National day of action
Thursday, 19th March, 11am – 2pm
The Fountains, Colston Avenue, Bristol, BS1 4ST
The Unite Community Branch in Bristol has for many months been campaigning against the cruel use of benefit sanctions. On the 19th March 2015 they will be joining a National day of action with a number of events in Bristol
More and more people are facing unfair and inappropriate benefit sanctions. Over 2 million people have had their money stopped in the past 2 years.
That’s 2 million people, many of whom have been plunged into poverty, unable to heat their homes or even eat. How is this meant to help prepare people for work?
These sanctions are handed out unfairly and for ridiculous reasons such as:
- Arriving minutes late to a meeting
- Not applying for jobs when waiting to start a new job!
- Missing an appointment on the day of the funeral of a close family member.
For more information about this Unite led event visit day of action against sanctions
On 25th March 2015 the TUC issued this press statement –
Commenting on the report Benefit Sanctions Policy Beyond the Oakley Review published today (Tuesday) by the Work and Pensions Committee, which calls for an urgent review of the sanctions regime and an independent commission to look at the deaths of sanctioned claimants, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“The MPs who produced this report looked at extremely worrying evidence that claimants are being set up to fail instead of being given positive help back to work.
“Targets are being used by Jobcentre bosses to force staff to unfairly sanction people who are trying their best to find work. The safety net is being turned into a trap, and Jobcentres are being pushed towards a culture of harassment, not help.
“One of the first tasks for the next Secretary of State for Work and Pensions after the election must be to act on the Committee’s call for an urgent review of how the failing sanctions system should be reformed. And a new independent commission must be established to investigate the deaths and suicides of people given sanctions.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
– A survey by the Public and Commercial Services Union of Jobcentre Plus advisers in January 2014 found that 23 per cent of advisers said they had been set, or told, that there was a target for sanctions referral; and 81per cent said they had been set an expectation for sanction referrals.
Examples of the ridiculous reasons for which people have received benefit sanctions can be found here
A very successful day with lots of interest. It’s surprising how many people have been or have heard of people being sanctioned. We started of at the fountains, before moving on to the JobCentrePlus office at Eagle House, 16 St. Stephens Street, City Centre, Bristol BS1 1JR.
At Eagle House the outsourced private security company G4S weren’t happy to see us!
Here’s some photos –
There’s also a number of feature articles in today’s Morning Star about Benefit Sanctions and an article what can be found here Churches ‘duty bound’ to fight cruel sanctions
The TUC have commented on the report Time to Rethink Sanctions published by major UK churches and revealing that almost 100,000 children have been affected by benefit sanctions. Read the statement here – Children are innocent victims of cruel and unfair benefit sanctions, says TUC
On 3rd February Unite issued this press release –
Unite takes action against government attacks on ‘vulnerable’ benefit claimants
Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, will kick start a nationwide campaign tomorrow (Wednesday 4 February) against benefit sanctions which are pushing people into poverty and punishing debt.
The campaign, to stop benefit sanctions, will be launched on the same day that the House of Commons work and pensions committee questions Esther McVey, the minister for employment, over the government’s sanctions regime.
Unite is angry over the way the government imposes benefit sanctions to ‘vulnerable’ claimants – leaving millions of people in poverty, debt, ill health and angry.
On Thursday 19 March, Unite is calling for trade unions, charities and community campaigners up and down the country to take part in a ‘National Day of Action’ with Unite Community Membership, as part of the campaign.
Unite head of community membership, Liane Groves, said: “It is no wonder people are angry. The government has hit millions of vulnerable people and their families with benefit sanctions – causing the rise of food bank Britain.
“Sanctions are cruel and ineffective – often handed out for no good reason.
“We want to send a message to Esther McVey and Westminster that the government is failing to support vulnerable people in our society. More needs to be done to support us all in time of need – not make personal situations worse.
“Thursday 19 March is a national day of action to highlight the ‘shocking’ impact of government benefit sanctions – we must join forces to stop this now before more people are forced into poverty.”