Tag Archives: employer

#CorridorsOfPowder – hypocritical Tories will force big employers to do random drug tests. What about Westminster?

Shaun Bailey: he has already been branded as the Conservative candidate for Islamophobia, sexism and misogyny. Now he’s adding hypocrisy to the list with a plan for drug testing in major firms, but not in Parliament – which is known to have a serious cocaine problem.

It seems Priti Patel has picked up on Tory London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey’s plan to force firms that employ more than 250 people to subject the workforce to random drug tests.

Her endorsement follows one by Iain Duncan Smith last month.

But how strange that the UK Parliament, where the House of Commons alone employes around 2,040 people – not counting MPs, is to be exempt from any such legislation!

The Conservative government are planning to introduce legislation which would force big employers to carry out random drug tests on their employees – but MPs look set to be exempt from the policy.

Yesterday, the Home Secretary Priti Patel endorsed controversial plans drawn up by the Tory candidate for Mayor of London, Shaun Bailey.

The Tory Mayoral candidate says the policy is designed to reduce ‘middle-class cocaine usage‘ in the capital. However, MPs – who are notorious users of the drug – will be exempt.

Yes indeed. Back in August, This Site pointed out that cocaine use in the House of Commons has become so bad that at one point even the arch-Tory Daily Mail published an article dubbing the Palace of Westminster “corridors of powder”.

Apparently the washrooms of Parliament are… awash with the stuff.

I wonder if this is not a subtle (especially for the Tories) bid to sabotage Bailey’s bid to be Mayor of London.

He has already blotted his copy book in the past and it seems hard to believe this plan will be a vote-winner. People who take the drug won’t support a man who has inflicted random testing on them and those who don’t will hate the fact that the Tories are imposing tests on others but not submitting to the same tests themselves, even though it is well-established that Westminster has a serious nose candy problem.

Perhaps someone thinks it is a way to get rid of him, while still imposing a little extra unnecessary unpleasantness into the lives of ordinary people (most of whom won’t have been anywhere near cocaine).

Source: The Tories are planning to force workers to undergo random drug tests – but MPs will be exempt | Evolve Politics

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With two million GCSE results set to be downgraded, let’s see employers, schools and colleges tell the Tories to get stuffed

Exams: GCSE students didn’t take them this year, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t worked hard. The Tories are (again) planning to penalise pupils who didn’t go to private schools, for no other reason than that. Let’s see employers and educators ignore their prejudiced downgrade.

It seems the Tories haven’t learned their lesson from the ‘A’ level results scandal and are planning to repeat their stunt next week with GCSE results.

Gavin Williamson is looking forward to downgrading the results of two million school pupils based, not on the results they are expected to get, but on the fact that they didn’t go to an expensive private school.

Of course this represents a serious and bitter injustice that Williamson will perpetrate for no other reason than because he can.

It represents Tory prejudice against people from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, with the least privileged expected to fare the worst, no matter how intelligent they are or hard they have worked.

That is Tory ignorance for you. Amazingly, Williamson and his ilk were voted into Parliament by the parents of many of the children whose futures will be irreparably harmed.

Williamson is hiding behind a claim that the results are determined by a mechanical algorithm – but he is neglecting to admit that the algorithm was written to reflect Williamson’s own prejudice, that pupils at private schools must be placed above the hoi-polloi, no matter how stupid and undeserving the toffs’ children may be.

The Tories aren’t going to change. It is their agenda to push your children’s faces into the mud while their brats stand on their backs to bask in the sun.

It is up to others to reject what Williamson is doing – that means schools, colleges and employers.

If a pupil at a state school fails to receive the required grades to get the further education place they want, or the job for which they have applied, because the government arbitrarily lowered their grade, then it is the moral responsibility of those businesses and institutions to side with the student.

And I think we need to see those organisations say as much – now.

Let’s have the reassurance for GCSE students that employers and universities denied to their ‘A’ level counterparts.

I’ve already called for a boycott of Tory-supporting organisations after the ‘A’ level fiasco.

Let’s see who won’t stand with the kids and give them the same cold-shoulder treatment. Do you agree?

Source: GCSEs: 2 million results set to be downgraded, researchers warn | Education | The Guardian

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Sunak wants employers to pay a quarter of furloughed staff wages from August

Rishi Sunak: is he opening the door for employers to exploit their staff?

Funny how this story comes out when everybody’s talking about Dominic Cummings instead, isn’t it?

This Writer has said before that employers won’t pay – most probably because they can’t afford it.

But here’s a thought. Will employees go back to their old jobs, after being callously laid off over coronavirus?

And if they will, will employers try to get them to do it for lower pay?

I think it’s a definite possibility.

Employers will be expected to pay at least a fifth of the wages of furloughed staff from August, it is claimed.

The Treasury is said to be considering asking businesses to cover between 20% and 30% of staff wages.

Companies may also be told to cough up for national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5% of people’s wages, according to The Times.

Source: Employers may have to pay 25% of furloughed staff wages from August | Metro News

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Tories are incompetent on coronavirus testing – but at least they’re not telling us to inject disinfectant

[Image from Dorset Eye.]

What a gang of incompetents the Tories are! They launched a website for employers to book key workers in for testing – but failed to make it strong enough to support the huge demand.

It has crashed.

According to the BBC:

The website opened on Friday but appeared to close by mid-morning with some users met by an “applications closed” message.

Up to 10 million key workers and their households are eligible to book a test.

That’s if they can get access to the government’s website, of course.

Matt Hancock – what an absolute imbecile.

Still, it could be worse. US president Donald Trump has been encouraging American citizens to inject disinfectant into their bodies because he says it will cure the coronavirus.

Sure it will… by killing the patient. Read:

During a White House press briefing on Thursday, April 23, Trump proceeded to claim sunlight and humidity could destroy the virus.

While still on camera, the president pondered the idea of ‘hitting’ the body with a ‘tremendous ultraviolet or just very powerful light’, turning to aides to express his thoughts. He also spoke about injecting disinfect inside a person’s body as a way of ‘cleaning’ their lungs.

Watch:

Do not, under any circumstances, try to follow his advice. Only ignorant, stupid Americans should be in danger after hearing this.

(Unfortunately, there seem to be many such people – otherwise how did Trump get into the White House in the first place?)

Source: Coronavirus: Test website closes after ‘significant demand’ – BBC News

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Conservatives run up other people’s bills – unlike socialists, who always pay theirs

Voting for Theresa May’s minimum-wage Tories is like trying to dig your way out of a hole; they will only put you deeper into debt.

Yes – the headline paraphrases the late, unlamented Margaret Thatcher, but reverses her claim in the name of accuracy.

Here’s her original comment, in an infographic from Twitter – but pay attention to the weblink attached to it:

Read the article and the reason I edited the late Blue Baroness’s claim should be clear:

Companies in the UK are paying their workers so little that the taxpayer has to top up wages to the tune of £11bn a year. The four big supermarkets (Tesco, Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons) alone are costing just under £1bn a year in tax credits and extra benefits payments.

This is a direct transfer from the rest of society to some of the largest businesses in the country. To put the figure in perspective, the total cost of benefit fraud last year was just £1bn. Corporate scrounging costs 11 times that.

Worse, this is a direct subsidy for poverty pay. If supermarkets and other low-paying employers know they can secure work even at derisory wages, since pay will be topped up by the state, they have no incentive to offer higher wages.

None of this makes sense. We are all, in effect, paying a huge sum of money so that we can continue to underpay the 22% of workers who are earning below the Living Wage – the level at which it is possible to live without government subsidies. The only possible beneficiaries are business owners.

So you can see very clearly that big businesses – which are predominantly run by people who vote Conservative, are members of the Conservative Party or are donors to the Conservative Party – are clearly refusing to pay their bills. As employers they have a duty to pay a reasonable amount to their workers.

Libertarians will undoubtedly be heading for the ‘Comment’ box to claim that all contracts are valid as employees have freely entered into them – but this of course ignores the fact that people are effectively coerced into accepting unfair wage offers because government policy on unemployment benefits forces them to accept any offers given to them, and this provides an incentive for businesses to keep those offers low.

So there is an argument that none of these contracts are valid as they are not entered into by people in equal positions. Hmm…

Socialists of course expect people to fully fund everything that benefits them. So, for example, the NHS was founded on the principle that everybody pays a little towards the health service, to ensure that all those who need its care will benefit from it. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need. It’s an insurance policy – but, strangely, capitalists approve of private insurance but criticise the system that funds public services. Odd people.

Consider also their willingness to use systems and services that are publicly-funded, while taking advantage of tax avoidance schemes to ensure that they don’t have to pay for them. That’s fraud and theft, isn’t it?

We may conclude that Mrs Thatcher was lying – and so is anybody who echoes her words or their meaning.

Also that the Conservative government is acting against contract law by forcing people into unfair employment conditions.

And that businesses are unfairly profiting from these harmful contracts.

I could go on to explain how this damages the UK economy by reducing the flow of cash through it, but you should be aware of this fact already – in practice.

It won’t change under a Conservative government because Conservatives are greedy and do not understand economics. So we need to end Conservative government.

Spread the word.


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Why are the Tories trying to push sickness/disability claimants into work when firms won’t make adjustments for them?

job-centre-plus-sign-640x425

Here’s another sign that the Conservative Government doesn’t know how to do joined-up thinking.

Work and Pensions secretary Damian Green thinks it is a good idea to suggest more sickness and disability claimants should be pushed off benefit and into the job market.

But he and his government have done nothing to encourage employers to take them on, it seems.

Without that fairly obvious piece of planning in place, he is very clearly setting up the sick and disabled for a fall.

They won’t be able to claim benefit but they won’t be able to get jobs either.

These findings turn all the Tory outpourings about trying to help people, and work making them more healthy, into a sick perversion.

Promoting health? It’s more like a death sentence – for the crime of being different. That’s a fascist argument.

The latest statistics on autistic adults in employment demonstrates that more still needs to be done to allow for reasonable adjustments in the hiring process, according to diversity consultancy, The Clear Company.

In response to a survey carried out by the National Autistic Society, which found that only 16 per cent of autistic adults are in full-time paid work, the diversity specialists have called on organisations to be more proactive in providing reasonable adjustments in the workplace in order to encourage these individuals to declare their needs up front.

The consultancy added that the fact that 77 per cent of these individuals want a job demonstrates that the hiring process in many companies is still insufficient in meeting the needs of those living with such conditions.

Source: Employers must be ‘more proactive’ in providing workplace adjustments for disabled jobseekers

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Where are the sanctions for employers failing to offer additional hours?

'Daftie' Duncan Smith before a previous hearing of the Work and Pensions committee.

‘Daftie’ Duncan Smith before a previous hearing of the Work and Pensions committee.

It’s a valid question.

More than a year ago, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told us “In work conditionality” within the Universal Credit system could encourage part-time workers and the low-paid to seek additional hours.

But it seems nothing is being done to “encourage” employers to provide the extra work.

So what, exactly, did Duncan Smith think he was playing at?

It seems we may soon find out, because Disability Studies specialist and disability activist Samuel Miller has written to the Secretary-in-a-State and his employment minister, Priti Patel, to find out whether employers will face sanctions for refusing  to offer part-time and low-paid workers additional hours.

“My field of interest is disability,” wrote Mr Miller. “If the British government is truly interested in increasing employment opportunities for the disabled, why doesn’t it follow the U.S. example and compel businesses to significantly increase the number of people with disabilities that they employ?

“The U.S. rule requires most federal contractors to ensure that people with disabilities account for at least 7 percent of workers within each job group in their workforce.

“While officials at the U.S. Department of Labor say they are not establishing a firm hiring quota for contractors, they do expect that businesses servicing the government will work toward achieving the target. Contractors that fail to meet the goal and do not show sufficient effort toward reaching the 7 percent threshold could lose their contracts under the new rule.

“Disability advocates say the added pressure on federal contractors will go a long way—and, in my opinion, Britain should follow suit.”

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Discrimination against the disabled now includes their family members

[Image: Slidesharecdn.com]

[Image: Slidesharecdn.com]

A healthy man was sacked from his job because he had caring responsibilities for a daughter with cystic fibrosis, a tribunal heard.

The employee – a Mr Truman – had indicated to Bibby Distribution Ltd that he would have to spend more time caring for his daughter because his wife, the primary carer, was starting her own business.

He was dismissed from his job on the day he reached one year’s service with the company, on the grounds that “his heart was not in the business” and his primary customer was dissatisfied with his work. Significantly, Mr Truman would have become entitled to unpaid ordinary parental leave after notching up one year’s service. His dismissal on the first anniversary of his employment meant that he was denied this right.

An employment tribunal found there was no satisfactory explanation for the dismissal. The primary customer had not indicated any issues with Mr Truman’s performance – nor had the company’s management.

As a result, the tribunal found that the employer committed associative disability discrimination and a remedy hearing was arranged.

Associative discrimination is the act of discriminating against an individual because of an association with another person who has a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The individual who brings an employment tribunal claim would not have the protected characteristic him or herself. A protected characteristic is a trait that the law has determined should not a basis for employment decisions, the equality Act 2010 lists protected characteristics as age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnerships; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.

Carers need to be aware that employers may try to discriminate against them in this way.

Have they already suffered without knowing they are protected by the law?

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Plan for sickness benefit cut to ‘incentivise’ claimants

Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have already been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide - now the DWP has proposed changes to benefits that could nudge claimants into it.

Too ill to work means too ill to live: Work capability assessors have already been asking people with serious illnesses and disabilities why they have not committed suicide – now the DWP has proposed changes to benefits that could nudge claimants into it.

A plan to cut £30 per week from the benefit of some of the UK’s most vulnerable people was being considered before the general election – and may be announced by George Osborne next week.

According to the BBC, the Department for Work and Pensions has been proposing to abolish the Work-Related Activity Group of Employment and Support Allowance, meaning a £30 cut in benefit every week for people who would have been put in that category.

This would bring payments in line with Jobseekers’ Allowance. It seems the stated reason is to give people less reason to worry that they are getting the “wrong” outcome from the infamous work capability assessments that are a mandatory part of claiming the benefit.

The paper also proposes renaming the assessment tests “employment capability assessments”, in order to focus attention on job-seeking rather than benefit-seeking.

There is so much wrong with this plan that it is hard to know where to start – and even more reasons to find fault with the BBC’s report.

For a start, the £30 extra that WRA Group members of the ESA receive is not a “top-up”, as described in the BBC report (and, one suspects, in the leaked DWP document); it is the amount that the law says sick people who are preparing to return to work should receive.

If a work capability assessment leads to a false report about a claimant’s condition, it will be wrong no matter what amount of benefit would be paid to the claimant afterwards.

This is fraud – obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception – and would still be fraud if the amount of money paid in the WRAG was the same as that paid on JSA because the conditions of the benefits are different. JSA claimants are forced to carry out many (pointless) activities every week in order to satisfy jobseeking requirements – most, if not all, of which would be beyond the abilities of people who are sick but have wrongly been forced off the benefit they need. They would then be forced off JSA – and we would be looking at another chequebook euthanasia situation.

But don’t worry – the government has deniability! If people can’t survive because they have been pushed off-benefit, and decide to take their own lives in order to gain release from the misery… that’s their own decision, isn’t it? It’s nothing to do with the government lying about them!

At least, that’s the line that Iain Duncan Smith’s DWP will take.

Interestingly, the stated reason for re-naming work capability assessments is that they currently focus on what claimants can’t do, rather than what they can. This is not true.

Anyone who has followed the degenerate progress of Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms will be able to present a list of silly claims made by assessors to support their assertion that a sick claimant is “fit for work”. The classic is the person who, despite being severely disabled, was able to press a button. Just that – nothing else. “Fit for work”.

And that’s focusing on what the claimant can’t do?

The BBC wheels out Charlie Pickles (who?) from Tory think tank Reform, to explain why the toffs think stealing more money from the sick is a good idea.

According to the BBC, he said the current system encourages people to stay on the benefit rather than finding work.

There seems to be a word missing here. Let’s put it back in and see how it reads:

“The current system encourages sick people to stay on the benefit rather than finding work.”

Why shouldn’t it?

If a person is sick, they shouldn’t be asked to go to work.

Finally, where are the jobs?

Pickles prattles: “We have a huge gap between disabled people’s employment rate and non-disabled people’s employment rate.” Perhaps that’s to do with the fact that the Tories closed Remploy (the organisation that employed disabled people) during the Coalition Government and has not provided any incentives for other employers to take on workers with extra needs.

Clearly Pickles hadn’t thought of that. This Reform ‘think tank’ of his can’t be much cop.

But then, neither is the DWP’s plan.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Labour’s answer to immigration – the best of bad choices?

[Image: BBC.]

[Image: BBC.]

Is anybody else in two minds about Labour’s newly-announced plan to increase the period of time before immigrants into the UK can claim benefits – from three months to six months?

Some commentators are bound to see it as Labour leaping on another right-wing bandwagon, restricting access to the country for people who can bring much-needed skills to our shores (more on this in a moment).

But our membership of the EU means people from other member states must be allowed to move into the UK if they wish to do so. Until recently that was not a problem – where was all the fuss about the French and German immigrants in the 1970s? There wasn’t any – because the member states’ economies all functioned at a similar level. That changed when the eastern European states were allowed in; they were not functioning on the same level and this meant migrating to the more developed countries became an attractive option for the impoverished people of those lands.

That’s when people started to think UKIP had a point. Whether rightly or not, they saw eastern Europeans coming here, taking British jobs or sitting on benefits, and even sending some of the money they made back to boost their home country rather than ours.

What’s the solution?

For the Labour Party, leaving the EU is not an option. Membership of the Union brings benefits that are important to this country at this time (at least in the opinion of Labour planners – your mileage may vary). It would be unreasonable to forbid people from moving into the UK after being offered a job here by a UK based employer. That leaves governments with only one lever to pull – one that restricts payment of state benefits to immigrants.

Realistically, that is the only option available in the current circumstances. The sensible solution would have been for the EU to reject countries’ bids for membership until their economies had reached a par with the rest of the union – but that didn’t happen. Now that these countries are in, the sensible option would be for the EU to work on bringing their economies up to scratch, in order to make emigration pointless; poorer members of those societies would be no better-off elsewhere.

On the issue of immigrants bringing skills to our shores – this seems to include very basic manual-labour skills like catering and cleaning, and the criticism has been levelled at the British that they just don’t want to get their hands dirty any more. This seems justifiable. If UK-based employers can’t fill the bottom-level jobs with members of the local population, what are they supposed to do? The jobs have to be done.

It wasn’t always like that; back in the 1980s, school leavers (or students on long holidays) used to pick up pocket money by stacking shelves in supermarkets, working in care homes (which could be extremely unpleasant, depending on the habits of the residents), in fish and chip shops, cleaning offices, in pubs… Yr Obdt Srvt used to work nights at a printing company, getting newspapers ready for distribution.

There seems to have been a failure in education, in socialisation or in remuneration. Do young people not have the skills to take even these entry-level jobs? Are they no longer being told that it is good to get a grounding in the workplace by taking these jobs? Or do they simply not pay enough to motivate people who are relatively comfortable, living with Mummy and Daddy and claiming benefits? The answer to the last issue isn’t to reduce benefits because people who don’t have such comforts would be unfairly penalised; it is to make work pay in fact, instead of only on Tory slogans.

So Labour would increase the delay between arriving in England and receiving benefits from three months to two years; would stop immigrants sending child benefit and child tax credit payments back to their home countries; and would “curb in-work benefits paid to EU migrants”, according to the BBC.

Shadow Work and Pensions secretary Rachel Reeves was quoted as saying: “”Child benefit and child tax credit are for children who live in this country, and we would stop it being sent abroad.” Who could argue with that? In-work benefits are “not supposed to support people from day one in this country” and can encourage employers to undercut wages, she added. Again, anything that discourages employers from pushing wages down is to be applauded.

The plan to withhold benefits for a longer period is supported by a European Court of Justice ruling that recently allowed similar changes to German laws. It is recognised that there is an abuse problem that must be addressed.

Other parties have their own plans on immigration. UKIP’s are well-known, and David Cameron has tried time and again to find a Conservative-style solution – most of which seemed to hinge on pretending he had made changes when in fact he hadn’t.

It seems likely that Labour’s plan will be lumped among these by the general public – and certainly by commentators with vested interests – as a right-wing bid to restrict people’s freedoms.

That’s a shame, when one considers an aspect of the plan that is unique to Labour – a demand for an “EU Migration Impact Fund”, paid by the European Union from within its existing budget, to help regions where immigration has increased the population by paying for increased school places, medical staff or housing.

You won’t get that with the Tories or UKIP! Why? Because their policies rely on telling you that the EU never gives anything back to the UK. Does anybody remember the flooding at the end of 2013 and the beginning of this year? David Cameron had the right to request EU cash – from a fund specifically set up to help in exactly those circumstances – and he let the deadline pass for political reasons, passing the burden onto the British people instead.

Further information on the thinking behind Labour’s plan may be found in this LabourList article by Karen Buck.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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