Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tory free labour will devalue already undervalued jobs

The Tories have again fallen short of reintroducing workhouses - something I'm certain many would dearly love to bring back. What they have pledged to do, however, is to force young unemployed people to work 30 hours per week to earn their benefits.

My cynical, Tory-hating brain jumped to the conclusion that these jobs would be in profitable retailers, taking (poorly) paid jobs from people but apparently, they'll be charity jobs and helping to care for elderly people. Let's assume for now that this is true: it may be. Is it such a bad thing to have more charity workers and more people caring for those who need it? Well no but it will seriously devalue certain types of job which are already terribly poorly paid (many under the minimum wage where staff are taken on as 'self-employed' and travel time between jobs is not covered). Care workers need to be paid more, not have their jobs done by young unemployed people.

The second, larger point is: what's the point? Well the young people working certainly won't benefit, unless they had envisaged a career in charity work or elderly care. What it will do is massage the unemployment figures because the Tories won't include them, even though they'll be on an equivalent benefit.

And I would also return to my first point: what right-minded Tory wouldn't jump at the chance of providing free labour for a donor or business chum? And how many Tory donors' businesses would branch out into areas where they could get free labour?

When ideas like this are bandied about, I always consider what the ultimate conclusion would be and whether that would be a good thing or not. In this case, the ultimate conclusion is free labour for the rich and well below minimum wage for the rest. Which sounds like a great nasty Tory policy to me.

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