Derek, an unemployed electrician spoke to the Socialist about the difficulties he has encountered “signing on”.
“I HAVE to sign at my local dole office once a month. Having lost my job at the start of September, I eventually got to sign on in November. This was at least a month earlier than I had been told it might be. After standing in line, and there was only one hatch being used, for an hour and a half I was getting ready to blow. Ten minutes before the office was to close they decided to open a second hatch. I had a few words with the “jobsworth” that reorganised the queues. She, quite correctly, told me it wasn’t her fault and advised me to “write to the Minister”.
“This week the queue was out the door – again. It was a snaking queue of about sixty yards long. This, it turned out, was the Rut – Z queue. Luckily for me, the Mc – N queue was only half that length. I eventually got to the hatch and presented my social welfare card and signed the back of my folder. This is the second time today that I have presented myself and my card. Earlier in the day I had queued in the Post Office and gone through exactly the same routine when I collected my money. I do that every week. Why is it necessary to drag people into the city centre in a wasteful, useless exercise?
“The staff that are being used to do this work would be better employed processing new claims. Because of the initial delay in signing on I had to go the local Community Welfare Officer and he gave me the equivalent of the dole until my claim was ratified. Another unnecessary layer of bureaucracy. Unfortunately, with jobless figures increasing exponentially, more and more staff will be needed to deal with the 400,000 plus that will be out of work soon. People who lose their jobs deserve to be treated with respect, paid a decent rate and given training with a job at the end of it.
“Today we were handing out Socialist Party leaflets outside the dole. One woman approached us and said she had been thinking about it for a while and wants to join the party. Two men came up to us and say they want to come to our next branch meeting.”