By Liam Carr First posted at liam carr.blogspot
|Tomorrow’s People Logo|
This is not how any training provider should should treat students. For the duration of that Jubilee weekend (while the majority of the country had a weekend off) these students were, in effect, working without pay for a security firm. No distinction should be made between them and any other student on a course, they should therefore expect their working environment to be a safe one. Training providers should also treat their staff in a dignified way – clearly this has not been the case with both male and female students forced to change into their uniforms
in the street.
If these were students at a college there would be an outrage. They have failed to in their duty of care. If an employer was to treat workers like this there would be repercussions, and maybe a tribunal. Will the reaction be any different because some of these students have been unemployed for some time? The answer is yes. Public opinion of the long-term unemployed is that they are some how different from working people. This is a deep seated form of mild prejudice which I think may be a hangover from a time when there was a job for anyone willing to work. In Consett and the surrounding area, before the steelworks and the mines closed, there was no good reason to be unemployed. The statement that “There is work for them that want it” was true.
This has not really been the case at any time since the Thatcher Government. Unemployment did fall after 1997. Under this Coaltion government unemployment is back to Thatcherite levels. There is now a food bank in the Salvation army hall in Consett; the last time that there was a food bank there, there were striking Miners collecting food; now it is young families desperately trying to find a job when there are too few jobs to go around.
A not so tenuous link can be traced from the scandalous treatment of the Jubilee Stewards to the door of David Cameron in No. 10: The charity Tomorrow’s People set up the training, they are given Government funding in order to provide work experience for the work program, the same scheme on which unpaid workers found themselves stacking shelves in supermarkets. The CEO of Tomorrow’s People is a Tory donor and is also a Conservative Peer. Even the Tomorrow’s People logo is scarily similar to the Tory tree.
The work program is a flagship policy of the Coalition. Shoddy treatment of students means that this flagship is not exactly floating like the Royal barge. The Government are rudderless; inadequate training combined with a stubborn refusal to address the issues around job creation, mean that the 1 million young people who are out of work are being left to sink.