Monday, 7 March 2016

Manchester 'Day of Action'


This Wednesday 9th March sees a National Day of Action, with peaceful
direct action taking place all over Greater Manchester to protest at
unfair benefit sanctions and the devastating impact they have on

"It's in opposition to the Department of Work and Pensions continued
onslaught against benefits claimants through sanctions"
says Chris
McBride of Unite Community which is organising the Day

"Thousands of benefits claimants have had their benefits stopped for
months at a time and the reasons given include 'late signing on', in
many cases just one or two minutes, and late signing due to claimants
proven attendance at job interviews and funerals" he adds .

"Around eighty per cent of appeals against sanctioning have, in these
circumstances, proven successful, though much research has exposed
many claimants reluctance to appeal for fear of rejection, and even

"Suicides and sickness have been the result of benefits sanctions
according to many
" he explains "Deaths commonly seen as directly
related to benefits sanctions include David Clapson, Stephanie
Bottrill, Victor Cuff, Jacqueline Harris, and many more."

A report by Sheffield Hallam University and Crisis states that, "the
sanctions rate has increased dramatically", leading to food poverty,
survival crime, family/relationship tensions, mental and physical
health problems, fuel poverty, debt and possible homelessness.

The latest availaible DWP statistics lists Rochdale Job Centre, Fleece
Street as having the third highest rate for sanctioning benefit
claimants in the whole of Greater Manchester.

Of the 4,078 people then being sanctioned at Rochdale Job Centre 40%
were sanctioned without being told why these sanctioned were imposed
by Claimant Advisers.

Locally the figures break down at:

•Rochdale Job Centre Plus, Fleece Street - 4,078
•Middleton Jobcentre Plus - 1,484
•Heywood Job Centre Plus, Taylor Street – 972

A total of 6534 in all.

Across the Greater Manchester, the Manchester East & West area had
24,072 “adverse” sanctions. Of these the majority by far were in the
18-24 year age group totalling 246, 592 individuals. With 91,603 in
the 25-29 year old age group.

Most worryingly across the whole of the United Kingdom there were
49,827 disabled people who were sanctioned by the DWP.

Mental health charities have campaigned against the scandal of one
hundred people a day with mental health issues being sanctioned by the
DWP under the DWP sanctions regime.

As well as Unite Community, the Day of Action is backed by Disabled
People Against Cuts, Unite the Union, Boycott Workfare and the TUC.

There's also a rally at Piccadilly Gardens Manchester between 2pm and 4pm.

For further details see Unite Against Sanctions Facebook page and the
Unite the Community Union online petition against sanctions at :

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