There are an increasing number of reports that companies involved in the new work programme are trampling on the rights of their own workers in a push to make profits.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations claims that some staff transferred under the TUPE regulations, which protect the pay and conditions of workers moved from one organisation to another, are being forced to take pay cuts whilst others are being made unfairly redundant.

The situation may, however, be even worse in England where workers claim that some large providers are simply refusing to accept that the TUPE regulations apply at all. Posters on the Indus Delta website for work programme staff, claim that providers are arguing that previous programmes such as flexible new deal and new deal for disabled people are fundamentally different from the work programme and that therefore TUPE doesn’​t apply.

The DWP, meanwhile, are washing their hands of the whole matter by claiming that it is for individual companies to make sure they stay within the law. This is in spite of employment minister Chris Grayling having given an assurance to the industry that there would be no redundancies as a result of the introduction of the work programme.

The ‘​No redundancies’​ claim certainly hasn’​t held true for staff at welfare-to-work charity Tomorrow’​s People, where tory peer Baroness Stedman-Scott is spitting feathers after having to make 61 of her staff redundant. The charity failed to win any contracts or sub-contracts under the work programme, in spite of the fact that the Baroness allowed her name to be used in the conservative party’​s election manifesto as a supporter of a single work programme.

Any welfare-to-work staff who have been made redundant will be hoping for better support than was provided by them under the flexible new deal –​ a programme that was very similar to the new work programme in that it allowed providers to try pretty much anything they wished to get claimants back into work. Research just released by the DWP shows that it had no effect whatsoever in getting people back into work compared to previous programmes.


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