DWP Can Introduce Forced Labour: Court Rules on Cait Reilly.
Poundland Free to Exploit Unpaid Labour.
The government’s back-to-work schemes, which have been criticised as “forced labour”, are lawful, the High Court ruled on Monday.
The Honourable Mr Justice Foskett saw fit to make this pompous comment,
the scheme is “a very long way removed from the kind of colonial exploitation of labour that led to the formulation of Article 4″.
“Characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to “slavery” or “forced labour” seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking.”
The judgment was in response to unemployed graduate Cait Reilly’s challenge. The 22-year-old which claimed the scheme breached the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as it “forced” her to work for free.
The DWP also saw fit to make this sinister comment,
A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) said:
“We are delighted, although not surprised, that the Judge agrees our schemes are not forced labour. Comparing our initiatives to slave labour is not only ridiculous but insulting to people around the world facing real oppression.
“Those who oppose this process are actually opposed to hard work and they are harming the life chances of unemployed young people who are trying to get on.”
In view of the fact that this will legitimise the government’s lans to introduce workfare – unpaid and forced – for around 1 million people under the “Support for the very long-term unemployed” scheme this is scant consolation:
The second challenge before the court involves Jamieson Wilson, a 40-year-old unemployed HGV driver from the Midlands who has been claiming benefits since 2008.
Ms Lieven said Mr Wilson was told last November he would be required to undertake 30 hours’ unpaid work a week for up to six months cleaning furniture, and further periods of required work could follow.
Ms Lieven said Mr Wilson had recently been subjected to sanctions after refusing to take part in the scheme and now apparently faced the loss of jobseeker’s allowance for six months.
Later law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), who acted for both Miss Reilly and Mr Wilson, said the issuing of flawed warning letters meant that “tens of thousands of people stripped of their benefits.
Later law firm Public Interest Lawyers (PIL), who acted for both Miss Reilly and Mr Wilson, said the issuing of flawed warning letters meant that “tens of thousands of people stripped of their benefits must now be entitled to reimbursement by the DWP”.
PIL spokeswoman Tessa Gregory said: “As of January 2012, over 22,000 people had been stripped of their benefits for failing to participate in the Work Programme alone.
“That figure must now have doubled. Today’s decision should mean that many of those subjected to benefit sanctions will be entitled to reimbursement by the Department of Work and Pensions.
“It is truly extraordinary that the Government has found itself in this position by failing to provide basic information to those affected.”