Anarchist Communist Federation
Poverty Related Pay
Opposition to the Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) from inside the dole office is hampered by the idea that implementing the JSA is in the ‘interest’ of the workforce. This so called ‘interest’ is commonly known as Performance Related Pay (PRP). So how does PRP work? Firstly, objectives are set for the dole office on a national level, these objectives are then broken down into regional objectives, further divided into districts and divided again into office objectives, where finally the manager breaks the objectives down for individual workers.
Objectives Equal More Money
So how are those objectives used to improve pay? Each individual worker is set objectives, agreed with their line manager and in turn with their office manager. Each worker is monitored throughout the year by their managers (by themselves and other workers for that matter). Once a year how well each worker has ‘performed’ is assessed, whether they have met their objectives, failed to meet them or, as in the case of the over enthusiastic worker, superseded them. Then a ‘box marking’ is attributed to each worker. The ‘box marking’ is just like being graded at school; Box 1/A (A is for ACE), Box 2/B (B is for BRILL) and Box 3/C (C is for CRAP). Once each worker has been graded their cut of the wage rise for that year has been decided.
Objectives Equal Hassle
So what are these objectives which are in the ‘interests’ of the workers to achieve? The typical list of objectives will require each worker to; 1. get a varying number of claimants benefit cut or stopped on the grounds that they are A. Not available for employment B. Not actively seeking employment C. Placing restrictions upon themselves D. Refusing employment. 2. Place a varying number of claimants into employment via the job centre. 3. Place a varying number of claimants onto specific government courses . Getting claimants to sign off, usually using tactics not dissimilar from those used by the police, is one of the fraud officers PRP objectives and is not as yet a written objective for the ordinary dole office worker.
The dole office workers Civil and Public Services Association (CPSA) may claim to be opposed to PRP on the grounds that it is “divisive”, but in reality it fails to have had any effect on this pay scheme. Whilst the CPSA accurately point out that workers are divided by PRP, and encouraged to be interested only in themselves developing contempt for one another, CPSA fails to recognise the consequences of PRP on the claimants and how it divides the workers and claimants further. Consequently the CPSA’s opposition to the JSA is failing to reach dole office workers, as is its argument that PRP is not in their ‘interest’.
PRP Equal Hassle
PRP is allowing dole officers to treat claimants like shit, creating the idea that ‘they’re only doing their job’, and at the same time acting out of ‘self-interest’ improving their chances of getting a bigger cut of the wage rise. PRP is a god send to those over enthusiastic individuals who take great pleasure from treating claimants like shit. So next time a claimant is hassled its not a simple case of faceless bureaucracy treating people as no more that numbers, but that claimant may well be on the way to being a statistic achieved and marked against a list of objectives.
A hassle free signing on is largely reliant upon the worker who hasn’t bought the idea that PRP is in their ‘interest’ and doesn’t care if they meet their objectives or not. However opposition to the JSA from the inside needs more than that if it is to work. Effective opposition to PRP coupled with a sense of unity with claimants, as opposed to contempt for them, would be welcome. But in the meantime Groundswell and unemployed activists aren’t sitting on their backsides waiting for the pig to learn to fly. We are getting active, and organising from the ‘outside’.
GROUNDSWELL IS A loose network of autonomous groups and individuals united against the JSA concentrating upon gathering information about the JSA, distributing and co-ordinating that information, and offering practical advice and support against the JSA. Groundswell is organised around the idea of ‘no wage slavery, no dole slavery’, offering a critique of the work ethic so beloved of the left. The next Groundswell is being held in Nottingham 10th August.