Archives For working conditions

AltGen, a new co-operative dedicated to showing young people alternative ways of work as an option out of the unstable, unforgiving and broken jobs market, are re-invigorating the necessities of not just valued work, but social justice and equality.

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On Tuesday 22nd July, AltGen put on their first event – ‘Create Your Own Work.’ Places sold out, and rightly so, as AltGen position themselves at the beginning of a new movement of alternatives for the under-served young people of the UK. Their website reads:

“AltGen supports 18-29 year olds to set up workers co-operatives as a way of
reclaiming control over our work and creating a more equal and sustainable future.

“We are told time and time again we are the generation without a future.
For the first time ever we are inheriting an economic reality worse than our parents.

“Well every crisis creates opportunity and its time we turned this situation around!

“Lets stop competing and start collaborating. Lets come together and start creating an alternative future.
One where we are in control of our work, get paid to do what we love and have a positive social impact.”

‘Create Your Own Work’ allowed a space to discuss the problems of the current system and the desires we would have of a new one. Further than that, AltGen demonstrated their commitment to inspiring and motivating people’s ideas by bringing in experienced and valued speakers from co-operatives that have had a long and successful journey, to ones just starting out. With their help, audience members began to visualize and logically think about the steps needed to begin their own projects and co-operatives, turning ideas into attainable tasks.

AltGen are an inspiring and much needed idea, which offers young people the ability to regain their independence from a negligent economy and also allows them to fill their work with the moral guidelines the current system is so bereft of. Using the crisis of youth unemployment as an opportunity to build a better, collective alternative is a solid way out of the lonely, competitive rat race which has pulled society further apart.

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Be sure to keep up to date with AltGen’s work by visiting their site and signing up to their newsletter, or liking them on Facebook here.

Below we quote some of the sage advice offered up by one of the speakers, Siôn Whellans from Calverts, which gives us a glimpse into the working conditions and attitude to work there could be for more of us.

“We’re graphic designers and printers. My worker’s co-op was founded in 1977 at the beginning of the last big wave of new worker’s co-ops in this country. The people who set it up, I’m not a founding member – all the founding members have gone now, and they set it up because they were working for an arts organization which decided to close them down and they decided to set up a worker’s co-op, because they thought they could earn a living and do some good stuff.

“A lot of them were involved in political and social activity – the anti-apartheid movement, food, all sorts of things. But in those days the Internet was print and poster design and typesetting. But they set it up in a small way, none of them had any money, all of them were about 23/24. They borrowed a little bit of money, they semi-squatted a place until they could get a landlord to make an agreement with them. They started off with some desktop duplicators and [basic equipment] doing community newsletters and poster making and stuff like that. At the beginning, a lot of them were on the dole and they made the commitment that, as there were 7 of them, if half of them couldn’t get off the dole on some kind of wage after six months they’d stop, and then after a year everyone would stop.

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“They traded, they made a bit of money, they bought better equipment. It was always about getting better at what they did. And then they went out, took a deep breath and borrowed money from some capitalists and bought a printing press and really that’s the way the co-op started and it’s the way it’s always gone. We’ve moved three times, started off in Farringdon, did 15 years in Shoreditch to 12 years in Bethnal Green.

“At the moment we have 12 working members. We’re designing and producing website and print. We have decent wages. We have a 35 hour working week – you’re on time and a half after that. Our basic hourly rate is £17.65 an hour. We have six weeks holiday. We have paid sick leave. We have very good conditions.

“Our co—op is also hyper-equal, everybody gets the same rate if they’re in a full time qualified job at the co-op. We don’t have any bosses or line managers. We have no external shareholders. We’re a common ownership co-op – all the assets in the co-op are owned in common. When you come, you come with nothing. When you leave, you leave with nothing. It gets left in there and built up over the years, that’s the idea. It’s a great place to work.

“Part of why I’m here is because it’s important for a grown up co-op like ours to reconnect with it’s roots, we want to make bonds with the new generation but we also want to pass on what we’ve learned about how to do it well and get the things we want which I express as decent work, and there’s an International Labour Market definition of what decent work is, a culture of equality at work – absolute equality. Everyone is equal. The opportunity to develop ourselves, our skills, our capacity as human beings as well as workers and the opportunity to self-manage our working lives which is what we’ve done.”

Image: AltGen

Image: AltGen

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

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1) Rebekah Brooks walks free, Andy Coulson faces jail, David Cameron desperate to limit reputation damage 

Astoundingly, Rebekah Brooks, former editor of the infamous News Of The World, walked free from court, escaping all charges, despite extensive evidence of industrial scale phone hacking across News International newspapers.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

Andy Coulson on the other hand, faced jail for his part in the scandal, with evidence that Coulson continued to be paid by News Interational after his departure and during his employment by Cameron. PM David Cameron was forced to apologise for his appointment of Coulson as his spin doctor, despite the fact the PM was warned repeatedly against hiring Coulson. Cameron was reprimanded however, for speaking out against Coulson during the trial, which could have jeopardised the 8 month long case, costing millions of pounds.

Cameron called Coulson a liar before the decisions were handed down. On BBC Question Time, Conservative MP Anna Soubry claimed that Cameron had never called Coulson a friend, which is a complete lie. Cameron said Coulson was a ‘close friend’ and this attempt to remove himself from his actions should not be tolerated.

Read more about this story here.

2) Wonga sends out thousands of fake letters from fake law firms to threaten customers

Between October 2008 and November 2010, Wonga, a company with only a few dozen staff, sent out 45,000 threatening letters from fake law firms threatening to take action against customers.

Though reluctant at first, the Metropolitan police did a u-turn on committing a criminal investigation, following public outrage that the matter was not being taken seriously.

Image: Periscopix

Image: Periscopix

Wonga released a statement admitting they were a smaller company then, though refrained from mentioning whether the management knew anything about the letters. Though one could wonder how 45,000 letters could leave an office of 31 (excluding the IT dept) and it was all some sort of initiative taken on by workers which was not known by management. Maybe they had a rogue reporter letter writer, eh?

Read more about this story here.

3) ‘Cries for help’ found sewn into Primark clothing

Primark is beginning an investigation into it’s own stores and supply chains after three ‘cries for help’ were found by shoppers sewn into garments.

Two of the tags read ‘Forced to work exhausting hours’ and “Degrading sweatshop conditions.”

Image: Daily Star

Image: Daily Star

 

Primark has batted off allegations of bad working conditions for workers abroad, and say they have a strict code of ethics.

Though, it does not seem appropriate for Primark to investigate themselves, as they will want to limit reputation damage and their interests are in the profit of the business. They have also already said they believe the labels are a hoax.

Read more about this story here.

4) Protestors mock Tesco with fake price tags about the Living Wage

Living Wage protestors have targeted Tesco stores by changing price tags on shelves to read the below:

 

Image: The Mirror

Image: The Mirror

 

Tags end with “‘Wow! £1.39billion pre tax profits in the six months to August 24 2013.’

Stefan Baskerville, Citizens UK organiser, said

“Working with ShareAction we are calling on Tesco to consider how implementation of the Living Wage could help tackle in-work poverty for their lowest paid staff.

“The Living Wage is a robust calculation that reflects the real cost of living, rewarding a hard day’s work with a fair day’s pay.”

The protests come before the Tesco annual general meeting, and with the previous Primark story coming to light, it seems the issues to do with low pay and working conditions cannot be ignored.

Read more about this story here.

5) Tory MPs demand early break up of coalition

Senior Tory backbenchers have demanded the early break up of the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition following reports that Conservatives could lose up to 12 seats to UKIP at the next election, forcing them to fall short of winning a majority.

The Bow Group who put forward the estimates have pushed MPs to put forward proposals to break up before the 2015 Election, saying that the Conservative party needs to make drastic moves on policy of immigration and Europe if it is stand a chance next year, and these issues are where the coalition strongly differ.

It should also be noted that the Conservative party have won by a lesser and lesser majority at each election over the last 3 decades, with the election in 2010 forcing them into a coalition to gain any power. The membership of the Tory party has also halved since they came to power.

Read more about this story here.

6) Labour backs trespass laws on fracking, says Energy Minister

Energy Minister Michael Fallon said that the Labour Party has confirmed it will back new trespass laws on fracking which allow shale gas companies to frack under homes without permission, despite public feeling going against the laws.

“A recent YouGov survey of 1,898 people found that 74% opposed the controversial move, which underpins efforts to drive a “shale gas revolution” that could see fracking across swathes of the UK.

“More than 45,000 people around the country have already joined legal moves to block energy companies from fracking under their properties, but a change to the trespass laws could allow companies to explore for shale gas without needing their permission.”

Click Green, June 2014

Image: BBC - Gas test Well

Image: BBC – Gas test Well

Read more about this story here.

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

“As the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission (2013: 6) recently concluded, ‘a comprehensive approach to tackling in-work poverty is the missing piece of the Government’s policy jigsaw’.”

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The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has released some research on tackling low-pay. The report, Rewarding Work For Low Pay Workers, looked at possible ways to deal with the growing problem of low pay, and to find the causes of it’s prevalence. The growth of in-work poverty is damaging, and tackling low pay is one way of addressing the issue, though the JRF noted, it is not the full story.

The report found that the complexity of the issue could lead to no single one size fits all approach, but there are definite actions that could improve the jobs landscape and opportunities for jobseekers.

Image: The Telegraph

Image: The Telegraph

Encouraging better pay from those who can afford it

“There are organisations, including large organisations in sectors with a high incidence of low pay such as retail, that could clearly pay substantially more to those they employ, either directly or through contractors, without this having any discernible impact on costs or profits,” according to the JRF report.

However, the report also highlights that this is not universally true, and smaller companies or contractors struggle to pay the National Minimum Wage, thus “policymakers prefer to play safe and combine a modest NMW with tax credits for low-income households.” This has meant that while the NMW has abolished “extreme low pay,” it hasn’t stopped the widening numbers of those on low pay, as large companies who can afford to pay more take advantage of tax credits and the state help to top up wages.

Concentrating the help the state can give to those who most need it would be helpful here, but this over-widening of resources and help to the point of benefitting those that don’t need benefitting is common in other areas of policy too.

Take for example the introduction of childcare vouchers by George Osbourne last year. Families earning up to £300,000 can claim £1200 in childcare vouchers to help them get into work or work more. However, the scope to upper levels of income in this scheme take away concentrated life-changing help from those in need, who are at the bottom of the pay scale. We spoke about this with Giselle Cory, from the Resolution Foundation a while back:

“I think a much better way to spend the money, is to make sure the people who can be persuaded into work and can be helped into work… we focus whatever funds we can on childcare for these families, because it’s firstly, unlikely that higher income families would change their decision about work based on that support, and secondly, it’s unlikely that a large proportion of their income would be taken up by childcare. So we’re not changing their lives much. We’re helping them a little bit, but the life changing stuff is for the people on low incomes. The government have proposed £200 million of extra childcare for this group, but the problem is that £200 million doesn’t really go far enough. You either have to target a specific sub-group or it’s spread out amongst everyone and you lessen it’s bite significantly.”

In a similar way, concentrating tax credits and help to smaller companies who are struggling to pay the NMW would allow more resources for those who distinctly need it, and less cost to the taxpayer for topping up wages that can be afforded by the employer.

“Influence of Conceptual frameworks”

Amongst the organisations where low pay is present but not necessary, conceptual motivations can help push them to pay more. Hence when the Living Wage concept entered the mainstream and companies were called on to adopt the wage voluntarily, many did in order to align themselves with being good employers. Awareness in the public field and reputation can encourage employers who are able to raise wages to do so.

“It is no wonder that organisations most willing to sign the pledge on the Living Wage are large, highly profitable corporates in sectors such as banking and finance (Bain, 2013).”

One very successful example of this is the “Best Companies to Work For” list. This has often been “cited as a reason why some large employers in sectors such as retail choose to pay employees more than the NMW or offer an array of non-wage benefits to boost their reputation in the eyes of employees, potential employees, customers and the community at large.”

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Adding value to low wage employers

“But what would be of little consequence for these organisations is at the same time likely to result in a significant profit squeeze for many low-paying organisations. Those that find this difficult – where raising prices means less business and they’re unable to absorb costs through increased efficiency – may have little choice other than to cut the number of people they employ or the hours of work they offer simply in order to survive, to the detriment of low-paid workers themselves.”

On the other side of the scale are the companies who would struggle with raising wages, and this JRF report looked into ways to improve the working conditions and benefits for employees that could see an increase in value in the job and employee experiences.

“With increased demand for higher level knowledge skills generally outstripping increased supply, the underlying tendency has been for pay at the top of the distribution to rise relative to the pay in the middle. By contrast, the supply of people seeking work in service-oriented jobs has generally exceeded demand, thereby depressing pay toward the level of the NMW, making the UK’s low-paid labour market, in the words of the first Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, ’increasingly bottom heavy’ (Bain 2013).”

As well as this, rewards and non-pay benefits have also stalled in the make up of low pay organisations. Between 2004-2011 there was “no general increase in the provision of flexible working practices; indeed, the proportion of workplace managers who consider balancing work and family responsibilities as down to individual employees rather than the organisation increased from 56% to 71%.”

These attitudes are also symptomatic of a jobs market which is moving in the direction of greater (undue) power to the employer, whilst reducing power and stability for the employee. These conditions are growing in the jobs market with statistics from the ONS last week revealing that 1.4 million Brits are not on Zero hour contracts with one in ten employers now using these casual employment contracts, that do not commit employers to holiday pay, sick pay or a minimum promise of work.

The JRF report stated, “given that labour turnover is costly and low employee morale can be detrimental to their productivity or overall organisational performance, it is thus contended that low-paying organisations could improve their financial bottom line by improving the working conditions of their employees.”

This is also conducive to other benefits for the employee and wider society:

“The Government Office for Science, through the Foresight Unit, has stressed the importance of good working conditions to mental well-being in the workplace and society as a whole (Foresight Unit, 2008).”

The JRF used the example of the care sector, to demonstrate where rewarding workplaces are necessary in low pay sectors, to provide a good service, as documented in the final report of the Commission on Dignity in Care for Older People (2012:13):

“Caring for older people is skilled, demanding and often stressful work. Staff who are appropriately trained and who feel valued and empowered to make decisions will be the ones who support dignified care. Staff who are denied the right to training and development, who do not feel valued by their organisation, who are not encouraged by their managers, and who do not feel that they have the freedom to make the right decisions for patients and residents are far more likely to deliver poor care.”

However, improving working conditions can differ in meaning and approach from workplace to workplace. “The Good Work Commission, established by the Work Foundation, describes the concept of GW (Good Work) as ‘inherently ambiguous’, with some definitions emphasising the interests of the employees while others focus on what it means for employers and the wider community. According to the Commission, for employees GW concerns the development of skills; choice, flexibility and control over working hours and the pace of work; trust, communication and the ability to have a say in decisions that affect them; and a balance between effort and reward. For employers, GW is about engaging employees to encourage their contribution to organisational success. For the community, GW is about organisations being socially aware, ethical and sustainable.”

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This requires the close attention and respect of the role of human resources and development (HRM/D). Managers and owners would need to lock into what would make a difference to their employees. The JRF noted that the presence of HRM/D personnel lowered the smaller a company or workplace got, however, their presence is also not useful unless they are committed to making a difference.

“If managers merely pay lip service to HRM/D practices, this will limit their effectiveness. But this lip-service effect might itself be a reflection of deeper inadequacy in leadership and management, or indicative of a low-trust organisational cultures that also impinges on performance.”

The effect of creating better working environments and resourceful, supportive management approaches has long been considered effective for employee, who gains the benefits of this environment, and employer, who gains a more efficient and productive employee. The ideas behind improving HRM/D have gathered pace in the last few years, “so much so that ‘personnel economics’ is now considered a major sub-field in labour economics” (Bloom & van Reenan, 2010).

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But it is the application of these approaches which could see their downfall for low wage employers, especially when taking into consideration the poor skill levels of managers in the UK:

“Given this, improving the quality of management and leadership might be a more appropriate means of improving organisational performance than the adoption of HRM/D practices per se – a possibility strengthened by evidence that UK managers are less well qualified than managers in other advanced economies despite being far greater in number (there are 4.8 million ‘managers and senior officials’ in the UK, accounting for one in six people in employment; Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) 2012).

“The definition of ‘manager’ is more loosely applied in the UK compared with other countries – hence the large management cadre – but only one in five has a management-related qualification and of these fewer than two in five are qualified at NVQ level 44 or above. According to the UKCES, only one in three organisations provide management training, another report for the government also commenting that ‘UK provision of leadership and management training tends to be ad hoc rather than strategic’ (BIS 2012: 20).

“Studies suggest that this comparative deficit in management quality contributes to the UK’s well-known productivity gap with major competitors and results in the UK having a ‘long-tail of poorly managed firms’ (ibid).

“One consequence of this is that UK managers are found to be slower and less successful at translating new management practices into improved performance than their counterparts in France, Germany and the United States. Survey-based analysis also shows a statistical relationship between organisations’ commitment to management and leadership development, related HRM/D practices and organisational performance measures (McBain et al 2012). The relationship was found to be associated with a 23% variation in organisational performance measures, though no direct causal process was demonstrated.”

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The report concluded that there was no clear single answer to tackling low pay, but that a campaign that encourages workplaces to become ‘Anti-poverty Employers’ or something similar could help improve the working conditions and pay in some companies.

Further, HRM/D could help companies who already struggle to pay their staff at NMW to add value to the employment they offer. However, certain industries such as care and hospitality which may be contracted and thus, the aim is to keep costs as low as possible, or that the sector is historically a low paid industry with factors that maintain the pressure on low wages, need closer attention, as the effects of improving the working conditions and pay in these sectors can bear the fruit of better service and efficiency – which these sectors are built to provide.

Facts from Rewarding Work For Low Paid Workers:

  • “At one in six private-sector workplaces, at least a quarter of employees were paid an hourly rate at or below the adult National Minimum Wage (the proportion is as high as two in five in the wholesale and retail sectors; and one in four in the hotel and restaurant sectors). The corresponding proportion in the public sector is 1 in 40.”
  • “The hospitality, retail and cleaning sectors together account for over half (54%) of minimum wage jobs, while social are, childcare, transport, food processing and storage each account for between 3% and 4%.”
  • “The incidence of low pay rises as the size of organisation falls: minimum wage jobs account for one in 20 jobs in large firms (250 or more
    employees) but one in twelve in small firms (10–49 employees) and one in eight in micro-firms (1–9) employees.”
  • “If the Living Wage were paid universally in the private sector, the government would at present save £3.6 billion from increased tax revenues, higher National Insurance contributions and reduced spending on tax credits to the low paid.”

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass

I’m With Bob

kamsandhu —  March 18, 2014 — 1 Comment

By Thomas Barlow

So I was going to try and do a tongue-in-cheek, satirical remembrance of Bob Crow that lauded his achievements whilst chastising his enemies in a humorous way, but Mark Steele beat me to that – and unfortunately he is just far better than me in every department. So instead let me launch into a straight, good old tub thumping tirade against his detractors, who hypocritically came out to mourn his death this week.

The amount of stick he got for ridiculous things like daring to have a holiday (A holiday?! IN BRAZIL?! How f***ing dare he?!) may well have been a contributory factor to his sudden and unfortunate passing, so let Boris and the other thoughtless reactionaries shut their traps and consider Bob’s true worth for a moment. I am going to use a phrase that is unpopular because of it’s bland Marxist connotations, but it is true to say that he was a true working class militant. Tony Benn’s passing is a tragedy and he was truly principled and fine person, but when it comes to organising and standing alongside the majority of people (what we used to call the working class), Bob delivered results.

It is dangerous and wrong to mythologise one person so I shall try to refrain from doing so.  It can only be hoped that the RMT carry on in the vein of form they have with Bob, and knowing many of the members, I think it is a safe bet that they will continue. But what Bob represented was not just a straight talking, working class, Millwall fan. He represented success.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

When I make arguments for unionisation nowadays I always ask the following questions; ‘Do you like your weekends mate?  Your lunch breaks?  8 hour days? Nearer pay equality for men and women? Holidays?  Not being killed at work?Not seeing your kids working 16 hour shifts for a pittance? Hell, what about the vote for the majority of people, the Welfare state and a good deal of our civil liberties?’

‘Because you can thank the unions for that, and most importantly, all the people within them, who for 150 years were ridiculed, oppressed, beaten and killed for daring to be in one.’

Thanks to the RMT and Bob I could go further. ‘Do you think everyone has to have their pay slashed?  Lose jobs with no notice?  Work zero hour contracts?  Do unpaid internships?  The RMT crews don’t!’

Unbelievably this is one of the things that irritated some people the most about Bob and the RMT.  ‘We all get shafted in the private sector, why should they get better conditions?’

Well firstly, we probably shouldn’t keep supporting privatisation if the only thing guaranteed from it is a good shafting for the majority of people who work in that sector.

More importantly though, whilst people are right to bemoan the shafting they get at their work places, the solution isn’t to hope everyone else gets corn-holed equally roughly. It is like asking to be the whip hand on a plantation, who gets to beat the others before taking your own stripes across the back. It is the mentality of miserable oppression, and shows our innate inability to celebrate improvement for each other.

This is how we lose, and yet Bob showed us how we can win.  We want a living wage.  We can strike.  We want real contracts.  We can strike.  We want civil liberties, working healthcare and social care and genuine prospects for a lost generation. We can strike.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it is not as easy as all that.

There is more than enough wrong with the unions, with their super mergers, their obsequiousness to the Labour party and their moronic and cowardly representation of our struggles. But the Unions are what we make them, any social struggle is.

We cannot expect those above us to do things for us, we have to do it ourselves.

I am sure Bob would not mind me saying that it wasn’t him who won the negotiations and struggles for his members.  It was the members who won them, united, militant and ready to take the flak.  And Bob was there with them, every step of the way.

So if we get together, and we look at all the tactics available to us to cause trouble for the elite, and we are prepared to use them, regardless of the violence and abuse that will be chucked at us, we can have more than holidays and the vote – we could actually win a life worth living.

It’s what Bob would have wanted.

Image: Sabcat

Image: Sabcat

1) Half of families hit by ‘bedroom tax’ now in debt

The bedroom tax has pushed more than half of those affected by it into debt, in the first three months since its launch.

The National Housing Federation (NHF) reported that in a survey of 51 of it’s biggest housing association members, more than half of tenants affected could not pay their rent between April and June.

The findings come after UN Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik was caught in a row with Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps over the spare room subsidy. Rolnik put out a press release last week asking the government to suspend the levy after her investigation into housing found that it may be in breach of human rights. Shapps hit back at Rolnik claiming that she had not spoken to the appropriate officials, and even wrote to the UN to complain.

The findings of the NHF will now come as a blow to Shapps and the government.

NHF Chairman, David Orr will now follow Rolnik’s argument. He is expected to say: “Housing associations are working flat-out to help their tenants cope with the changes, but they can’t magic one-bedroom houses out of thin air. People are trapped. What more proof do politicians need that the bedroom tax is an unfair, ill-planned disaster that is hurting our poorest families? There is no other option but to repeal.”

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

Bedroom Tax Protest Image: birminghamagainstthecuts.co.uk

Read more about this story here.

2) Labour announce policies, including scrapping of ‘bedroom tax’ and sacking of ATOS

Labour have announced that they will scrap the ‘bedroom tax’ and sack French healthcare group, ATOS who provide the fit-to-work tests, should the party win the next general election.

Other policies include strengthening the offence laws on disability hate crime, which are thought to have risen in part due to the “benefit scrounger” rhetoric pushed by government and media. Ed Miliband has also promised to strengthen the minimum wage.

The Labour Party Conference was held on Sunday, in Brighton. For many campaigners, the news that Labour will take strong action against the mis-handlings of the benefits system, pay, fit-to-work tests and ‘bedroom tax’ comes as a relief. However, many believe there is more to do to ensure that Labour lives out it’s promises and does away with faulty social policy systems.

Read more about this story here. 

3) Homeless hit harder by welfare cuts, says research

According to research carried out by the charity Homeless Link, the increased punitive measures used against jobseekers are hitting the homeless harder than other groups.

Image: towntalk.co.uk

Image: towntalk.co.uk

Research covering more than 50 organisations show that around a third of homeless people have been sanctioned compared to 3% of other jobseekers. With homeless people often battling a number of obstacles including mental health issues, learning disabilities and substance abuse, the sanctions pose a further threat to their wellbeing, instead of motivating them (as the sanctions were meant to, according to the coalition).

Chief Executive of Homeless Link, Rick Henderson said: “Claimants do have responsibilities but it is clear that sanctions may be forcing them deeper into the problems that led them into homelessness in the first place. We’re calling on the Government to ensure the conditions for receiving benefits take into account individual circumstances.”

Read more about this story here.

4) In-Work poverty exceeds out of work poverty in Wales

Around 700,000 people live in poverty in Wales, equating to a quarter of the population. 51% of working age adults and children in poverty are in working families, according to new research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – outnumbering those out of work and in poverty.

The report reveals the pressures put on families and wages, and calls on government to deal with low pay and working conditions, as well as welfare reform.

“Peter Kenway, Director at NPI, said: “This report shows there are not enough jobs, not enough hours and not enough pay for people in Wales. These are families who are going out to work but still have so little they are living below the poverty line and struggling to make ends meet. Low pay and low hours go hand in hand: job creation is a priority, but this must lead to better pay and more hours to tackle in-work poverty.”

Image: The Huffington Post

Image: The Huffington Post

Read the press release and report here.

by Kam Sandhu @KamBass