Instead of dealing with the Jobcentre alone, we can get together and win changes that everybody wants. these are examples of successes we’ve had when people have gotten together and stuck up for each other. Please let us know yours by clicking ‘leave a comment’ at the bottom:
Ruby made a claim in March 2007 to the Hoxton Jobcentre Plus for four weeks of JSA that she should have been paid. She was sent a headed letter stating they would pay her for two of the four weeks for which she’d originally applied. They paid her one week in November but omitted the second week’s worth of monies.
Although Ruby had applied on several occasions to recoup the monies that they conceded they owed her, neither the Jobcentre nor the money were forthcoming. As a member of Hackney Unemployed Workers, part of the London Coalition Against Poverty, Ruby has often helped others in their battles for justice within the bureaucratic systems.
She went down to Hoxton with ten supporters from Hackney Unemployed Workers and the London Coalition Against Poverty. Although the group originally faced with hostility and deliberate obtuseness from Jobcentre staff, who called the police when they refused to leave, the manager agreed to see Ruby and arranged for an appointment for the following morning, to which one of the LCAP members accompanied her. There, Shirley was given a counter payment to be cashed that same day at her local post office but no explanation as to why the delay.
Hackney Unemployed Workers gave a show of solidarity in their complaint of the treatment Shirley had to endure as a job seeker and the department conceded fault by paying her the money owed her since 2007.
In June, twenty-five unemployed workers and supporters carrying placards and banners occupied the Jobcentre in Hackney Central, with demands for members’ claims to be resolved, for conditions at the job centre to be improved – for people to be treated with respect, for baby changing facilities and access to the toilet, and against welfare abolition (see https://hackneyunemployedworkers.wordpress.com/we-demand/). The manager refused to accept our demands and had the police remove us. A week later, however, we realised how useful the action had been for establishing a ‘working relationship’. When a single parent whose income support had been stopped came to our meeting, five people joined her to demand a meeting with the manager. This was granted within an hour and her claim was resolved within a week.
Jane was denied the benefits she was entitled to for three months due to a clerical error at Dalston Jobcentre. A single mother, she was struggling to survive with no income, while getting no help from the jobcentre bureaucracy and being told she would have to ‘cope’ – on £10 a week! To do something about this she went down to the Jobcentre with twenty other claimants and supporters and demanded her benefits be reinstated. This led to the area manager agreeing to visit Jane at home to hear her case. Frightened of any more bad publicity, they immediately re-started her benefits, apologised, and paid off everything they owed her.