To: Ed Milliband
Please Help stop the UK Governments plan to retroactively change the law!!
On 25th March 2013, the House of Lords passed a Bill to retroactively change the law to ensure the Coalition Government did not have to face up to their Court imposed responsibilities. This Bill now highlights the utter contempt our “leaders” have for the law by having it changed to suit themselves. They are basically above the law.
Please still sign and circulate this petition. It is imperative that we show we are united in our disgust for such a Bill. We cannot let this matter end here.
We will be redrafting this petition in the next few days but rest assured your signatures will still be valid and will still highlight your anger at the passing of the retroactive law.
Why is this important?
Last year, student Cait Reilly and unemployed driver Jamieson Wilson, took the Tory led coalition to task over their controversial Workfare programme arguing that it was unlawful. Three Judges found that regulations under which most of the Tory led coalition back-to-work schemes were created are unlawful.
The main issue is that the Tory led coalition lost this case and they lost because they failed to provide sufficient and legal information about Workfare to job-seekers. It is estimated that 231,000 people were originally affected by their decision and had their benefits sanctioned (ie stopped). The morality of the Workfare system is not being debated here (although flaws of the system are outlined below). This petition is about the abhorrent behaviour of the Tory led coalition that followed this decision and their decision to retroactively change the law.
On 19 March 2013, a Bill was rushed through the House of Commons which will change the law (that they broke) retroactively thus enabling the Tory led coalition to avoid having to repay the money that they illegally took from job-seekers - an average of £550 per person.
The issue here is threefold:
Firstly, the Tory led coalition (assisted by Labour and Lib Dems) are trying to retrospectively change the law to protect themselves from their own flawed policies. By retrospectively changing the law they can ensure that no law has now been broken and thereby avoid having to repay those who they illegally sanctioned. This behaviour is morally repugnant and vile and cannot be allowed to happen.
Secondly, there seems to be a complete media blackout on the story and the Bill was rushed through, the day before the Budget - one may argue in an attempt to bury it?
Thirdly, the Workfare scheme is fundamentally flawed and has been shown not to be an effective tool to get unemployed back in to work. The problem is there are no jobs for people and the Tory led coalition is deflecting this fact away by demonising those looking for work such as Miss Reilly and Mr Wilson.
There is plenty of evidence to show that workfare claimants are replacing real jobs. Since this WP came in, many retail giants and the Royal Mail have used workfare so they don't have to offer overtime to their existing workers. Asda recently put all their part-time staff on contracts which guarantee just 4 hours work a week.
Many shops are run by workfare.
This whole scheme is about exploiting labour - the workfare claimants are being exploited for free labour; the existing workers are being exploited by losing hours and pay; and we are all being exploited when what we buy is making profits for corporations which are using what is effectively indentured labour.
People who are fortunate enough to be paid for their work are afraid of rocking the boat lest they be replaced. These schemes guarantee a cowed and compliant workforce, paid or not, who will be reluctant to unionise and unwilling to protest in case they lose their jobs.
Meanwhile, taxpayers' money is being poured by the billion into the coffers of welfare-to-work companies and corporate profiteers, and Labour seem to be OK with this in principle.
These are extremely important issues and cannot be ignored.