Zones of low pay

DAVID Blunkett was this week set to announce plans to set up 40 Employment Zones. Some 15 will start next month. The projects are to be run by private firms which will profit from the unemployed. Anyone on the dole who refuses to take part will have benefits cut. New Labour is using benefit cut threats to force people to take low paid jobs. Private firms will be paid bonuses for pushing people to take a job, no matter how poorly paid. Companies running Employment Zones include Reed in Partnership.

This consortium will run Employment Zones in Doncaster, Liverpool, and in Haringey and Newham in London. It is made up of Reed Personnel Services, Nat West Bank and the Shaw Trust. NatWest Bank has thrown thousands of bank workers on the dole in recent years. The recent merger of NatWest with the Royal Bank of Scotland threatens 18,000 jobs. Dave Owens, coordinator of the campaign against Employment Zones in Liverpool, told Socialist Worker: "The government aren't creating the jobs people need. They are just reshuffling the dole queue. Employment Zones are based on US schemes which have seen people left with no benefits at all."