying...

Being retarded doesn't stop any of the Republitards or those bible thumpers from getting jobs.

I am expressing my distaste at this personal attack.

Related, but I am also expressing my distaste for this entire concept of free labor to private institutions. Oddly I am not sure I would have such a strong reaction if they were working directly for the government.

Yeah, that thought had also crossed my mind.... if the government is paying them, then if they're employed by anyone, it should be the government, not private enterprise.

Malor wrote:
Yeah, that thought had also crossed my mind.... if the government is paying them, then if they're employed by anyone, it should be the government, not private enterprise.

I'm still not really okay with that. If they have to work for their disability benefits then they're not really benefits anymore, they're just working a wage and the government is now dictating how they spend that wage and where they can work. At that point they might as well just enter the private work force and have some more control.

Well, that's what they're trying ultimately to do, to make these people's lives sufficiently unpleasant that they will either suicide or find work.