May 022016

[Reblogged from The Poor Side of Life with thanks to @charlotteh71]

Here are two different cases concerning universal credit and work. Both prove the point extremely well that universal credit and the  work conditionionality contract linked with this is completely unworkable. Politicians from all parties are not taking this issue seriously enough. Luckily we are.

Case one.
A housing association in Leeds are dealing with a tenant in Leeds who was unable to pay his rent after loosing his job with his employer. This is their story.
The person in question was employed by a company working between 16 and 17 hours a week. On his contract it stated that they were not allowed to apply for extra jobs with other companies. But their jobcentre advisor told them that they must, and he was advised to apply for a job with a rival company.
As you can imagine this didn’t go down too well, and the company that they  worked for sacked them for gross misconduct. They had obviously broken their work contract agreement.
The DWP awarded them for their diligence in applying for this second job by giving him a three year Sanction.
Why? Because they got sacked. Why? Because he had been told to look for a second job which clearly broke his employment contract.
Now what is interesting about this, is that approximately 40% of Jobcentre staff will be also on in work conditionality when they are switched over to universal credit. The DWP employee contract strictly prevents applying for an extra job, thus leaving them in exactly the same position as claimants. They will be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. Do they apply for a second job and get sacked? And then sanctioned? Just like claimants? There is no choice really. It’s a no win situation.

Case two.
A young person, who wants to remain nameless were employed by a small company. Thet were on universal credit as they only worked 30 hours a week and needed the top up money.
Now, when our are claiming universal credit you have to have your phone on hand all the time. Failure to answer your phone to your advisor can result in a sanction.
This young person was constantly called at work by their advisor. His other two employees who were also claiming universal credit were also constantly phoned.
One day all three staff were called in to see their advisor on the same day. As a result he had to shut his business.
An altercation occurred the next day when he informed his staff that this couldnt shut the shop again, it cost him too much money, and the constant telephone calls were distracting both his employees and customers.
They argued that they had to keep their phones next to them and that they had to do whatever their advisor told them to do. As a result they were all dismissed and he now employs pensioners who are in proven receipt of pension credit. He says that he cannot afford to employ anyone on universal credit anymore.

Now this asks the questions. Are there more employers like this one? And if so have they had to do the same thing as he has?
Also sanctioning of working people as part of their in work conditionality is starting to become a big problem. They are doing their best to find work because they are working. Many are working under contracts which forbid them to gain other employment.
Other employees are driven to distraction by jobcentre advisors and constant job searches that actually being in work is actually becoming more stressful than actually being unemployed, which is stressful enough already. Being in work on universal credit does not pay at all.

Make no mistake, there is no unintended consequences with universal credit. It has been created as a mass disentitlement project and very careful planning was involved when creating it. It’s about time that every political party realises this.

We are calling on all our members and supporters to email their MP – you can find your MPs contact details here by entering your postcode – and you can also use this site to message them. Here is a suggested email / message that you can send to them:

Dear [MP Name],  I am one of you constituents and I would be grateful if you could ask Stephen Crabb and Priti Patel about the 2 examples cited in this link of people losing their employment due to Universal Credit and in work conditionality. I am sure this sort of situation was never intended and feel that it is vital that changes are made to the way in which conditionality is being implemented.
I am sure you must agree that something is not working properly and that urgent changes to Universal Credit conditionality need to be made. 
[Your Name]
[Your Address]


[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 13:43

  8 Responses to “You cannot serve two masters.. Universal credit and your employer.”

  1. This is the same as when the ‘work programme’ ‘phones your employer constantly, until the employer can take no more and gives you the sack. And since when did mobile ‘phones become Jobcentre tracking devices?

  2. Well, Labour introduced the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in 2008. They started this.

  3. It’s called “third party tortious interference in a contract of employment”. The DWP are the third party and the employer or employee (first and second party) can take the DWP to court due to their interference. The government has not covered Tort law in their new UC regulations.

  4. What a waste of money. And they go on about labour waitsting money. It’s bull st…

    • yeah but when are Labour ever going to speak out and challenge the Tory Scum about Universal Credit, instead of simply keeping quiet and actually supporting it? The reason I didnt vote Labour was because they told me they supported the use of Benefit Sanctions, that was under Ed Miliband and now they won’t even tell me where they stand on the issue and are ignoring my questions. Labour are no better than Tory.

  5. Will be copying and writing to my MP omitting the part of if the letter that begins “I am sure this situation was never intended”.
    This sentence doesn’t sit well with me. Nothing about universal credit was left to chance or an unintended consequence.
    Having said that great article and letter.

  6. Just shared a link to this on, mentioning the advice to contact your MP.

  7. Email sent to my MP to apply some pressure.

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