A new DWP pilot threatening Universal Credit claimants with even more sanctions has just started in 60 jobcentres round Britain including 11 in Glasgow and area.
The DWP workers union the PCS has condemned the pilot scheme. The PCS say:
“From Monday 27th February the DWP starts a pilot to force thousands of Universal Credit claimants to compulsorily attend jobcentres 10 times over a 2-week period, which PCS believes could increase the risk of poverty and make it more difficult for people to claim benefits.”
“If the customers, who have been claimants for 13 weeks, fail to attend they could be sanctioned and risk losing their benefits, plunging often very vulnerable people deeper into poverty.”
Bonus for sanctions?
The DWP are offering a bonus “to recognise and reward jobcentre teams who furthest exceed their aspirational targets.”
The reward is a £250 voucher for each member of staff in the “best performing” jobcentres.
No explanation has been given of what “aspirational targets” consist of and whether they include getting people off benefits, sanctioning claimants or getting claimants into unsuitable and insecure work.
The PCS union says:
“Our members will see through this pilot for what it is – a government hellbent on making it more difficult for people to claim benefits and which will increase the risk of poverty for those customers who fall foul of this pilot. Asking more customers to travel more often into jobcentres does nothing to help our staff or their workloads and does nothing to help the customers find the work that they need.”
Organise and resist
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty says:
“This punitive scheme is an attack by the government and DWP bosses on claimants and on all working class people. The government clearly aims to make claiming Universal Credit so difficult that people will be forced into low-paid insecure exploitative jobs – thus undermining all workers’ wages and conditions. Universal Credit sanctions are already soaring and this scheme will make it even worse.”
“We urge claimants to organise and resist. Remember you have the right to be accompanied to all benefits appointments Demonstrations at Jobcentres will show we won’t accept being plunged into destitution.“
“We welcome the PCS union condemnation of the pilot and urge jobcentre workers not to co-operate with this punitive scheme.”
“PCS condemns DWP launching further attacks on Universal Credit claimants and league tables for Jobcentres” – this article includes the full list of Jobcentres running the pilot
Another PCS article – ” PCS condemns DWP’s latest attacks on Universal Credit claimants “
Article by “Benefits and Work” “New sanction trap for UC claimants with £250 incentive for DWP staff”
Government statement by Mel Stride, secretary of state for Work and Pensions
Note – The scheme has already been running in four jobcentres – Partick in Glasgow, Coalville, Crawley, and Pontefract.