Victory for Edinburgh unemployed over A4e

 Tribunal overturns sanction and upholds right to representation

Claimants in Edinburgh have won a potentially crucial victory in the battle for the right of unemployed people to be represented at DWP provider A4e – thanks to the courageous stand taken by brave ex-miner Peter. An independent Tribunal has ruled that a claimant cannot have his benefits stopped because he “felt the need to have the representative of his choice.”

Peter has stood up to A4e for over two years, despite the multinational attempting to have his benefits stopped on over a dozen occasions. Now the Social Security Tribunal's decision of 31 August has overturned the last remaining sanction against him.

The infamous multinational A4e have been denying the unemployed who are forced to attend their compulsory workfare schemes the right to be accompanied by the representative of their choice (A4e make a fortune from the taxpayer by running these schemes on behalf of the DWP, the Department of Work and Pensions).


Demo against privatisation of Edinburgh Council Services
(with possible occupation)
At Council meeting this Thursday 27th, demo from 8.30am onwards, meeting
starts 10am
At Council Chambers, High St
Environmental Services, including refuse collection and street cleansing,
plus other services face privatisation.  This would mean redundancies,
attacks on wages and conditions plus worse services.
Demo called by UNISON but this affects all Edinburgh citizens and we hope
as many people as possible will be there and be prepared to take as strong
action as possible to stop this attack.
more info

Huge rise in JSA sanctions as government cranks up its attacks.

 A recent Citizens Advice Bureau Scotland briefing has reported a rise of 459% in sanctions against JSA claimants in a 2 year period. Between October 2008 and October 2010, the number of sanctions against JSA  claimants increased from 10,700 a month to almost 60,000 as a result of some Jobcentre Plus offices setting targets for sanction referrals for JCP staff to achieve. That's 60,000 of us stripped of all benefits in a squalid attempt to lessen a national deficit that none of us had any responsibility for creating.

Scottish fuel poverty increases

From today's Herald:

The Westminster Government’s annual fuel poverty statistics, unveiled yesterday, show more than a quarter of Scotland’s 2.5 million households living in fuel poverty. The pressure group Energy Action Scotland predicts that following the big rises in gas and electricity prices announced recently, well over a third of Scots households will be fuel poor (defined as spending more than 10% of their income keeping warm) this winter.

Each year Scotland has around 2000 excess winter deaths, the number that cannot be accounted for by normal seasonal fluctuations. In Scandinavia, the figure is close to zero, thanks largely to super-insulated homes. (A pensioner paying only £300 a year for energy is less vulnerable to a 20% price hike.) Yet in Scotland we continue to suffer from some of the worst insulated housing stock in Europe. A major factor is the third of homes that are not suitable for cavity wall insulation, including sandstone and granite tenement blocks.

Thanks to the Greens, the Scottish Government is distributing £48m a year in Energy Assistance Packages to vulnerable groups but the demand is so high that the scheme is not advertised.

Meanwhile the UK Government’s Warm Home Discount, which is replacing social tariffs, is restricted mainly to those on pension credit. Apart from the fact that it barely replaces the £100 cut in the winter fuel allowance, it is not available to other vulnerable groups, such as the low-paid, those on benefits and the disabled. Also, because it is a flat rate £120 throughout the country, it discriminates against Scotland. (The average annual bill is £120 higher in Greenock and £300 higher in Inverness than in Bristol.)


Just because the Con-Dem government forced you onto The Work Programme, they cannot legally force you to give your personal information to providers like A4e. In 2010 an A4e laptop containing the personal details of 24,000 Community Legal Advice Centre clients in Hull and Leicester was stolen in a burglary. The personal details included names, addresses, and information about alleged criminal activity and whether the client had been a victim of violence.

During Work Programme induction, A4e will give you a Information Disclosure form to fill-in. This form should clearly state that your consent to giving them your personal information is voluntary - and you may withdraw that consent at any time. And, more importantly, refusal to fill in the form will NOT affect any benefits you are receiving.

June 30th – generalising the resistance

Unemployed and Job Centre workers came together on 30th June in Edinburgh
as part of the Britain-wide strike against pension cutbacks. Members of
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty joined the picket line at High Riggs
Job Centre by Tollcross with placards reading UNEMPLOYED SUPPORT JOB
CENTRE WORKERS. The workers were very pleased with the support, and
discussions ensued about building longer term links.

ECAP members went on to leaflet claimants going in to sign on,
explaining “ We are claimants involved in Edinburgh Coalition Against
Poverty and we are taking action today too, because we think that to
beat the attacks the government are making on all of us, we all need to
start joining up our struggles. Today we are joining the Jobcentre
workers picket at High Riggs. The employed and unemployed have a common
enemy – the government and the rich. “

We aimed to both give solidarity to the struggle against cuts in
workers' pensions, and to generalise the resistance. So next stop was
Slave Labour Central – A4e's offices on nearby Earl Grey Street, where
unemployed people are sent by the Multinational Poverty Pimp to work for
their benefits at charity shops and supermarkets. ECAP members
leafleting the claimants and workers there were joined by students and
an NHS worker.


 Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty is participating in the strike day against cuts this coming Thursday June 30th
 Join us, come along any time for as long or short a time as you can manage. 
 We will be joining the Job Centre workers picket at the High Riggs Job Centre by Tollcross from approx 7.15am - 10am
 We will be leafleting and protesting at A4e, 34 Earl Grey Street approx 8.30am - 11am
(Earl Grey St is a continuation of Lothian Rd, near Tollcross)
 We also intend to leaflet the PCS Union workers strike rally at the Mound, advertised to start at 10.15am
 Exact times could change, depending on what happens, on the day you can call or text the ECAP mobile 0752 117 1148 -  the Job Centre and A4e are only 3-4 minutes walk from each other, so if we're not at one, you can easily check out the other.
The government plans to force public sector workers to work longer and pay more for much less pension in retirement.  Workers employed by the government are going on strike against this; in Scotland this is mainly workers employed by the Scottish Government, the DWP, Revenue and Customs, also Chambers St museum, sheriff court, etc..  (In England teachers are going on strike as well.)

Shocking surprise - ATOS profits dont drip down to their staff!

We're seeing more and more civil service jobs being farmed out to private companies whose staff get less training, pay, and  pensions while being offered poorer working conditions than the public sector. According the Atos Origin annual report for 2009 the company raked in revenue worth €5,127 Billion. This includes ‘solid growth’ across their public sector contracts which saw a revenue increase of 9% “mainly in the UK”. Last year Atos Origin’s profits rose by 8.75% to 196 Million Euros thanks to “a strong performance by its UK operations” . At the same time, Atos Healthcare has refused to meet a  pay award for its own staff, some of whom earn less than £13,000 a year. Meanwhile  the Atos CEO, Thierry Breton, enjoyed a salary of €276,846 and ‘stock options’ of €700,000.

BoS Demonstrators Protest Unlawful Arrest Of Bank Account Funds

EDINBURGH, 9TH JUNE - PEOPLE gathered yesterday at the Bank of Scotland's Earl Grey Street branch, Tollcross, Edinburgh, to protest the unjust and unlawful arrestment of more than £700 in bank account funds from an account held by Edinburgh resident Jaime. The arrestment was carried out by Stirling Park Sherriff Officer's acting on behalf of Edinburgh 'cowboy' landlord and car dealer Mark Fortune.

Demonstrators Gather outside the Bank of Scotland, Earl Grey Street
Demonstrators Gather outside the Bank of Scotland, Earl Grey Street

Police arrive and question the protesters
Police arrive and question the protesters

One protester enjoys the scottish sun and the chirp-chirp of the summer police
One protester enjoys the scottish sun and the chirp-chirp of the summer police

BoS customers and passers-by exchange leaflets
BoS customers and passers-by exchange leaflets


Changes coming into force from April 2011

The Government has introduced rules which make the changes listed below - the intention is to save £2 billion. They have used their media to push the lie that Housing Benefit is a disincentive to finding work. London figures show that 87% of claimants of Housing Benefit are in work! The Housing Benefit costs are in reality a reflection of just how feather-bedded landlords are and how miserable wages are for millions of workers.

Maximum size of a dwelling which can be paid for by housing benefit capped at 4 bedrooms LHA rates payable for each category of property capped to the following wherever the property is situated in the country:

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