Reposted from the Daily Mirror
A painter and decorator with 40 years of experience was told by a Jobcentre that he must play Santa in a department store if he doesn’t find work by Christmas.
During this year’s torrential rain when much of Britain was flooded, a roofer was accused of skiving because he pleaded it would be dangerous to clamber over the tops of high buildings when it was wet and slippery.
While a claimant sent for a week’s “work experience” to pack greetings cards into boxes discovered he was being used as unpaid holiday cover.
Then there are the tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of bogus apprenticeships invented by greedy bosses to undercut the minimum wage of 16 to 18-year-olds and adults in the first 12 months of a scheme.
Employers claim sustained training is required when most of the poverty pay jobs are relatively unskilled.
Designate the post an “apprenticeship” and a firm buys a pair of hands for as little as £2.68 per hour, which is less than the £3.72 minimum wage for 16 and 17-year-olds and £5.03 for 18-to-20s.
Men and women aged 21 and over should be entitled to at least £6.31 an hour but the scam allows them to be legally paid the miserly £2.86 for those initial 12 months.
So a sandwich chain doesn’t hire staff to make butties. Rather it calls them “apprentice sandwich architects” as if buttering bread and placing sliced tomatoes on top of chicken pieces was comparable to designing the Gherkin.
Building the firm’s own profits while slicing the dough of low-paid workers is a mean trick and I’d bet a lot of money that most employees would prefer a wage rise to a worthless certificate.
Big retailers are as guilty as anybody by ruthlessly exploiting staff who can’t afford to shop where they work.
Hearing the tales of workers on Tyneside reinforced for me why the so-called “jobs miracle” hailed by ConDem Ministers exists only in their heads.
The self-serving propaganda spouted by Cameron & Co on TV and in the House of Commons is a million miles from the grim reality for many Britons: low pay, insecurity and the constant fear of the sack.
And I’ll not be responsible for my actions the next time I hear another callous Tory or aloof highly-paid commentator claim breadline, temporary, part-time work is better than no job.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s boast the economy is back to where it was before the 2008 financial crash is untrue if measured per head.
The population’s expanded and we’re poorer as a nation.
The fall in earnings under the ConDem coalition during this Parliament will be the biggest since 1880.
The question Ed Miliband will ask at next year’s election is: “Are you better off than five years ago?”
Most of us will answer with a resounding No.
The painter and decorator isn’t the only worker without a Ho! Ho! Ho!