Welcome to the Public Works blog.

Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Dave Watson d.watson@unison.co.uk. For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Workfare may actually be aimed at replacing public service jobs

George Osborne's workfare plans will not only criminalise those on benefits, but public service workers should also be worried about its secondary aim to replace their jobs.

As False Economy points out, the plans will in effect criminalise the unemployed. The workfare requirement at 780 hours is already more than twice as long as the longest community service sentence. It also doesn't work. Very few get real permanent jobs and 71% of people sanctioned on the scheme reported going without food; half went into debt.

However, the secondary aim may well be to substitute the unpaid unemployed for public service jobs. This is already happening in some areas, primarily in England, with councils and charities lining up to do this.

When a similar scheme was introduced in the US, thousands of jobs in the Parks Department were lost in New York alone – to be replaced with forced unpaid workers. District Council 37, a union which represented municipal employees, took Mayor Giuliani to court, saying that his workfare programme “had illegally replaced nearly 2000 unionised clerical workers with unpaid welfare recipients in three agencies."

A rubbish scheme that doesn't work, but may actually be aimed at replacing our members jobs.

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