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This from S****** H***
All right, all right, I'm not a grumpy old sod. I'm only 29, for crying out loud, but everywhere I turn I find something that gets my goat! This whole bloody country has gone to the dogs, has it not?
Take a look at unemployment, or should I say the "New Deal". I admit I'm at the moment unemployed. Yes, I am looking, but it's actually hard to find low level IT positions when they've "outsourced" them all to bloody Mumbai!
If you've never experienced the joys of unemployment in this country then you're pretty fortunate and I salute you. But woe betide you if you happen to lose your job, because you'll then encounter this devilish thing called the New Deal.
The long and short of it is that you have to work for your unemployment cheque. That's fine by me - it gets me out of the house and away from Richard & Judy, and to be honest spending a few hours a day pushing a sweeping cart around or mowing lawns would be quite nice. I do need the exercise….
But no. It is not a few hours a day. It's a 48-hour working week (40 for work placement and 8 enforced job-hunting hours). The stupidity does not actually stop there, though. You see the government pays for your work placement. The last I heard it was about £2,000 a month for the 6 weeks or more that you are in placement.
The idea is that employers can 'try before they buy' so if they want a receptionist they can have a stream of unemployed people marching through their doors and the one that can actually do the job, gets it.
You can see where this is going, can't you? Spot the deliberate mistake! I've been sent to places that are totally staffed with New Dealers. One finishes his or her placement and another arrives, in a never-ending cycle. All the while the 'managers' only need to provide circumstantial evidence that they have a position available and they can count on a nice steady income from the government just as long as they show that every candidate is in some way unsuitable. I had a discussion at work with a Hindu lady about the differences and similarities between our two cultures. We were overheard, and I was 'terminated' for being racist despite the fact that my Hindu friend had made no complaint about this friendly conversation.
The cheek of these firms goes even further. They want me to answer the phones? Fine, I'll dress appropriately and play receptionist whilst you count the tax money you're earning - even though that's my bloody money I paid in tax before I lost my job! But uh-oh, they've sent you a copy of my CV and now you've realised I am in fact a contract IT systems administrator (I keep those big billing systems running)? Oh no, no, no, I'm sorry. You don't get to use the skills of a £22.50 p/h contractor for the £1.40 p/h you're paying! It's not going to happen, so don't sit there moaning at my New Deal supervisor because I'm being uncooperative. You want an IT guru, you can pay an IT guru salary.
This is not the way to help people find work, it's just a new and interesting form of slavery. You can't quit these jobs, you can't walk out and you can't complain about them or you jeopardise the unemployment benefit you need to pay your mortgage, council tax etc. It's also a great con trick, because when you enter the 'work placement' you're technically no longer unemployed, so they can knock you off of the unemployment statistics. If the current figure is 1,586,000 you can bet that there are another million or so festering in work placements.
There's no justice in this country for the many people who really want to work!


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