The Irish Republican Socialist Party is calling for the abolishing of the new Step 2 Success “welfare to work” programme recently officially launched all across the North as the old Steps to Work programme is wrapped up. The old Steps to Work programme was deeply flawed but it contained less punitive measures against the unemployed people forced onto it.
Steps 2 Success will be administered and delivered in the North by English corporations EOS Works Ltd, Staffline Group PLC and Ingeus Limited. “Welfare to work” programmes such as Steps 2 Success has been marred by controversy in England with facilitating contracts worth nearly £100 million being awarded to Tory Party backers.
Spokesperson for Derry City IRSP Danny Morrison continues” Under strict new sanctions Jobseekers will be forced into yearlong contracts with employers after 3 months of signing on. They can potentially have their Jobseekers Allowance and Housing Benefit stopped for up to 26 weeks at a time for not complying with the rules. Only participants who put in more than 30 hours per week will be entitled to the “training bonus” of £15.38p on top of their existing benefits- the equivalent of 51p per hour. “
Mr Morrisoin said “Participants in Steps 2 Success will be forced to work alongside full time employees in the private sector for either no money or a disgraceful 51p per hour. This is essentially a redistribution of public money and resources into the coffers of the private sector corporations with tax payers subsidising their wage bills. All this will lead to a conveyor belt workforce being rolled on and off the Steps 2 Success scheme every 12 months. Studies have shown that the people on Jobseekers are just as likely to find full time employment on their own as to find it in “welfare to work” programmes.”
Mr Morrison finishes “Jobseekers will be made 12 months a slave; they will be degraded and locked into a punitive system that only benefits private industry. Like Job Bridge in the South Steps 2 Success in the North will victimise the unemployed and lead to further exploitation.”