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Monday, 23 May 2011

VICTORY - The GMB Dissociates Itself from the Kennedy Scott Report Urging Further Privatisation of Job Centres

Persistence Pays Off as Paul Kenny Finally Comes Clean
It’s taken what seems like a very long time, but finally, GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny has come out and made it clear, crystal clear, that the GMB is opposed to any privatisation of the benefit or employment services. It has been like drawing teeth but it was worth it because the issue is an important one. Companies whose only motto is greater profit are only involved in ‘welfare reform’ and employment services for one reason, and one reason only.
Some like A4E go as far as creating their own sham employment agency to cream off a bit more (and they are still contracted to provide their ‘services’). Even those who are not in some way fraudulent (and many like Maximus have long records for fraud in the USA) are involved in cheating the unemployed. It’s not any personal inadequacy or ‘employability’ to use the jargon that is the issue, it is a system based on profit that pays the gambling debts of bankers whilst screwing the unemployed into the ground.

Trade unions were created to defend workers’ rights. Unfortunately, like the TUC itself, they have often become tame tabby cats, with all the perks that come with it. The leadership of trade unions is an intermediate layer between the capitalists and government and workers, with its own interests.


It is only through democratic accountability that members can ensure their union leaderships don’t work with, or go to bed with, the likes of Kennedy Scott. There are of course unanswered questions such as what was/is the relationship between the GMB and KS. There must have been some relationship otherwise why did KS think they could put the GMB’s name on their Report?

But the comments of Paul Kenny, who has been extremely foolish, and getting others in the union to dig for dirt is not a way of politically responding to criticism, even if that criticism was strident, are unequivocal and I am happy to accept them at face value.

When Paul Kenny says therefore, in the e-mail correspondence below, that ‘The report you refer to was not ours nor did we endorse it or support the type of comments quoted

I have written to kennedy scott making it clear we do not support private companies in these services nor do we support welfare to work or their views.
I have made my views clear about anyone using our logo or implying our support for Welfare to work.’


I am happy to accept his word. What is more troubling is that a Report such as this was not even read, as I suspected, by Paul Kenny. ‘I had not read or seen the document until this all came to light and I have tried to ensure that the GMB position is explained to all who seek clarification.’


However that is an internal matter for the GMB not me. Below is our latest bout of correspondence and beneath that the e-mail exchanges between Paul Kenny and Holly Smith. I have only deleted personal information from the latter and I would add that, despite everything I have said, it is refreshing to see a General Secretary correspond directly with his member and to do his own typing!


Tony Greenstein


Dear Paul,

Thank you for your latest e-mail. I will insert my replies in different colour so you have no difficulties in placing my answers alongside your comments.

Hi Tony,

You have a sad sense of logic.
I never objected to you placing our correspondence in the Public domain.
I thanked you for doing so.



Good. However there was no need to thank me. I took your thanks as being sarcastic.



For at least the third time I have to state that we do not support Welfare to Work and the report you refer to from Kennedy Scott is their view not GMB's.



Excellent. But this process has been like having to drag the truth out of a difficult witness. However the Report bears the GMB logo so it would be reasonable to assume that the GMB supported its contents. Since you now say that the views expressed in the report are not those of the GMB, will you now go on record as dissociating the GMB from those views? If so I welcome that.



I have told you that the GMB sponsored research from Portsmouth Uni which we did to show the current system of payment by revolving door results is a complete sham.
We think the research supports our view that the private sector contracts awarded by the Government are nothing but a rip off.
Kennedy Scott have no contracts with the Employment service that we are aware of and none we support.



So why sponsor a report with Kennedy Scott? I don’t know whether the GMB paid for this report but it is clear that KS wants to get a foot in the door of Welfare to Work in Britain. That much should be obvious. And do you really need to commission or ‘sponsor’ – whatever that means – research to know that these schemes are just make-work schemes? Despite all New Labour promised and said? It isn’t the implementation of them that is faulty, it is in the very assumptions lying behind them in the first place. Under capitalism virtually no job, bar that of General Secretary of a union or banker is safe. To try and make these schemes more workable is in fact to undermine the conditions of your own membership (& the unemployed).



They are based on the false premise of needing to make people ‘work ready’ or that ‘employability’ is the problem. This is a consequence of the abandonment by the trade union movement of support for a socialist society.

I have no knowledge of where you live nor do I care.



So why did you raise the question of where I live?



The confirmation that you took money from young unemployed people who gave their time to help the TUC is beyond the pale.



I confirmed no such thing. I personally took not one single penny. I was a steward and I paid the same deduction. On behalf of the TUC we obtained stewards and it was perfectly reasonable to deduct about 7% of monies received for a refugee charity.



What if someone refused, were they banned from further Involvement?



The decision was agreed to collectively and that means that it was a condition of involvement. That is the history of the trade union movement – you decide collectively and then everyone implements that decision, whether to strike, join the union or whatever. It’s part of labour movement history and traditions.



Attacks on G4S members, rants at GMB Brighton Branch



I have never attacked the Brighton Branch. On the contrary we have always given it our support and will continue to do so. All I did was point out that far from being hostile to the GMB I had provided support to members, despite it not being my role. As for G4S, they have been shown time and again to have abused and assaulted asylum seekers and the GMB has not exactly distinguished itself by support for organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers, hence the hypocrisy of your complaint.



A complete lack of knowledge about the GMB role at the TUC on Palestine shows your real agenda.



I am a committed activist on Palestine, within my own union and beyond. I am fully aware as to what happened at the 2009 TUC Conference when the GMB was in a distinct minority in supporting Israel’s massacres and bombing in Gaza. You do not deny what I wrote. Is it true or not true that you tried to amend ‘condemn’ (Israel’s bombing) to ‘regret’ because it’s on the TUC’s own site? Do you deny trying to delete any condemnation of the arms trade between Israel and Britain or for that matter the role of Histadrut? Give me just one example of concrete support from the GMB for the Palestinians? A delegation? Funding for Palestinian workers organisations? What seriously have you ever done?



The fleecing of Tribunal claimants on a level no better than a no win no fee swag bag Lawyer,are you serious?

This is childish. You abandoned a GMB member and to be blunt you are not the only union who does this. It is an open scandal that union members who lose their jobs often find that their union turns round and says you’re not paying contributions any longer as you are not working, therefore we won’t represent you. We agreed to take on your member’s case on a No Win No Fee basis. Given lack of legal aid and the unwillingness of unions to pursue cases that is the only way workers can gain access to the employment tribunal. The maximum chargeable is 35% not 20%, so your member was hardly being fleeced. Certainly he didn’t think so as he was £27k better off. But given your clear concern at the fact that your member has lost £5k, would you agree to compensate him if I give you the details?


If I had wanted, I could have got a job paying as much as your salary and work for the kind of solicitors firms you mention. Instead working at Brighton Unemployed Centre, which I helped found 30 years ago, is the pinnacle of my ambition. The money I obtain through legal work goes to the Centre, not me.

The wild guff you have sought to spread will not weaken our support for PCS or sour our work with Unison.


My intention in raising these questions, which go to the heart of what trade unionism and solidarity are all about, had nothing to do with creating difficulties with PCS. It was PCS and their General Secretary Mark Serwotka who first alerted us to what was happening. Likewise UNISON.



Tony,
You could have rightly asked the GMB serious Questions but you did nothing but spread rubbish and hurl insults at all and sundry.
If it comes to believing you or Mark Serwotka you come last.



It’s not a question of whether to believe Mark Serwotka or me. There is no difference between Mark and me. The question is whether anyone can believe you.



The GMB has poured thousands of pounds into campaigns such as No to AV and of course New Labour. It has given next to nothing to unemployed centres in Britain. In that, of course, it is not alone, as the 250 centres of the 1980’s have shrivelled to about 30 today. But that neglect, which was not even benign, has meant it has lost contact with millions of workers and the price has been falling numbers of trade unions which officials have sought to remedy via mergers.



However, in the light of your correspondence with Holly Smith it is clear that our differences have now narrowed given the assurances contained in that correspondence.



Best wishes
Paul


Kind Regards



Tony Greenstein




E-mail Correspondence Between Holly Smith (GMB Steward in Brighton) & Paul Kenny




From: Kenny Paul (WI) [Paul.Kenny-wim@gmb.org.uk]
Sent: 23 May 2011 21:49
To: Holly Smith




Subject: Re: Workfare

Hi Holly,
Let me deal with your most important question first.
The GMB and myself are 100 percent opposed to Workfare and the privatisation of any public service including Employment services.
I spoke to Mark who I know well and his info was based on the document Kennedy Scott put out which suggested the GMB supported its contents by way of our Logo.
The only work we were involved in was the work we asked Portsmouth Uni to do on the Failure of the current private sector providers to help the long term Unemployed,Mark accepts GMB would never support welfare to work and we are pledged to support PCS in their struggle to retain direct employment services like Jobcentreplus.
The report you refer to was not ours nor did we endorse it or support the type of comments quoted
I have written to kennedy scott making it clear we do not support private companies in these services nor do we support welfare to work or their views.
I have made my views clear about anyone using our logo or implying our support for Welfare to work
Mark Serwotka was concerned at the report but has always been positive that GMB would never support such sentiments as expressed in the document.
I had not read or seen the document until this all came to light and I have tried to ensure that the GMB position is explained to all who seek clarification.
I am sorry that not everyone is prepared to listen to the explanation.
The good news out of all this is the research we did with Portsmouth Uni is very supportive of our case on the failure of the private sector to do anything on the field of Employment Services except line their pockets.
Anything left unanswered please prompt me
Yours
Paul Kenny

----- Original Message -----
From: Holly Smith
To: Kenny Paul (WI)
Sent: Mon May 23 21:24:20 2011
Subject: RE: Workfare

Hi Paul

No problem. Thanks very for much for replying and taking the time to respond to my concerns. It reassures me to hear that you advocate the Jobcentre workers over private providers. However I am still quite confused. Did you not read all the quotes from the report that I included in my email? Can you not see how, from that, anyone can conclude that the GMB is in support of the proposals that the report makes?

Why was the GMB quoted as saying the report was 'innovative' when it was launched in the House of Lords?
Why did you yourself say that you "welcomed the idea of pilots" of these plans "across the country" if you tell me that you are opposed to them?

Did you know that the report ‘reflects on the importance of outsourcing welfare to work provision to independent providers’, and recommends ‘best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres’. I am confused as what you have to said to me in your email is in contradiction with what the report actually says. You state that the union was "trying to establish facts" and "trying to expose the current payment schemes" but I am at a loss as to how you think this report does this in the slightest. How do you think it does?

You state that the PCS has our full support and this has been made clear to them - so why was Mark Serwotka angry about the report that GMB has put it's name to, and why were PCS members calling out 'shame'?

Can you say unequivocally that the GMB, and yourself, opposes all welfare to work programmes? Can you state that you are opposed to any privatisation or introduction of private providers into the welfare state?

And finally, may I ask if you have actually read the report and what it is recommending? I spent hours reading it on Friday morning, so I was knowledgable about it's content and could make an informed opinion, yet what you are saying in your email is very inconsistent with the report's conclusions.

Sorry for the extensive questions in my email, but I am still confused as to your, and the GMB's position over this, so am just seeking clarity.

Thanks for your time.

Holly.
________________________________________
From: Kenny Paul (EDG) [paul.kenny-edg@gmb.org.uk] On Behalf Of Kenny Paul (WI) [Paul.Kenny-wim@gmb.org.uk]
Sent: 23 May 2011 18:34
To: Holly Smith
Subject: RE: Workfare

Hi Holly,

Sorry about the delay in responding to your note.

The GMB seems to have been accused of supporting Welfare to work.

This is not true.
The GMB appears to have been accused of having some sort of deal or partnership with a company called Kennedy Scott.

This is not true either.

The union has by bitter experience seen the impact of private sector firms on all walks of Public Service Provision.

The Introduction of the Private sector into Employment services is the latest in a long line of political dogma.
These companies which were given contracts by this and the last Government are paid on little more than a revolving door basis.

They are not a patch on the supportive and caring Direct service provided by Jobcentre staff.

The "success" of these companies is held up as evidence to open up more doors for these companies.
The truth is that if they were Judged on the same level of success which Jobcentre plus has in placing people in decent stable sustainable Employment they would lose every time.

The current system of payments to these companies and the criteria they are judged by leaves the person who needs support without it and the taxpayer picks up a bill for lining private sector pockets.


The Union worked with Portsmouth Uni to establish the facts about how these private sector companies had failed the Unemployed and we used the GMB members from Remploy who were throw on the scrapheap and left without proper help because in Money terms they take more time and support to place into suitable and stable mainstream employment.

The Remploy data base claims on how they have helped many thousands of Disabled people into mainstream jobs is highly dubious.

Placing people into Charity shops or collecting Trolleys at Supermarkets is not what everyone wants to do.


The Union therefore is trying to expose the current payment schemes and we believe that Jobcentre plus do and can provide the best most caring service if the measurement used on real success in helping people into work was on a like for like basis.


The PCS has our full support and that has been made clear to them.

The GMB does not support Welfare to work nor will it.

The confusion has been around the use it appears of our logo.
That matter is being dealt with.

Thanks for writing to me and as you can see by my grammar I do as many of my own letters as I can manage.

Yours
Paul Kenny




-----Original Message-----
From: Holly Smith



Sent: 23 May 2011 10:11
To: Kenny Paul (WI)
Subject: FW: Workfare

Hello Paul

I am a GMB shop steward for Brighton Council.
On Friday I sent an email to my Regional and National Officer about great concerns I have about recommendations the GMB has made about a welfare to work programme.
I am not sure if you read your own emails or not, or if a secretary reading this would be able to pass my comments on.
As our General Secretary I am appalled that you appear to be giving your backing to these recommendations and would very much like to hear your comments on this.

Please read my below email for further detail.

Thank you

Holly.


Holly Smith
Contracts Team & GMB Shop Steward
CityClean & CityParks
Brighton and Hove City Council
Hollingdean Depot

>>From: Holly Smith
Sent: 20 May 2011 12:50
Subject: Workfare

Hello Paul and Richard - I was given your names as people to contact about an issue I have. If you are not the right people to discuss this with, please advise me on how I take this forward through the correct channels.

As I am sure you are aware, the PCS trade union is currently holding their Congress in Brighton. I attended a meeting there yesterday at which they launched their new booklet ‘Welfare – An Alternative Vision’, an excellent straightforward and accessible booklet which sets out to debunk the myths around benefit claimants and reinforces why we should all be fighting to defend our welfare state. -
http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/campaigns/welfare-reform/index.cfm

Speakers at the meeting included Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, and John McDonnell MP. They both spoke at length against the introduction of private providers into the welfare service, and were extremely angry about ‘a trade union’ that has come out in support of introducing private providers to work with the DWP, and the ‘welfare to work’ programmes. Eventually someone in the audience shouted out and asked who it was; I was appalled to hear it was the GMB.

I spoke to PCS members at length about this after the meeting, and have been researching it this morning.

In essence, the GMB has, through a report called ‘Welfare to Work in the 21st Century’ made recommendations that the DWP pilot a US Welfare-to-work programme developed by a company called America Works. The report has been authored by an accountancy firm called PKF (!). You can read the full report here:
http://www.pkf.co.uk/web/pkf.nsf/D13546DB143A24CA8025788B004F11EE/$file/Welfare+to+Work+report.pdf

Here are some choice selections from the report itself –

The report ‘reflects on the importance of outsourcing welfare to work provision to independent providers’
The report recommends ‘best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres’
And recommends ‘the Government should robustly monitor the sub-contracting market to ensure that competition is maximised’

I am incredulous that a trade union is actually recommending and encouraging a Tory Government to increase their free- marketeering! Why on earth are we encouraging the opening up of the public sector to private providers? Do we really believe that introducing a profit motive into the public sector ensures the best possible service??

I have been researching the scheme, and the companies involved, this morning. Here are some of my findings -

- The guy who set the company up, a Mr Cove, is described as ‘one of the nation's leading advocates for private solutions to welfare’

- Mr Cove ‘influences policy makers internationally in his belief that private-sector efforts must be tapped by government’. (taken from his own website).

- The company themselves state “work first was a better strategy to reduce welfare than education and training programs”.

- Candidates participate in up to four weeks of unpaid training, focusing on soft skills like ‘developing a positive attitude’

- Employers ‘try out’ each candidate for up to four months during which time they have no employee rights, and if they are found not to be suitable they are simply released!

At the launch of this report in the House of Lords, the GMB described it as ‘innovative’. How about ‘regressive’ or ‘oppressive’? In a statement Paul Kenny said “The GMB is looking at how best to support both our members who are facing redundancy as the public sector cuts bite and those suffering the scourge of long term unemployment. We welcome the idea of pilots across the country to evaluate how best to do this.”

Apart from the immense political and moral objections I have to opening up welfare provision to private providers, cheap labour, subsidising employers, the treatment of the workers who will be forced into these schemes, etc etc., then does the GMB not realise schemes such as this actually takes jobs away from other workers and serves as a mechanism for keeping wages down and profits up?? Why would a private company keep employing a unionised workforce who have fought for a decent salary and terms and conditions, when they could simply sack them all and rely on an army of cheap labour which they get extra subsidies for, who they can have on permanent rotation?

Of course the GMB should be advocating job creation and getting people into work – but absolutely not in this manner. Why not advocate a massive house building programme, that employs skilled labourers to create quality social housing to solve the massive housing crisis we have in this country? Why not push for manufacturing jobs in sustainable technologies? I could go on.

I had a meeting with the other shop stewards in my workplace this morning (who are copied into this email), to discuss this matter. We would like to know why on earth our trade union is actually advocating the further exploitation of the working class. We feel that this report is nothing but an opportunity for private providers to profit from exploiting workers, and is an attack on unemployed workers, an attack on workers in jobs, and essentially an attack on trade unionism and it’s core values.

I would like your advice as to how we progress this complaint further, and also to ask how we go about writing an emergency motion for this to be discussed at Congress.

Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Holly.

Holly Smith
Contracts Team & GMB Shop Steward




CityClean & CityParks
Brighton and Hove City Council
Hollingdean Depot



E-mail Correspondence 23rd May 2011 Between Paul Kenny (GMB) and Tony Greenstein (Brighton Unemployed Centre)


From: Kenny Paul (WI)
To: tony greenstein
Sent: Mon, 23 May, 2011 16:50:53
Subject: RE: GMB Gen. Secretary Paul Kenny Openly Supports Further Privatisation of Public Services


Dear Tony,


Thank you for your latest note and for posting my earlier reply on your blogsite.


I have explained in unambiguous terms the GMB stance on Welfare to Work and our complete opposition.


I have also explained what the GMB position is with regard to highlighting the failure of both this and the previous Governments policy of using Revolving door measurements of the "success" the private sector have been credited with and upon which large amounts of public money has been squandered into the pockets of these private providers.


This Money could have been better directed to help the long term Unemployed and those who are discriminated against such as the Disabled, the Young, Older workers and those other groups Employers tend to be less keen to give fresh opportunity's to such as Ex offenders, and those recovering from some form of substance dependency .


The GMB sought definitive evidence that the current system used to determine payment to these private sector companies are bad value for the person seeking support and for the taxpayer who picks up the bill.


The GMB has always argued that the most cost effective and compassionate support for those seeking work or training comes from direct employed Jobcentre staff. If performance were rated on criteria which applied fairly between the public and private sector the public sector wins and wins big. The pilot scheme you refer to is one where these criteria can be tested.


The current situation cannot be challenged by merely passing resolutions and then wandering home.


Those who deliver Public Services by direct means have been undermined for years by various forms of CCT, Best Value and every other form of excuse to privatise a public service.


The GMB has no agreement with any company engaged in this type of work that I am aware of with the exception of Remploy and their record of assisting disabled workers into mainstream employment is highly dubious.


The GMB operates in the real world. It is no good pretending that these difficult situations don't exist.


The retreat to the leafy lanes of XXXX is not an option for everyone.


In your comments to my earlier email ( which incidentally I sent to you at 11-22am on Sunday Morning) you said that you did not need to verify any of your conclusions since you had been present when Mark Serwotka had made all these allegations against the GMB.


I have spoken to Mark, who knows GMB well and he has advised my that he made no such attack on GMB.


It is clear that Mark and colleagues from PCS have every right to seek an explanation and an Understanding of the GMB position.


The support for our comrades in PCS in their struggle is unwavering and I don't think Mark doubts that for one moment.


It appears therefore that you have made a wild and unhelpful attempt to create a split between 2 Unions who are having to face up to this Governments Cuts to our services.


In conclusion, I accept that anybody who supports Welfare to Work and Exploitation of the Unemployed are beneath contempt.


In fact the only lower form of life I can think of is someone who would get Young Unemployed persons recruited at something like the TUC conference as Stewards and then take a portion of their meagre Lunch expenses as a FINDERS FEE.


Some Low life's about eh?


yours


Paul Kenny

GMB Gen. Secretary Paul Kenny Openly Supports Further Privatisation of Public Services

From: tony greenstein


To: Kenny Paul (WI)


Cc: RegionalSecretaries@gmb.org.uk


Sent: Mon, 23 May, 2011






Dear Paul,


It seems that my comments have hit home. I posted your reply on my blog because this is a matter of public concern. It is not a private matter and your e-mail was not headed 'private'. This e-mail will also be made public.


I am disappointed though that you immediately resort to trying to shoot the messenger rather than dealing with the message by instructing your local minions to try and dig up some dirt on me. Unfortunately their attempts at 'research' are on a par with the Report that you have endorsed. What it does reveal is that you know your position is indefensible. Knowing that by the time the truth gets its boots on, lies have gone 12 leagues round the world, I will comment briefly on the personal allegations:


i. Yes I rent a house in xxxx and I claim housing benefit. So what? I suspect it is worth far less than the house that you live in. I also happen to have my autistic son live with me and there is therefore a need to be near his mother. His mother also cares for him and she lives in xxxx. Do you have a problem with that? One thing is for certain. I don't receive the £80,000+ a year which is the going rate for General Secretaries, to say nothing of the expense accounts and allowances. Try to remember, every time you dine out on the union, you are spending a few annual subscriptions. In fact New Labour got a 1,000 votes in the Council elections, so it can't be that leafy!


ii. Yes there are some low lifes around. E.g. union officials who get into bed with anti-union private American companies who are involved in workfare and 'welfare reform' - which are merely different sides of the same exploitative coin. The quality of your 'research' probably explains why I have ended up in the past 2 years representing at least 2 of your members in disciplinary/grievance hearings and employment tribunals, despite my being a member of UNISON. I won £32,000 at the Brighton employment tribunal for one of your members, for unfair dismissal, after the GMB simply dropped the case of a builder [whose name I can give confidentially] who was summarily sacked. Likewise I took up the case of an Asian woman and GMB member who worked for Hove YMCA. She was being racially harassed and bullied and then put on a disciplinary for capability. After your official failed to provide support, I had to submit a grievance, attend numerous disciplinary and grievance hearings before she was exonerated and her pay restored. This is all a matter of public record.


But since I did the work that the GMB did, maybe you'd like to compensate the unemployed centre for the work involved - at solicitor rates about £5,000. You might also like to compensate your member as we do ET cases on a CFA [no win, no fee] of 20% and therefore the unemployed centre received over five thousand pounds which the union should pay.


To deal with your specific allegation. If anyone had charged a 'finders fee' for stewards at the TUC Conference they would be drummed out of the unemployed centre without a moments thought. But of course those you got this information from are second hand gossips and liars. What we did do was to make it a condition, for those who wanted to become stewards, to pay a £10 donation to the local Refugee Trust, a charity which the Unemployed Centre helped set up. The Refugee Trust provides support for asylum seekers and refugees who have no other means of public support. Do you have a problem with this? Does the GMB provide any help at all to asylum seekers and refugees? I look forward to your apology for getting it wrong again. Your union represents many of those who have brutalised and abused asylum seekers in detention such as in G4S. Your crocodile tears over these alleged 'finders fees' are just that.


To deal with more substantive matters:


i. You say that 'I have explained in unambiguous terms the GMB stance on Welfare to Work and our complete opposition.'


Do you actually read what you put your name to? The Report with Kennedy Scott, 'the road to work and opportunity in the 21st century' is subtitled ‘welfare to work’ in the 21st century'. Section 1.3 'emphasises the importance of 'those delivering welfare to work provision coming from the public, private and voluntary sectors;' Section 1.5 speaks of 'the effectiveness of social networks and outplacement arrangements (alongside welfare to work provision) in mitigating the impact of unemployment.' and 'having a presence for welfare to work providers in Job Centres to enable assistance to be provided as early as possible.'


There are so many other favourable references to 'welfare to work' that I can only conclude that you have not read the report you have endorsed. To me that is even more shocking.


Yes we are well aware of the 'revolving door' nature of these make-work schemes. That is why I am surprised that you continue to advocate the same, with the added ingredient that the person placed will have a longer time before they leave, not least because of the coercive measures use to ensure that they put up with lousy conditions.


These programs are not designed to help particularly vulnerable sections of society but to ensure that welfare provision is kept at a minimum by forcing e.g. the disabled into work regardless of their own needs. They are not an added bonus but part of the overall demolition of the welfare safety net.


You speak of money being 'squandered into the pockets of these private providers.' Agreed. So why co-sponsor a Report with one of these providers?


You say that 'The GMB has always argued that the most cost effective and compassionate support for those seeking work or training comes from direct employed Jobcentre staff.' I find that difficiult to square with arguing for 'a presence for welfare to work providers in Job Centres to enable assistance to be provided as early as possible.'


I don't doubt that 'The GMB operates in the real world. It is no good pretending that these difficult situations don't exist.' I don't think you need to teach your granny how to suck eggs. However there is a difference between operating in the real world and advocating measures that make that real world even worse for the most exploited. The question is how you change that world, not how you adapt to it.


You say that you have spoken to Mark Serwotka and that he made no such attack on the GMB. I didn't say that he had attacked the GMB, but as you admit, he has every right to seek an explanation from you. The point though is why you didn't consult with him before embarking on this Report.


What I did say was that 'Mark Serwortka, PCS General Secretary made mention of the fact that there was a trade union in Britain which had come out in favour of more privatisation of job centres in Britain and had even co-authored a pamphlet with one such pirate, the US Workfare company Kennedy Scott. It emerged that the union was the GMB.'


Likewise Holly Smith, a GMB steward who you will no doubt subject to the same defamation as myself, was at the meeting and wrote that:


'Speakers at the meeting included Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary, and John McDonnell MP. They both spoke at length against the introduction of private providers into the welfare service, and were extremely angry about ‘a trade union’ that has come out in support of introducing private providers to work with the DWP, and the ‘welfare to work’ programmes. Eventually someone in the audience shouted out and asked who it was; I was appalled to hear it was the GMB.'


I have no interest whatsoever in creating a split between PCS and the GMB. You seem to have managed that entirely by yourself.


You state that 'anybody who supports Welfare to Work and Exploitation of the Unemployed are beneath contempt.' I agree. And now we are in agreement I trust you will, as they say of government ministers, consider your position.


regards,


Tony Greenstein


Secretary - Brighton Unemployed Centre


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