UK & World News
Poundland Graduate Cait Reilly Wins Appeal
A graduate who was forced to work at Poundland for free has won an appeal, in a blow for the Government's back-to-work schemes.
Cait Reilly, 24, from Birmingham, had argued that being made to work in the discount shop for nothing while she looked for a permanent job was illegal.
Jamieson Wilson, 40, an unemployed lorry driver from Nottingham who was stripped of jobseeker's allowance for refusing an unpaid cleaning role, also won his legal challenge.
Lord Justice Pill, Lady Justice Black and Sir Stanley Burnton, sitting in London, ruled that the regulations behind most of the back-to-work schemes were unlawful and quashed them.
The pair's solicitors claimed the ruling meant anyone docked jobseeker's allowance for not complying with the schemes could demand the money back.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has vowed not to repay anyone who had not been seriously trying to find work and said it was looking at "options" to avoid paying out.
Miss Reilly was forced to leave her voluntary post at a museum to work unpaid at Poundland in Kings Heath, Birmingham, in November 2011 under a scheme known as the "sector-based work academy".
She was told she would lose jobseeker's allowance if she refused and spent two weeks stacking shelves and cleaning floors.
Mr Wilson, a qualified mechanic, was told that he had to work unpaid, cleaning furniture for 30 hours a week for six months, under a scheme called the community action programme.
He objected to doing unpaid work that would not help him re-enter the jobs market and refused, leading to him losing jobseeker's allowance for six months.
Following the ruling, Miss Reilly said: "I don't think I am above working in shops like Poundland. I now work part time in a supermarket. It is just that I expect to get paid for working.
"I agree we need to get people back to work but the best way of doing that is by helping them, not punishing them."
Following the ruling, Labour accused the coalition of being "incompetent" and unions hailed Miss Reilly a "hero" as they called for the programmes to be scrapped.
But the Government pointed out that the judges had agreed requiring people to join the schemes was legal, meaning they could continue.
Employment minister Mark Hoban said it would appeal the ruling while also drafting new regulations immediately to remove "any uncertainty".
"Ultimately the judgment confirms that it is right that we expect people to take getting into work seriously if they want to claim benefits," he said.
Public Interest Lawyers, which represented both claimants, called the decision a "huge setback" for the DWP.
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liam Byrne said: "It beggars belief that David Cameron's Government is now so incompetent it can't even organise work experience."
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what do you think?
Yes much more productive and of benefit to society to have them sitting at home, watching Jeremy Kyle whilst having a few beers and a smoke
this assumes that everyone claiming unemployment benefit is a freeloader.
Nick that's not everyones lifestyle
Nick. And that to be fair, is the other side of the argument
Anybody who does work should be paid the going rate by their employer. If the Government wants them to do this work and the Employer cannot or will not pay the Government should pay them at the going rate. No one should be forced to work for nothing or for less than the market rate. Employers who use these people are also gaining an unfair advantage over their competitors and increasing their profits by using cheap/free (to them) labour.
No their profits would not be bigger because the regular staffing would be the same
Louisa. 8 plusses. You are losing your knack of putting peoples noses out of joint.
And i've just given you another. Yes it was a good decision.
Dave makes a good point Louisa. You and I seldom find ourselves on the same side but I find myself in agreement with you on this one. You also many have many "thumbs ups" to your name! This will never do...............
James R McCulloch
I can't wait to get this useless Government out of office and on a plane to the Gulag.
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its all well and good wishing this useless government out of office but who exactly is fit and proper to take over? People are curiously silent on that one!
There used to be a word for making people work without pay. I believe it was "Slavery" . In a country which outlawed the slave trade in 1833, this is an absolute disgrace. William Wilberforce must be turning in his grave................
I believe the court is right what Hoban misses is that this is one step removed from slavery it is a sentence not work. The companies providing these placements are taking advantage of a situation, similar schemes were tried by previous governments some years back and it was cheap labour. It does little for the person who is forced to do such work as they are not using or developing their skills - much blame must rest with the Job Centers who seem to be staffed by people with no knowledge of the work place; they simply process numbers.
Blue side, your quick to blame the front line staff. They have to do the bidding of their bosses or quickly see the world from the other side of the desk. No one to blame for the attempt to bring back slavery but the ministers in blue.
Have we have abolished slavery in this country? We still buy coal from places like Chile who still use childtren down the mine, so really we have just moved the slaves to Chile.
My company does not take advantage of the people we have had, they are not asked to do anything the rest of us don't do.I think this young lady thougt working in a shop was beneath her
Let me reply: John I make my comments based on my own experience and to say that I found front counter staff lacking is an understatement. Phil A I was not comparing what the UK do with other countries otherwise we would have to start comparing a whole load of social issues. Diane the issue is nothing to do with what people are asked to do as when you are asked to do something you are getting the rate for the job thus based on someone doing even a 15 hour week at £60 per week Job Seekers that is £4 per hour which is paid by the government not the company.
There i either a job to be done or there isn't.If someone is working at Poundland or anywhere else, they should get the rate for the job. I think this government is so out of touch that I resigned my Tory party membership some weeks ago. In fact, membership is down to about half what it was at the general election.
David. This scheme only gave unscrupulous employers free labour. Not right
Quite right, If Poundland or anyone else can find work for unpaid workers, why can they not pay someone to do it??
David just remember it is not only the Conservatives who ran this sort of scheme. The principal may appear right but like most things that seem to come from Westminster they are ill conceived and if the jobs are there then a scheme such as this crowds out those looking for any job.
I've said it before about another work placement story a few months ago, but why don't the government just make arrangements with some employers that they'll make the claimants money up to minimum wage. That way the government gets people onto their schemes, the employer still gets a worker for cheap and the claimant gets to see what it's like to earn a proper wage for doing a proper job and they get something to put on their CV. Everyone's a winner and it would mean you'd be far more likely to get employers on the scheme who are serious about taking the person on full time at the end of the placement and not just looking for a temporary slave.
ElB. Sounds a very reasonable idea. Fancy the job as Work & Pensions minister?
This idea has merit. It would encourage people to join these schemes vountarily since even the minimum wage is better than jobseekers allowance........... Good idea!
Yes I agree, I also think that if the employer feels the 'employee' wasn't trying to work, was lazy or not interested in keeping the job ie someone the employer would sack should then get benefits cut/stopped! As it's clear the person does not want to work and is only too happy to live off benefits!
El Bubsio I think that would be a very positive way forward and does permit an employer to 'try before you buy'
They can all think themselves very lucky they don't live in America where the response is very different. Forcing people to work for no money for people in suits entitling themselves to brand new cars and thousands or millions of pounds per year is totally illegal and that is that. Whatever the judgment those people have managed to achieve, the people forcing them to work for nothing and all the other trouble they cause people, especially disabled people, they should think themselves lucky the ruling for them hasn't been far worse. I can remember the terrible stress my dad went through with those lot, during his heart attack, heart bypass and everything which happened after he left the army and it just really about time someone took the idiots to court and got this rightful judgment achieved for all the normal people who can't get anywhere in life for whatever reason. People kill themselves, people go mad, people suffer terrible, terrible psychological stresses from all the trouble the DWP cause them. I don't know if they have any idea of the lives they ruin or if those people even could care less. You can get the impression they couldn't care less just by reading the last two paragraphs of this story.
Iain Duncan Smith should resign, he won't though, the useless bunch of self-serving fraudsters inhabiting parliament have no sense of shame.
I take it we are talking all colours - years gone by they may have called parliament an asylum for the mentally deranged now they call it the seat of government
Just because they have a degree they expect a well paid job straight away well get in the queue. When I left school I had three jobs to get through to keep a roof over my head, not sponged on benefits! The benefit system need's to be radically changed. You must not be able to claim a penny until you have worked and contributed to those benefits. When you have worked for a minimum of ten years then you can if you need to claim a basic benefit and not before.
So, by your standards, if a young person can't immediately find a job the day after they leave school/uni, they can die of starvation. Nice. What a caring human being you are.
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I think they would bring back the work house if they could just for the Brits off course' when all the Romanians and the bulgerians get here in 2014 the do Gooders will have them strieght on the highest benefits and into comfy houses with child benefits going back to there country for the extendid familly
They were being paid just not by the company, nothing wrong with that. Where I work we have had a few people working while they claim jobseekers. Gives them something to get up for. They all got a lot from it.
what being paid your own money . why do you pay n/i
That's the thing they are not being payed for the work they are simply getting a small amount just enough to live and what they are getting payed is not equal to the work they do. Take for example my friend she is on one of these work placements at Instore Poundstretcher she works 30 hours and only gets her JSA of around £70pw now if as you say she is being payed lets work it out how much she is getting per hour? That's right it works out at around £2.30 per hour far less than the 7 or 8 pound her coworkers are getting payed. Now i don't know how much you get per hour but i dont think you would be happy to be forced into a job and do the same as the other employes and only earn £2.30 per hour while people
The point is they are being paid does not matter where from. Isn't it better that people do something for their jobseekers.
If the people in poundstecher get that an hour they are very lucky
could get rid of you and employ a non paid worker- oh dear
Toby, they could but I have made myself inindispensable, I am good at my job even being overweight and a bit older
Diane when you go in work tell the fat controller .you wish to be paid £70 pw
Reading some of these comments its clear that some people are completely missing the point of this story and are simply using it to vent there incorrect and uneducated ideas of what people on unemployment are like and while yes there are a small number that yes play the system but that said it is also wrong to label the larger number that do search for jobs as sponging off the system. In addition i can assure you that living on the small amount £70 you get from the JSA is not easy and it is not some awesome payed party time of work the reality is its hard very hard and by the time you have payed rent / tax / phone / tv Licence / gas / electric / food / internet (yes you need internet to to search and log your job search for the job center now) there is little to nothing left then throw in contractual commitments you may have things like sky or mobile phone or products purchased on finance where you cannot simply cancel them. Its also stupid to say that just because people have been made unemployed they can't have a little drink or smoke what you want them stop getting what little pleasures they have left in there life and go on bread and water ? On this story I am not opposed to people being given appropriate job placements but they should be payed for that work even if its at minimum wage anything less than this is simply an exploited / slave labor work force under the disguise of work experience / job training because stacking shelves at Poundland for free is so hard to learn and such a great stepping stone to a job in say truck driver or any other job. We need to see this for what it is simple slave labor where company's like Poundland get a free work force that are held at what could be considered gun point being exploited and forced to work for free.
Thought when people claim jobseekers the rent was paid
indeed eqinox. and they let people who post in here vote and drive cars . it's like a bad horror movie . and they say young people have no common sense der!
aneurin bevan founder of the NHS said in 1948 ,no amount of cajolery can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory party.... so for as iam concerned they are lower then vermin .... he was spot on
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery Winston Churchill. .
what Churchill said about Bevan , he is one of the few people i would sit still and Liston to
Whilst I think that it was wrong for the government to expect people to work 30 hour a week in a company to receive their JSA I do think it is right that they should do some work. I also believe that the woman should not be claiming JSA and working voluntarily in a museum. If she was willing to work for free there she doesn't really have an argument.
In a lot of European countries creating labour for those looking for jobs has been going on for a long time. I really do not see the problem with creating work for these people - if people claim benefits and cannot find a job, what is the issue with creating jobs. Whether it be helping old people out, cleaning streets, gardening, or the multitude of things that need to be done but we can't afford to pay for the labour - well these people are the work force. Also, the girl in question objected to the work as it didn't help her forwards in an area of work she wanted. Firstly, she needs to get a grip on reality - we can't all get jobs we particularly like - secondly, maybe there's a reason she can't get a job in that area - if she is not capable/no one wants her to work for them, then why should tax payer money go towards paying for her to not work in the hope that she might get the job she's not good enough for.
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She works part-time now in a supermarket. So uni was well worth it then?
This could put an end to work experience for the under 16s