John McArthur

Here is the reply to the latest Motherwell Times article on Lamh Recycle which I cannot get posted on their web site:

"The print version of this article describes people on CWP employment schemes as "recruits" who had "signed up" however, they are not recruited or signed up but ordered under threats of sanctions to work for no wages . One conscript stated in the article that their job prospects were improved by being on a mandatory work activity (MWA) scheme however a DWP report shows that on average "an MWA referral had no impact on the likelihood of being employed compared to non-referrals" (but they can reduce the unemployment count). These schemes bypass minimum wage regulations and not only does the organization get the labour, for which they would otherwise have to pay, for free but they are actually paid by the DWP/agents. None of the charities that I am aware of in Motherwell Town Centre, nor any of the major national charities, participate in the CWP scheme because they believe it to be wrong.

Anyone who wants work experience might consider genuine voluntary work (but check very carefully if the Job Centre will allow it) which appeals more to employers because it shows the person is working through their own free will and it also saves the tax payer a fortune due to the fees paid by the DWP to their agents. Please also note that organizations enter into a contract for taking conscripts knowing full well the nature of the coercion involved (i.e sanctions) so the article isn't correct to publish the claim that it is the Jobcentre who is doing the forcing and that "it's nothing to do with LAMH". It was also very disappointing to read comments purporting to come from happy conscripts which include the stereotypical Benefit St view of unemployed people as being lazy and unable to get up out bed and look for work. This can only cause further distress to their fellow citizens who are now tarred as scroungers and subject to forced labour for the crime of being unemployed through lack of vacancies.

I would also like to thank once again the many people whom I spoke to outside Lamh Recycle premises each morning who (bar one) expressed their support. I also deeply appreciate the extraordinary kindness of people whom I have never met but who have contacted me offering assistance. They keep alive the true spirit of charity, i.e caritas (love), and giving without seeking a fee (or free labour).

John McArthur

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