According to SkyNews this morning staff at Jobcentres are going to go on strike, something to do with tele-centre working conditions and management expectations.
I went to a Jobcentre when I was made redundant in 2006 and a very depressing experience it was. I have only been employed for just over two years in the last twelve and having got used to turning up at the same place every day I guess I panicked and thought I’ll go along and see if they could help me. They gave me forms to complete and I had an interview with a nice lady who said she was sure I wouldn’t be out of work long with my experience. They tell lies there too.
It took three months for them to process my application for Job seeker’s allowance, they wrote and said that I did not meet the criteria as I had not been employed during the two year period they assessed my eligibility on. A complete waste of time. But… every couple of weeks I dutifully went along to sign in, that way my NI stamp got paid.
It may be different in other centres but there was very little interest in helping me to find another position, the key issue was that I had turned up and on time. As I sat there waiting for my meeting with an adviser – basically to sign in, I couldn’t help but overhear many of the conversations. Some related to a recent release from Her Majesty’s prison or what benefit they thought might be available. A lot of the chit chat was in languages I didn’t recognise. The most exciting visit included a kerfuffle when the reinforced glass door was kicked in by a guy who had his money stopped. The security guards jumped on him very quickly. Did I forget to say that you had to be let in and out?
I can understand why the staff are unhappy it’s a crap place to work, what I cannot understand is why it’s called a Job Centre when in my experience a job is the last thing you’re likely to find there.