For over two years now Iain Duncan Smith has been pretending that his brutal and bodged welfare reforms have been about encouraging people back to work and making that work pay.
Throughout this period it has often been suggested that a more brutal social security system is really intended to increase competition for jobs and allow employers to force down wages and working conditions for everyone. Vastly increased benefit conditionality has led to hundreds of thousands of benefit claims being stopped or sanctioned. With workfare or destitution the only option left for those unable to find a job, exploitative employers have free reign to treat workers like shit, knowing full well if they leave, or are sacked, they will face increasingly desperate poverty.
Few have been cynical enough to suggest that Universal Credit will also make it easier for employers to casualise their existing workforce and make it easier to cut worker’s hours in times of ‘business troughs’. Yet just released DWP guidance for employers explaining Universal Credit suggests that this – along with increasing competition for jobs – is the real thinking behind the new benefit regime.
From the DWP’s own website (PDF):
How does it affect my business?
Universal Credit will have a positive effect on your business as you will:
- find it easier to fill any job as more jobseekers will be willing to consider short term or irregular work
- be able to identify opportunities for flexible working using your existing part time employees to meet business peaks and troughs, without the overheads associated with recruiting and training new staff
- have access to a wider pool of applicants for your jobs, many of whom are registered on our Universal Jobmatch service, to help you fill your job vacancies quicker