It seems we touched on a sore nerve as I got an early Sunday morning reply to my blog.
More Privatisation is Less!
Thanks for your note.
I am sorry that you choose to send long ranting inaccurate emails in the early hours of the Morning which could have been avoided had you sought any type of verification of your claims from those you have made such wild attacks upon.
The story you peddle of the GMB being in support of workfare is pure drivel and a lie.
The GMB has always given a clear line that the best option is direct Employment Services provided by Job centre staff.
The last Government and this one have pursued a policy of opening up the provision of Employment services to the private sector in a clear attempt to undermine direct services and line the pockets of private companies.
All this I am sure you know.
The GMB has sponsored a report by Portsmouth Uni which seeks to show that this system of private sector engagement has failed the Long term unemployed and is in effect just a Revolving door method of obtaining. Payments with no concerns for the real needs of the person blighted by Unemployment.
The GMB knowledge of what happened to the thousands of ex Remploy workers thrown on the unemployment list shows the truth.
The undermining of Job centre plus by these types of schemes is the challenge we are taking on.
We believe that were the payments these companies are currently creaming off the state only paid on long term results similar to the standards applied by Job centre staff then almost all would quit the market in the Uk.
I am sorry that instead of repeating half cocked rumours everyone concerned had bothered to make a simple phone call or drop a note if they had concerns.
For the final purposes of Clarity the GMB does not support Workfare it never has and never will.
The GMB supports the direct provision of services to the Unemployed and those services are best delivered through Job centre plus operations.
GMB believes if the time and personal care approach were adopted to helping and supporting the Unemployed were the bench marks for Government then direct services would beat the private sector hands down.
If you would like to discuss this further I am happy to meet.
I suspect your suggestion that the GMB is a right wing Union is based on your lack of knowledge of our Union or perhaps this was more garbage peddled by those who have other agenda's against the GMB or the wider TU movement.
Response to Paul Kenny
i. I should have sought 'verification' first. I have the Report by me now. I heard what Mark Serwotka said with my own ears. What more confirmation do I need?
ii. Whether the GMB supports Workfare officially is besides the point. Kennedy Scott, America Works and all the other pirate privatisers Kenny is working with support and operate working for your dole. The example of someone working for 4 months unpaid is what they say, not me. And likewise the agency worker set-up deprives those taken on of all employee and workers' rights. That is a fact that no amount of squirming Kenny can get away from.
iii. Yes we know the system of private sector employment in the DWP has failed. That is what makes your suggest for more involvement even more weird.
iv. You speak of 'The undermining of Job centre plus by these types of schemes is the challenge we are taking on.' How is this compatible with '‘the importance of outsourcing welfare to work provision to independent providers… The government should recognise that best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres’ ?
v. The primary reason that the long-term unemployed are let down is called 'capitalism' older, sicker workers don't get taken on because they are not seen as profitable. That is as true in the US as here. Except that what is being advocated is their super-exploitation as a solution. Find me any mention in the Report of Workers' Rights or trade unionisation. You know these are anti-union scum have managed to win over the more stupid of our trade union leaders, i.e. you.
vi. If you really believed that 'The GMB supports the direct provision of services to the Unemployed and those services are best delivered through Job centre plus operations.' then it is a strange way to go about it to call for the involvement of a more systemised private involvement in such services and for a continuation of payments by results.
vii. You deny that the GMB is a right-wing union. That is how it is perceived, as witnessed in your attempt to minimise criticism of Israel, the US's strategic ally in the Middle East, after the Gaza war. The only time it joined the mainstream left unions was under your predecessor John Edmonds. If you were on the Left, instead of getting into bed with American cowboys you would be supporting those who wish to seek an end to New Labour's attack on the unemployed and its use of these privateers. Instead you try to make the system work with an alteration to how these people are paid. The reason that the weakest are left on the dole is because of something called capitalism - it doesn't pay to employ the weak. No amount of make-work schemes will alter that.
I assume that the GMB under your successor will put itself in the forefront of the campaign against benefit cuts to the disabled and unemployed so that those without work aren't impoverished too.
Your reply is wholly disingenuous. It purports to support a public service but gives up on it and gets into bed with our enemies instead.
PS: I should have added that I am prepare to meet Paul Kenny with representatives of Brighton Claimants Group but it's very much a question of closing the stables after the horse has bolted!
Extracts from the GMB-Kennedy Scott Report
‘The government should recognise that best practice is for contractors to have a presence in job centres’
‘the Government should robustly monitor the sub-contracting market to ensure that competition is maximised’
The Report speaks of ‘improving the employability of the long-term unemployed group’ and
‘the importance of delivering welfare to work provision coming from the public, private and voluntary sectors’.
It speaks of ‘the importance of a more competitive Work Programme tendering process in the future.’
‘It is surely in the national interest that this happens (shorter periods of unemployment). The country is facing the biggest change to the welfare system in 50 years’
‘America has already had considerable experience of these initiatives and there is much to learn.’ It speaks of the ‘work and ethos of Kennedy Scott’ and quotes uncritically the Freud Report that advocated ‘(1) a tightening of conditionality for lone parents;... Significantly the DWP stressed a new personalised and responsive approach…’
‘In particular through the competitive tendering process, DWP stressed its desire to contract delivery partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors.’ But
‘Redundancy can be a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity to start again. It is unlikely that the Jobcentre Plus will be able to provide suitable services for former professionals… conversely, a network is emerging which is based on voluntarism and social entrepreneurship.’
‘Another idea the government should consider is encouraging welfare to work providers to have a presence in Job Centres.’
‘it is important to take account of the more generous benefits system (and the consequential greater difficulty in getting claimants back to work).’
In other words benefits too high and discourage work. Benefits therefore should therefore be lowered (because of course raising wages runs contrary to all notions of privatisation and the free market). The Right calls this the 'dependency culture.'
The Report speaks positively of
‘Outsourcing and contracting-out have a longer history with the 1988 and 1992 Local Government Acts requiring local authorities to competitively tender services such as street cleaning and refuse collection.’
as justification for introducing Kennedy Scott into existing programmes.
The Report speaks of
‘8 client groups ranging from jobseekers under the age of 25 to Employment and Support Allowance recipients who had formerly received Incapacity Benefit. Contractors will receive incentivised fees to deliver successful employment outcomes…. contractors will receive… thirteen four weekly sustainment payments of £215 to encourage in-work support and job retention.’
In short nearly £3,000 pounds which would have stayed with the DWP will be frittered away on parasites like KS whilst benefits are cut and wages lowered.
The Report speaks of a
‘full outsourced recruitment service’ and ‘The introduction of ‘Work Choice’ by the DWP is also to be welcomed as support for people with disabilities seeking employment,… '