Job Seekers up and down the UK have reacted with anger at the governments proposal to cut the benefits of those who fail to pay their fines. Among the benefits to be cut are paid holiday, pension contributions and the free tea or coffee supplied at the Job Centre.
"This move goes against all non-workers rights" Lee McCluskey, General Secretary of the Unite Union told us, "These members are entitled to the benefits of being a Job Seeker. Time off, paid, is one of them basic rights"
Although the vast majority of Job Seekers are against the move, most are not willing to back strike action. Paul Brown, a Job Seeker in Bradford commented "Although the Job Seeking community would love to just sit around moaning about how hard things are for us, we can not afford to strike, we got to earn a living"
He continued "I can't understand why we are all tarred with the same brush. I mean, I was scored above average at my last performance review"
A surprise supporter of the Job Seekers is the Association of Chief Police Officers. Sir Hugh Orde, President of ACPO, said in a statement, "Our members stand in full support of those affected by the legislation. As this will only affect those who do not pay their court fines, we have a lot of contact with them, and I can tell you how hard these people work. Most of them are full-time Job Seekers during the day, and career criminals at night. Holding 2 jobs is something that should be respected by the politicians, not punished."
At a press conference launching the scheme, Work and Pension Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said "These measures are in place to show Mr Benny Fits that he must start paying his fines and, sorry, pardon?, you thought I meant all those on benefits? what a good idea."