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pathfinder

White Collar Contracting Destroyed By Benefits

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I used to be a CAD Technician working on Infrastructure / Civils projects. I have posted a few times about my predicament, From £24hr with a max of 2 weeks between jobs (most of the time its start next next Monday). I went from an industry that has been firing people for 2 years to making a living as a support worker on £6.37p to keep rolling.

Anyway an agent rings me up, I have worked for him in the past.

'Ive got this job, its paying the going rate £18hr plus maybe a bit more'

'Great, but ill warn you I have got an interview for £7hr long term'

'Ah, damn this contract is for a month'

'Oh dear, well if I don't get this job I could go for it, but I cant risk taking 1 month compared with 12 months even if its low pay'

'Tell me about it, I have tried 2 others already'

'Really why did they say no?'

'They are both on benefits and cant risk taking 1 months work'

When an industry treats full-timers like contractors unable to maintain workflow, those employees no longer trust the companies to look after their interests. People would rather stay on benefits than take a 1 month job. Makes sense if you think the next 11 months are going to be bleak anyway I guess. It is the first time I have been working through a recession, Interesting how the workforce simply drifts away from an industry. I think Engineering practices assumed the staff would rush back to work on 1 month contracts then go fend for themselves for the other 11.

Well it seems they would rather watch tv and eat fish and chips.

Edited by pathfinder

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Well, not destroyed by 'benefits', is it?

It's being destroyed by crisis capitalism.

Your desperation for work is being taken advantage of.

It's not the fault of the benefits system if you're being offered a week's/month's work and that's all.

That's the perfect distillation of the neoliberalists'/Chicago school dream - businesses consisting only of core sales/admin staff and everyone else being hired/fired as required, paid as little as possible, offered no perks and kept scared of negotiating for them due to fear of job loss.

You have joined the much-vaunted flexible workforce.

The perfect scenario for stockholder returns.

Remember - whats good for business is good for society.

Just not ours in the UK.

Meet the 21st century - so like the 19th in an increasing number of ways.

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Sadly, it occurs in other industries over time. If permies and contractors are being fired and no jobs are available for a long time, then you need to retrain for something that pays just as well.

Nothing to do with benefits. Who wants to earn the small amount of money available to single people on a benefit when they could earn a good wage instead? I don't and other contractors don't.

The reason I survive as a full time contractor is that the work keeps coming in, the wages don't go down too much and I keep retraining to learn more skills. If that changes I'll not go on a benefit, I'll do something else.

If the work is not there, it's not there. Do something else and save yourself from an industry that has died.

Edited by Flopsy

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Well, not destroyed by 'benefits', is it?

It's being destroyed by crisis capitalism.

Your desperation for work is being taken advantage of.

It's not the fault of the benefits system if you're being offered a week's/month's work and that's all.

That's the perfect distillation of the neoliberalists'/Chicago school dream - businesses consisting only of core sales/admin staff and everyone else being hired/fired as required, paid as little as possible, offered no perks and kept scared of negotiating for them due to fear of job loss.

You have joined the much-vaunted flexible workforce.

The perfect scenario for stockholder returns.

Remember - whats good for business is good for society.

Just not ours in the UK.

Meet the 21st century - so like the 19th in an increasing number of ways.

True, but the benefits system does not sit well with uncertain short term contracting. In a sensible world, the 2 dole bludgers would have jumped at the chance for a months work and then immediately been able to return to benefits. The moment you are viewed as a contractor and working for yourself you might as well not bother trying to get benefits when you are out of work. There is a prima facie case here for the "citizen's wage", however I am sure that would screw things up in unforeseen ways that would destroy any advantage it would give in this (or any other situation) situation.

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I used to be a CAD Technician working on Infrastructure / Civils projects. I have posted a few times about my predicament, From £24hr with a max of 2 weeks between jobs (most of the time its start next next Monday). I went from an industry that has been firing people for 2 years to making a living as a support worker on £6.37p to keep rolling.

Sorry, but even I know that your particular specialty has gone down the hose in terms of pay and job availability. Contracting is booming in other specialties / job types with pay similar to what you used to enjoy.

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Well, not destroyed by 'benefits', is it?

It's being destroyed by crisis capitalism.

Your desperation for work is being taken advantage of.

It's not the fault of the benefits system if you're being offered a week's/month's work and that's all.

That's the perfect distillation of the neoliberalists'/Chicago school dream - businesses consisting only of core sales/admin staff and everyone else being hired/fired as required, paid as little as possible, offered no perks and kept scared of negotiating for them due to fear of job loss.

You have joined the much-vaunted flexible workforce.

The perfect scenario for stockholder returns.

Remember - whats good for business is good for society.

Just not ours in the UK.

Meet the 21st century - so like the 19th in an increasing number of ways.

A remarkably prescient post. Welcome to 21st century serfdom.

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Sadly, it occurs in other industries over time. If permies and contractors are being fired and no jobs are available for a long time, then you need to retrain for something that pays just as well.

Nothing to do with benefits. Who wants to earn the small amount of money available to single people on a benefit when they could earn a good wage instead? I don't and other contractors don't.

The reason I survive as a full time contractor is that the work keeps coming in, the wages don't go down too much and I keep retraining to learn more skills. If that changes I'll not go on a benefit, I'll do something else.

If the work is not there, it's not there. Do something else and save yourself from an industry that has died.

Those very same specialist skills are a noose around your neck. Even jobs that could cross over like structures and infrastructure in the boom times, in reality it was heavily frowned upon. Anyone can survive as a full time contractor as long as the works comes in. If your sector bombs it's game over. Not had a job in the last year, sorry we have a stack of people that have. Not worked in a certain speciality for 2 years, forget it.

Retraining to get work is a farce, take a huge chunk of debt then hope someone will hire you without any real experience (youll be inept for 3 months, why bother when you can hire someone with 5 years behind them), the only safe bet now is self employment with a low outlay, or NMW that involves a good 6 months worth of training that most people would consider demeaning.

Thanks to low debt we only need a joint income of £8k a year to tick over which is another temptation to swap out of jobseekers while the other person takes a £10-11k job. Tax credits plus jobseekers you can do pretty well underemployed. A Surplus of 7k on top of living costs, plus you get a year off every other year (even without kids), benefits certainly do make short term contracts look worthless.

I have not tried this out yet but I bet quite a few are, last year I got £820 a month working + tax credits of £180 + wifes jobseekers £292.50. If you can swap over its not a bad life!

Edited by pathfinder

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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