the3towns can reveal that the website to which local unemployed people are directed to look for work is still carrying ‘commission-only’ vacancies and other adverts that do not name employers or list a salary.
2012 we reported how Jobcentre-advertised vacancies in the local area,
mainly for sales positions, recorded that people would be required to
work on a “self employed” basis. The adverts added, “The company has
given an assurance that this vacancy enables workers to achieve a wage
equivalent to the National Minimum Wage rate”. However, as income was
entirely dependent on commission accruing from sales, it was possible
workers could be taking home much less than the hourly minimum wage.
UK Department for Work and Pensions then privatised the Jobcentre
website, paying Monster, an American corporation, £17m to establish a
new web presence called the Universal Jobmatch site. In addition to the
set-up cost, Monster is paid around £6m a year to operate the site.
are told they must sign-up for a Universal Jobmatch account, which
involves using their own computers at home and agreeing to ‘cookies’
being placed on their system. ‘Cookies’ record activity on a computer
and report it to the organisation that placed them on the system. It is
then possible for Jobcentre staff to monitor an unemployed person’s
activity in searching for work. Under a strict system introduced by the
UK Tory-Lib Dem Government, if a Jobseeker is deemed not to be doing
enough to find employment, they can be ‘sanctioned’ for anything up to 3
years. A sanction means all benefits are stopped, leaving people with
absolutely no income.
However, despite what many Jobseekers have
been told, singing-up for a Universal Jobmatch account is not mandatory,
nor can a person be compelled to use their own computer and broadband
to look for work. However, as of this month, Jobcentre advisers can,
“if giving a good reason”, require claimants to use the site through a
Jobseeker Direction. The unemployed person still does not have to allow
their own personal computer to be used, but may be directed to use a pc
at a public library or internet cafe. If the Jobseeker refuses, they
can be recommended for a benefit sanction.
Despite the new
element of compulsion to use the Universal Jobmatch site, the3towns can
reveal there are still many adverts for jobs that pay ‘commission only’
and others that do not even reveal the name of the company to which a
person should apply.
As of this week, a search of vacancies in
the Three Towns area included one for a ‘self-employed’ driver, starting
at 3.00am every morning to deliver newspapers to shops. Another sought
a ‘self-employed’ door-to-door salesperson, selling the products of
satellite broadcaster Sky, a company owned by Rupert Murdoch, one of the
richest people in the world. Another ad, for a Retail Development
Executive to promote the products of Imperial Tobacco, listed no salary
details. In addition to no guaranteed income, ‘self-employed’ workers
are responsible for paying their own National Insurance and tax.
listed in the Three Towns area was a vacancy for a Leaflet Distributor,
which stated “income is based on leaflets distributed”. Employment for
this position is on a zero-hours contract, which does not guarantee any
hours or pay. Despite this, the company say, “Due to the high number
of applicants for each position we are currently receiving, you may not
hear back from us if unsuccessful”.
The Universal Jobmatch site,
which can be searched without singing-up for an account, also lists many
vacancies that do not reveal the name of potential employers. Such
adverts simply state “CV Library (Job Warehouse only)”. CV Library is a
separate, privately-run ‘jobs board’. The company behind the site last
year posted profits of £3.3m.
North Ayrshire continues to have some of the highest unemployment and poverty in the country.