Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) have won a significant victory for the unemployed in the war against New Deal provider A4e, thanks to the courageous stand taken by one brave unemployed ex-miner, who despite threats and benefit suspension stood up to A4e for over a year!   

This infamous multinational have been denying the unemployed who are forced to attend their compulsory workfare schemes the right to be accompanied by the representative of their choice.  (A4e make a fortune from the taxpayer by running these schemes on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions).
 
Department of Work and Pensions benefits decision makers have now ruled against A4e in four cases where A4e sought to sanction a claimant because he took a rep from Edinburgh Claimants, affiliated to ECAP, to a meeting.  A4e have repeatedly refused to recognise Edinburgh Claimants representatives.  There has been a total disregard for claimants' basic human rights from both A4e manager Dorothy Hewat and from Dione Weir, Head of Contracts for Glasgow-based Wise Group, who subcontract to A4e.

A4e AND WISE GROUP - PARANOID BULLIES

Unemployed ex-miner Peter has been accompanied by Edinburgh Claimants reps at interviews at A4e.  Peter decided on this course of action after A4e falsely accused him of photocopying material not related to his job search and threatened to have his benefits stopped.  The paranoid bullies of A4e and Wise Group didn't like this - on  three occasions managers Hewat and Weir  phoned the police to evict Peter and his Edinburgh Claimants rep from their Earl Grey Street  office!  Not content with this, the vindictive duo then applied to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) to get Peter's Jobseekers Allowance suspended.  At one stage Peter had lost six weeks benefits and was told by the DWP that he would be without benefits for an additional six months
 
ECAP demanded that the DWP inform A4e and Wise Group that Peter should have the same rights when attending A4e as he would at the Jobcentre – where claimants right to be accompanied by the rep of their choice has been won, and is now recognised by the DWP Chief Executive's office.  But Third Party Provisions manager John Scott and his boss, District Manager Jim McGonigle, ignored the fact that A4e were carrying out a contract on behalf of the DWP, ignored claimants' rights and said it was up to A4e who they allowed on their premises – in fact they acted like it was A4e and Wise group rather than the DWP who were in charge!"

BENEFITS RE-PAID - A4e LIARS EXPOSED

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty at A4e's Edinburgh offices at Earl Grey Street

But Peter and ECAP weren't intimidated.  Peter continued to attend  A4e interviews with Edinburgh Claimants reps.  ECAP regularly demonstrated inside and outside A4e's premises, distributing leaflets to encourage the unemployed to stand up for their rights. By March 2011, the DWP decision makers office ruled that Peter must be repaid all the JSA he has lost, apart from the original two weeks sanction, which is going to an appeal hearing.  Further they have ruled against A4e's applications for sanctions in all three cases they submitted in 2011.  All  four cases involved appointments which A4e refused to hold in the presence of Edinburgh Claimants reps.

Additionally, the DWP have overturned Peter's six months sanction, ruling against A4e in yet another case, in which A4e adviser Graham Payne lied to get Peter's benefits stopped.  Even though Payne had agreed to postpone Peter's appointment on 17th December last year – when Peter had to assist his Mother who was recovering from cancer surgery – Payne went on to apply for a sanction against Peter on the pretext that he didn't attend the appointment.  When Peter and ECAP pointed out Payne's lies to Wise Group boss Weir, she refused to investigate.  Now the DWP decision vindicates Peter.   Payne's account - which bosses Hewat and Weir backed up - was a tissue of lies.

SAY NO TO SLAVE LABOUR

ECAP say: “The implementation of the new Work Programme will intensify the drive to force us, the unemployed, to work for our benefits - so the need to organise and stand up for ourselves is greater than ever.” 

“We should all take great heart from the courageous stand taken by Peter.  This shows that when we join together and support each other we can win.  If you are being forced to attend these leech-like companies profiting from taxpayers money and our poverty – contact us, and together we can fight back.  And if you are in a job - remember workfare is a direct attack on your wages and conditions. Work-for-your-benefits schemes were developed enthusiastically by the last Labour Government and are now being pushed forward and refined by the ConDems.  We need solidarity between waged and unwaged to fight the vicious attacks the state is making on us all.”

More info Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty  ecap@lists.riseup.net

ECAP meets the last Thursday of every month at 7.30pm at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA - all welcome.  Plus feel free to call by any tuesday 12-3pm at ACE when Edinburgh Claimants and ECAP run a drop-in advice and solidarity session on benefits, debt, housing and other poverty-related problems.

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Comments

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Anonymous

Very well done! Stand up to the bullies, and stand up for our human rights!

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Anonymous

A4e are there to help people. Full stop. I should know, I work for them. Yes, there are some people out there who may not be as understanding but, I work with some fantastic people who only want to help people "improve their lives". But, if you don't want the help to get a job either do it alone or stop claiming. End of.

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Aunty Christ

Respect and well done to all those involved, you are inspiring!

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Welsh Andy

Well done all!

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Skeptik

Well done. Common sense over greed and bullying corruption. A4e are a despicable company.

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Anonymous

freeloading bastards

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Tony Frost

Well done!

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for A4e.

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Anonymous

yeah like four nerds hanging out the front of their facility is 'the begining of the end' for a4e. why don't you all stop wasting your time, this is the political equivalent of vanity publishing, something not smart enough to make it in the mainstream, relying on the ill informed / educated, get jobs you freeloading fools

 

 

Anonymous wrote:

Well done!

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for A4e.

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Anonymous

I had a steady job for 7 years, (and for 10 before that) the only reason i lost it is because some educated freeloading fools (bankers) broke the pound. I am all for job hunting, what i am against is being patronised, threatened and businesses freeloading from the state while claiming they are 'helping' people back into work.

a4e Called me into thier office for 4 hours the other week, during which all that happened was the 'advisor' moaned at me about how he lost his previous job in publishing, and the checked that i knew how to send an email.

Anonymous wrote:

yeah like four nerds hanging out the front of their facility is 'the begining of the end' for a4e. why don't you all stop wasting your time, this is the political equivalent of vanity publishing, something not smart enough to make it in the mainstream, relying on the ill informed / educated, get jobs you freeloading fools

 

 

Anonymous wrote:

Well done!

Let's hope this is the beginning of the end for A4e.

Re: Unemployed win victories over A4e bullies

By Martyn

Hi, I'm from St Helens in Merseyside.

 

A4e is now operating in my town. Been unemployed for some time, but want to go college to study. A4e is mandatory and they see I have to attend or face benefits being cut. Was angered how they talked to me at the first interview with them; felt like crying as I left.

I don't know what to do. I'm looking forward to working again, and earning some money, but I'm not looking forward to them making me work 40 hours for a mere £65 a week.

What can I do?