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Did my jobsearch in front of them. Still got sanctioned

Location: UK » London » NW
Did my jobsearch in front of them. Still got sanctioned

Ravi, aged 22. Trying to sort out a sanction at the Kilburn jobcentre.

“I have to come here every week. One week is to just sign on and one week is to speak to an advisor – but it’s not really to speak to an advisor. It’s just to sit in front of them and they are just going to say “there’s nothing to really match your criteria here – retail – so see you next week.” It is a system set up for you to fail. If you don’t turn up for an appointment – because [for example] you have got to come in every morning and they say, well, you didn’t turn up, so you’re suspended.

“They suspended my benefit. Apparently, the reason was that my jobsearch wasn’t correct. Apparently, you can’t hand out CVs any more. They go – “95% of your jobs are online” and they [said to me] “a few of your jobsearches say that you handed out CVs and these places don’t accept CVs. Therefore, you’ve been suspended.”

“I was sanctioned, yeah. I think I still am. I’ve got to come back to talk to someone at 3.15pm and they are going to explain it. It’s a bit difficult. My adviser [that I’m talking to today] – out of all of them, he’s okay. He’s more understanding, unlike the rest of them. I think they’re fed up with their own jobs to be honest. He’s quite good. He’s really understanding. He would actually advise me, unlike the rest of them.

“I asked them – what was the reason for the sanction? I asked them like three times and they kept diverting the conversation. So I honestly didn’t know. [It came about this way]. Basically, I came in on time and it was 9.15am or something, and then one of the advisers looked through the [jobsearch] sheet and he said “come back at 11.15am to the third floor.” So I came back at 11.15am, not knowing what I was coming back for. She said “the reason why you’ve been told to come back is that your jobsearch is incorrect.” I asked her “Why? What’s wrong with it?” and she was like “some dates are missing,” and I was like “it’s all there. Maybe I’ve just made a few mistakes on it.” She actually gave me the chance to do it again in front of her, so I literally done it again in front of her. I spent like 15 or 20 minutes doing it again and I handed to to her and she said “it’s still incorrect” and I said – “I honestly do not know what you want me to do. I’ve done it again.” I don’t like arguing and things like that – some people there really argue and shout – but I’m not like that. I was like, “Okay, fair enough.” It’s their decision, so I just left them and I’ve been told to come back today to sort it out.

“This is my first time of being sanctioned, so it was pretty confusing. This is my second time at the jobcentre since I’ve been 16. I’ve always been working, so I’m not used to the system. I’m not sure what it’s all about to be honest. So it’s changed. It’s more confusing. They were telling me that there’s like a million people from age 18 to 24 on benefits, so obviously they’re probably frustrated behind the scenes and all, but I think that the way they take it out on us is not right. I’ve seen the way that they treat people upstairs myself and I don’t say anything, but I think it’s not right.

“The way that they treat people – just because they’re sitting behind the desk and they’ve got the job, they don’t know what is going on in the lives [of people claiming JSA]. You know, maybe they had to leave work for a personal reason. It’s not because they’re lazy, or they don’t want to work – but they [jobcentre staff] actually think that everybody is like that. They just don’t understand that. The day I got sanctioned – I went in and I gave my book to a man… I was told to give it to him, because the person who asked for it wasn’t there on a Monday morning. They hadn’t turned up. [The person] wasn’t in the office and they [the other staff] were all getting a bit anxious – like, “where is she?” and “we’ve got to do her work now?” and they were all in a panic up there and I think that sometimes they take out their personal anger on us. There’s nothing we can do really.”

“Work – I don’t mind [what work I get]. I’ve worked in heaps of jobs. I’ve worked in retail, I’ve working in banking, I’ve worked for the NHS. I’ve had loads of different jobs, so at the moment, I just want to get back into work. I’m pretty much looking for anything – maybe back in banking, or retail. I worked until January this year. It was contract stuff and that is the problem. I get the work myself. I have never had a job through the jobcentre. I always get the jobs myself. If I’m honest, there’s a few people I know who have [got a job through the jobcentre], but it’s very few out of all of them. Maybe one or two.

“Contract work – it’s not ideal. Once the contract is over and you haven’t got any backup, then yeah, you lose everything that you’ve worked for. You save up and when the contract ends, if you haven’t got another job, everything that you’ve saved up goes onto your bills and stuff like that and you’ve got to start again. I’m more stressed out coming here once every week [than when I’m working] because it’s really stressful. You don’t know what they’re going to say.

“I have to do 20 jobsearches a week. Twenty a week is [difficult], especially if you have to go out places and if you’re sanctioned as well – you haven’t got the money to go out. I had to explain that to them. They booked me a place to go [on a course about apprenticeships] after they sanctioned me. I called up and I said – “I’m not going to make it, because I haven’t got the travel money,” and they said – “Well, you’ve got to make it. You’ve got to find a way to get there,” and I said “look, I’m just looking for a full time job to be honest,” but she said “you’ve still got to go.”


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