The Biggest Attack On Wages Yet, Sectors With High Vacancies To Get Thousands Of Workfare Workers

Johnny Void here describes the latest replacement of wage labour with cheap, workfare serfs by the government. The DWP are planning to create 100,000 workfare and ‘work academy’ jobs in those sectors of the economy with high vacancies. These will be filled by jobseekers aged 18-24. This follows Chris Grayling’s statement in 2011 that the government would be targeting workfare ‘work placements’ at precisely those sectors of the economy.

As Mr Void points out, this has got absolutely nothing to do with lowering unemployment, and everything to do with forcing wages down. If the economy is left to operate as envisaged by the original laissez-faire economists, employers would be forced to raise wages or offer better conditions to attract workers to jobs they had difficulty recruiting. By artificially filling these posts with unpaid workers, Grayling and his successors are acting to drive wages down by making paid work in those sectors much scarcer.

This action bears out the scepticism of pre-19th century workers to ability or willingness of the government to set wages to their advantage. Before the rise of trade unionism in the final years of the 18th century, working men and women generally were not in favour of the government setting wages, as it was felt that this interfered with the free bargaining between worker and employer that ideally produced higher wages than those set by the government. Now that the unions have been all but destroyed by Maggie and her successors, it’s time the old, pre-union scepticism towards government intervention on behalf of the workers should return, at least regarding the Tories.

Johnny Void also points out that it’s unclear where these jobs are going to be created, as many companies have withdrawn from the workfare schemes due to public protests. About which, there’s another one planned against B&M Stores, who in 2013 were declared to be, in Mr Void’s words, ‘workfare exploiter of the year’ by the welfare to work industry.

As for the age group at whom these non-job are aimed, this is the same group the Tories have decided should not receive housing benefit and so should either continue to live with their parents. Or, when this is impossible and they have been slung out, will be forced onto the streets as members of the rising numbers of the young homeless. These young people are, of course, the NEETS, the Not in Education, Employment or Training, who have now become the latest threat to civilised society as dole-scroungers, according to Tory ideology. Unemployed school-leavers are naturally one of the politically weakest sections of the population, and the Tories have constantly tried to exploit them with artificial non-jobs since the creation of the Youth Opportunities Programme under Thatcher.

Their demonization of this age group also shows the deep resentment of the 1960s marked in other parts of Conservatism by their hatred of the new, sexual permissiveness. The post-War years saw the emergence of the modern youth culture, and the 1960s in particular are remembered for youthfully rebelliousness as teenagers and young people explored radical philosophies and created a distinct counterculture as a direct rejection of the strictures and injustices of mainstream society. The wholesale placement of this part of the population in workfare and poverty thus looks very much like an attempt to prevent them once again taking to the streets in protest, as they did in ’60s against racism, Vietnam and in favour of a more liberal attitude towards sexuality.

the void

Join the Day of Action Against B&M Stores on June 27th. Join the Day of Action Against B&M Stores on June 27th.

The Government is claiming that up to 100,000 unpaid jobs are set to be created over the next year in a hand out to the corporate sector worth up to a billion pounds.  Astonishing some of these work experience positions will be targeted in areas which already have high numbers job vacancies making a mockery of the claim that these schemes are intended to reduce unemployment.

According to a recently updated document, produced to explain the various workfare schemes to the first victims of Universal Credit, the DWP are claiming that “An extra 100,000 work experience and sector-based work academy places have been made available between April 2015 and March 2016 for 18 to 24 year old jobseekers.” 

These are the corporate workfare schemes which have already seen almost half a million young people bullied into working for…

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