Sanctioned jobseeker turns tables on Duncan Smith with viral blog

[Reblogged from Morning Star, with thanks]

Brighton man sanctioned despite applying for 67 jobs in a fortnight, writes Joe Gill

A Brighton jobseeker has turned the tables on Iain Duncan Smith’s punitive sanctions regime after his benefits were docked despite applying for 67 jobs in a fortnight.

Peter Styles has written a blog about his experience that has gone viral, reaching more than 8,000 hits yesterday after being launched on Tuesday.

The communications and PR specialist has been out of work and signing on for a year since his last employer ceased trading.

He says he has applied for “everything from copywriter position, to insight manager, probably seven or eight job titles I can do.”

Mr Styles told the Star: “The administrative officer said my job search was good – however it was not broad enough.

“They wanted me to apply to be an Asda grocery colleague and a personal shopper. I did that, neither of which even require a CV. They’re school leaver positions.”

Last month his local jobcentre moved him from fortnightly signing-on to the new daily signing-on system.

When he complained about the regime, created by Work and Pension Secretary Mr Duncan Smith under his work programme, he says he was segregated from other jobseekers and had his benefit sanctioned without appeal.

“I demanded a manager to come down but she was the woman who I’d been having massive problems with,” Mr Styles recalled.

“Throughout this time I was put in a segregated area because I expressed my views about the policy.”

Mr Styles has appealed against the decision and lodged an official complaint against two jobcentre staff with assistance from the Brighton Unemployed Workers’ Centre.

“I’ve been signed off with stress for a month due to the harassment I’ve been subjected to,” Mr Styles added. “The DWP indirectly are trying to destroy my mental health.”

A spokesman for civil servants’ union PCS said the daily signings were punitive.

“If you are hauling people in every day to sign on it reduces the amount of time they can go out and look for work,” he said.

“The sanctions regime is absolutely abhorrent and should be scrapped.

It is entirely counterproductive – it doesn’t get anyone back to work. It’s an absolutely pernicious system for both claimants and job centre staff.”

The Department for Work and Pensions had not replied to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

Mr Styles’ blog can be viewed at

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9 Responses to Sanctioned jobseeker turns tables on Duncan Smith with viral blog

  1. sdbast says:

    Reblogged this on sdbast.


  2. Pingback: Sanctioned jobseeker turns tables on Duncan Smith with viral blog – glynismillward189 | Vox Political

  3. victedy says:

    “I’ve been signed off with stress for a month due to the harassment”

    I know how Mr Styles feels: I know a young man with Asperger’s syndrome that had a complete nervous breakdown when he had to go through the JSA hell. He was no ‘shirker’: he wanted another job after being laid off from his previous job, but, the JCP picked on him that much with threats & sanctions that he completely brokedown.
    How has the threats & sanctions got this young man back into work? In fact it has had the opposite effect and this is not an isolated case I know of other sanction cases that drove those involved to penury & mental health problems.


  4. I think there is a lot of pressure for the staff to sanction. Maybe they are under threat of sanctions themselves?
    But that does not excuse this pernicious regime which is abhorrent, illegal and profoundly malicious.
    We do all have to band together to stop it and if this guy has skills which can draw attention to what is happening before another person tragically dies then bravo!
    And the job centre staff have to realise whose side they are on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. This happens where I work sometimes, I’ll give you an example.
      I work part time and on my non working day I was telephoned at home and expected to undertake some work.
      I refused, on the grounds that it was my contracted day off.
      Long story short… on my return to work I was told that the person who I had told I was refusing to do the work had complained about me saying I had caused her a “psychiatric injury” (I kid you not!) So I said fine… I am going to invoke my rights under the part time worker protection from unfair treatment regulations and you (the employer) need to prepare a report which objectively justifies why I am treated differently from a full time worker, because to the best of my knowledge NO full time worker is expected to be contacted at home on a Saturday or Sunday to carry out work. Guess what? never heard anything about it again. (This was a public sector employer by the way)
      The DWP staff (en mass) do not have to carry out these harsh regimes, they could contact PCS and take it forward and support the people they are supposed to serve!


      • This is exactly what we need to hear! Maybe you have already blogged about this (and I realise you may have to be careful causing all that psychiatric injury(!) but we are all on the same side and they are supposed to be serving us – not the 1% or the rich or themselves.

        Just imagine what they are doing must cause this who are stressed already, disabled, ill have children who are then sanctioned or have Aspergers etc.
        I know as I support someone who like this but we are fortunate and very articulate and I am a pretty good advocate.
        Which is why we need to band together and help each other!

        Well done!


        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Please share and support. Time for this nonsense to STOP! Not by voting for more of the same like UKIP! (or worse)!


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