Brighton man sanctioned despite applying for 67 jobs in a fortnight, writes Joe Gill
A Brighton jobseeker has turned the tables on Iain Duncan Smith’s punitive sanctions regime after his benefits were docked despite applying for 67 jobs in a fortnight.
Peter Styles has written a blog about his experience that has gone viral, reaching more than 8,000 hits yesterday after being launched on Tuesday.
The communications and PR specialist has been out of work and signing on for a year since his last employer ceased trading.
He says he has applied for “everything from copywriter position, to insight manager, probably seven or eight job titles I can do.”
Mr Styles told the Star: “The administrative officer said my job search was good – however it was not broad enough.
“They wanted me to apply to be an Asda grocery colleague and a personal shopper. I did that, neither of which even require a CV. They’re school leaver positions.”
Last month his local jobcentre moved him from fortnightly signing-on to the new daily signing-on system.
When he complained about the regime, created by Work and Pension Secretary Mr Duncan Smith under his work programme, he says he was segregated from other jobseekers and had his benefit sanctioned without appeal.
“I demanded a manager to come down but she was the woman who I’d been having massive problems with,” Mr Styles recalled.
“Throughout this time I was put in a segregated area because I expressed my views about the policy.”
Mr Styles has appealed against the decision and lodged an official complaint against two jobcentre staff with assistance from the Brighton Unemployed Workers’ Centre.
“I’ve been signed off with stress for a month due to the harassment I’ve been subjected to,” Mr Styles added. “The DWP indirectly are trying to destroy my mental health.”
A spokesman for civil servants’ union PCS said the daily signings were punitive.
“If you are hauling people in every day to sign on it reduces the amount of time they can go out and look for work,” he said.
“The sanctions regime is absolutely abhorrent and should be scrapped.
It is entirely counterproductive – it doesn’t get anyone back to work. It’s an absolutely pernicious system for both claimants and job centre staff.”
The Department for Work and Pensions had not replied to requests for comment at the time of going to press.
Mr Styles’ blog can be viewed at dwpvendetta.wordpress.com
Let us hope an employer offers Mr Styles a job soon. Otherwise – with his formidable skills – perhaps he could try making a living out of the social media.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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