Workfare climbdown doesn’t end Tory punitive action v. young jobless

March 1st, 2012

It was always absurd that a young person aged between 16-24 was forced to undergo an unpaid work placement for up to 8 weeks on the basis that it was ‘voluntary’, yet if they left for any reason they would suffer the sanction of loss of unemployment benefit for 2 weeks.   But what is most revealing about yesterday’s government backdown is not only that it was strongly resisted by the relevant government ministers, Duncan Smith and Grayling, but the employers also didn’t reject work experience under such conditions because it was exploitative, but rather because it harmed their own reputation to be seen administering such a scheme.   The government only gave way perforce when enough employers threatened to withdraw which would have scuppered the whole project.  (more…)