UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

If you see Sid tell him...

#cpc13 Or so went the Tory slogan on privatisation of British Gas. But I am referring to an old friend of mine called Sid. A Sid who like thousands of others in the public sector is paid to clean the streets, to clear graffiti. The street cleansing teams up and down the UK are fed up with the way in which their jobs are likened to ‘punishment jobs’. Community service for crimes? Make them clear graffiti. Too lazy to get a real job? Make them clean the streets. But Osborne’s demeaning approach is far more sinister than just an attack on the unemployed. It is an attack on the very concept that the public sector has a role to play in working for a better environment.

Osborne’s ranting doesn’t just play to the gallery of the Daily Mail reader but seeks to embed the concept that certain public sector jobs are ‘non-jobs’. Like Pickles he is trying to justify the cuts in local government by suggesting that huge swathes of jobs should be covered by the unemployed – because they are not real jobs. Unpaid work in the guise of welfare reform is an argument cut from the same cloth of the ‘Big Society’ myth. Unemployed people need real jobs not unpaid work cons which will simply recycle public sector workers onto the dole. So if you Sid tell him.

Anna Rose