Back to work schemes: not a breach of human rights according to High Court

Claimants given the choice to either work or lose benefits are not 
having their human rights breached, according to ruling

Scottish newsBack to work schemes: not a breach of human rights according to High Court

by Cameron Ings-Hodgson

The Government’s work for dole schemes were ruled as lawful by the High Court today following legal actions which claimed the scheme to be a breach of article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The schemes, which have been touted by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) as being “tailored support for claimants who need more help to undertake active and effective jobseeking.” The schemes have been labelled by critics as “forced labour” and “slavery”, as participants are to be made to work full-time for no wage, or have their benefits cut off.

Things came to a legal conclusion today when jobless graduate Cait Reilly and HGV driver Jamieson Wilson’s claims that the Work Academy Scheme in Nottingham and the Community Action Programmes’ are breach of article 4 of the Declaration of Human Rights -prohibiting slavery- were rejected by the London High Court.

Justice Forskett held the view that "characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to 'slavery' or 'forced labour' seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking" and that  "slave labour" allegations "are a very long way removed from the kind of colonial exploitation of labour that led to the formulation of Article 4.”

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Geology graduate Cait Reilly is required to work for free at a Poundland. Jamieson Wilson, was expected to wash and clean furniture for an unnamed organisation for six months unpaid.

If the judge had ruled against the back-to-work schemes then this attack on ‘welfare dependency’ would have to be scrapped. The Prime Minister famously called for the UK human rights act to be scrapped in 2007.

A spokesperson for the DWP said that: "We are delighted, although not surprised, that the judge agrees our schemes are not forced labour.

"Comparing our initiatives to slave labour is not only ridiculous but insulting to people around the world facing real oppression.

"Thousands of young people across the country are taking part in our schemes and gaining the vital skills and experience needed to help them enter the world of work - it is making a real difference to people's lives.

"Those who oppose this process are actually opposed to hard work and they are harming the life chances of unemployed young people who are trying to get on."

The Back-to-work scheme was launched in June last year by the Department for Work and Pensions under the community action programme (CAP) and has completed a pilot phase. It is now expected to be announced this autumn that people who have been claiming jobseeker's allowance for longer than three years will have to work for six months unpaid or have their benefits stripped from them.

Dave Simmonds, chief executive at the Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion, hit out at the plans last month, saying that:

"These numbers speak volumes about the nature of long-term unemployment in a recession, where those with the greatest barriers are often pushed to the back of the jobs queue.

"Jobcentre Plus and the work program will have already tried to find jobs for these people – with sanctions hanging over them all the way through. We have to be careful about a one size fits all solution for the very long-term unemployed by requiring them to work for their benefits."

The number of punishments enforced on failing jobseeker applicant doled out has risen almost exponentially from 139,000 benefit cuts under Labour in 2009 to more than 500,000 in 2011.



Scottish News News Scotland

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commented 2012-08-06 22:48:52 +0100 · Flag
I vaguely recall that too… but hopefully there would have been better ways of reconciling the two demands on her time instead of throwing the queen size hissy fit she seems to have taken… Even given that DWP is not the most flexible tree in the forest…
commented 2012-08-06 20:16:07 +0100 · Flag
haha, well said. Though I read on another article she was actually volunteering at a museum which was giving her the experience to pursue her career path which they made her quit to work at pound land.
commented 2012-08-06 19:44:16 +0100 · Flag
No Poundland will help her get out of bed, get dressed and turn up to do a day’s work when she’s supposed to, while dealing with employers and customers who don’t think the sun shines out of her crystaline geodes…

Pretty basic requirements for any and all further careers.

There used to be a technical term for doing general grunt work and McJobs. They were called “opportunities”
commented 2012-08-06 17:35:19 +0100 · Flag
“Geology graduate Cait Reilly is required to work for free at a Poundland. Jamieson Wilson, was expected to wash and clean furniture for an unnamed organisation for six months unpaid.”

Poundland will really help her further her search for a Geology career, lol
published this page in News 2012-08-06 17:07:00 +0100