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22 Mar 2012

Work experience must not mean job substitution #workfare

Reading & District Labour Party Media Release 

18 March 2012

Work experience must not mean job substitution - Labour
Fears that some employers in Reading may be using unemployed people from the Government’s Work Experience scheme to substitute for workers who would expect proper wages are the subject of a motion to the next meeting of Reading Borough Council from Labour’s Pete Ruhemann.

People who are on Jobseekers’ Allowance paid by the Government are being encouraged to accept eight-week placements with major retailers and others and, Cllr. Ruhemann says, there is evidence that part-time workers for those same firms are therefore being refused an increase in hours, and some companies may even not be taking on new staff, because the firms can have people on JSA essentially for nothing.
“The Service Level Agreements companies taking part in Work Experience schemes sign,” Cllr. Ruhemann says, “do say that placements should be in addition to existing or planned vacancies, but the whole operation of the scheme is shrouded in ‘commercial’ secrecy and it is not clear how that condition is being monitored. What is clear is that job substitution would mean that work experience was not a real path to employment, would increase the actual level of unemployment, and would result in less money being available to spend in local shops and with local businesses.
The motion asks Council officers to see how they can identify and report abuses of the work experience system in Reading, and Cllr. Ruhemann would also be happy to receive any evidence directly by email to Pete.Ruhemann@reading.gov.uk
For information on Reading Labour Party and its campaigns visit www.readinglabour.org.uk or follow @ReadingLabour

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