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Now we know what unpaid work experience really means

The Close Protection UK (CPUK) ‘London Bridge incident’ casts a grim spotlight on the nature of the government’s Work Programme. A total of 80 persons were bussed in from Bristol, Bath and Plymouth, 50 of them ‘apprentices’ paid £2.80 an hour (when the minimum wage if £6.08 an hour) and 30 unemployed paid nothing at all, in order to act as stewards for the jubilee pageant. Dropped at London Bridge at 3am, they were told to ‘camp’ there on top of the concrete, change into cellophame macks and combat trousers in the open air, woken at 5.30am, and then did a 16-hour shift, with just a sandwich and bag of crisps, and no access to useable toilets for 24 hours.

No.10 dismissed the public furore by nonchalantly claiming it was a “0ne off” and an “isolated incident”. How do they know that? The only reason the rest of us got to know about this is that treating people like cattle contrasted so sharply with the ostentatious grandeur of the pageant that it got reported. If it had happened in some non-descript town – as it does every day – it would have gone unnoticed. The real scandal is that, so far from being a one-off, the steady trickle of outrageous stories about the treatment of the under-class indicates that this is now commonplace in Coalition Britain.

The value of the stewarding contract for the jubilee was £1.5 million. So how much was pocketed by CPUK and its manager Molly Prince, though clearly not enough to justify paying anything at all to unemployed jobseekers? Prince, it turns out, has been director of no less than 8 previous companies since 2006, all in the same line of business, and all dissolved, many after being run from the same address in Wigan as CPUK.

This is not the first time that the government’s infamous Work Programme has run into trouble.   Jobcentre Plus has been wound up and lucrative contracts have been showered on private providers who are supposed to get people back into work.   By far the biggest of these privateers, A4E run by Emma Harrison who paid herself £1.4m and lived in a huge mansion together with several of her friends’ families, was found not only to be corrupt but also failing lamentably to fulfil the contract for which it was paid so handsomely.   Though the company cherry-picked those most likely to return to work, the proportion it helped back into employment was far lower than Jobcentre Plus, they stayed in work for far less time, and the work was generally more low-paid and temporary.

3 Comments

  1. paul toplass says:

    It seems to be a worrying trend that unscrupulous employers are sidestepping the minimum wage by offering apprenticeships in allsorts of frivolous jobs: sandwich making, stewards,hospitality are just the tip of the iceberg. The companies that offer these BOGUS jobs need rooting out and action taken against them we need properly paid jobs and proper apprenticeships that deliver skills and increased standards of living.

  2. david morris says:

    Meach old chap,

    Far be it from me to point out that a personage so grand as yourself is capable of being wrong, but in this case, you are.

    Both mainstream sources of information for lefties ran with quotes from unnamed sources in regard to this story, however three trainee stewards at this event were happy to go on record :

    Robert Cooke, 30, from Plymouth:

    Organisers found somewhere for us to shelter, and said that if any of us wanted to get into our sleeping bags to keep warm, then we could. Most of us just stayed up chatting. It was a good laugh, and we had access to the portable loos the whole time. They have paid for all the training for my licence and an NVQ in crowd safety. They gave us boots worth £80, and a uniform. We worked out that what they’ve spent is the equivalent of us being paid £45 an hour.”

    Kirsty Nicholls, 23, also from Plymouth:

    I would like to thank CPUK for the amazing experience I was a part of this weekend. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity. We were treated with the utmost respect and highly praised for the work we had done. I personally volunteered to do all three days work as I found the experience incredibly pleasurable. I look forward to a long career with CPUK.”

    Markus Hanks, another volunteer, said:

    Thanks for a great time at the Diamond Jubilee. Brilliant company to work for, great staff, brilliant atmosphere between everyone, looking forward to working with Close Protection UK again at the London 2012 Olympics. I’m supporting you and the Close Protection UK 110%.”

    What should really have tipped you off as to the veracity of the original information was the support provided by My Nobel Lord Preposterous Prescott.

    Just try a little harder in future to fact check stories before you adapt their theme to your self serving ends.

    Kind regards

  3. Grayling says:

    The Tory trolls have gone cough ! quiet for some reason

    On Digital Spy

    ” Let’s not forget that the director of the Tomorrow’s People “charity”, who sent the young people on this course with taxpayers money (run by Close Protection UK), is Tory peer Baroness Stedman-Scott.

    Tomorrow’s People were one of the main culprits involved in the Major era Project Work pilot programme, it seems that they haven’t changed their tune much. There’s an awful lot of money to be made out of taxpayer funded free labour for companies. Especially companies owned by politicans and those that bankroll political parities.

    Tomorrow’s People also work under CDG in East London & Prospects, Rehab and JHP Training in two of the South West areas

    Recently, Newsnight revealed that Tory Baroness Stedman-Scott, earns £100,000 for her role at the “charity”, and employs no less than eight others on £50,000 a year.

    Molly Prince, the director of Close Protection UK contributed to a book about the nature of the ‘security’ industry, along with such notables as Dave Courtney, a well known English gangster.

    Molly Prince also seems to be known as Mary Prince or Mary Jane Prince on many of the company records. She so far has set up no less than 5 companies, all 5 of which has been struck off by Companies House using powers under the Companies Act — having failed to submit any accounts whatsoever: She has set up a couple more limited companies this year, as Molly Prince, with the same address as the security company. They are called Vision Lifestyle Ltd and Commitment Fitness Ltd, with little sign of them having done anything yet.

    And yet the governemnt are satisfied that this is a “one off”.

    This whole thing stinks to high heaven. Additional information that has come to light:

    The director of Close Protection UK, Molly prince, — the company responsible for the Jubilee stewards fiasco — received a twelve months suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice. The conviction relates to a family dispute which resulted in a man in coma.

    It goes far FAR deeper than “people forced to sleep under a bridge” and “some people enjoyed it”, and could result in the same corruption that was seen in the “expenses scandal”, where political MPs and Peers are profiteering out of Taxpayers cash, invested into companies with close links to notorious gangsters, whose Directors are convicted criminals.

    I hope the lid is blown right off this thing. ”

    Tom Watson MP said on Twitter that a little part of Michael Fallon’s soul must have died today and he can’t wait to meet him on the Daily Politics show , on his blogs he says Tory Central Office had organised a distraction fight back ………… Lord Prescott on Twitter says the whole thing is beyond parody ….then there’s the little matter of G4s at the Olympics being tainted .

    Johnny Void has done a very interesting WordPress Blog about the Tory Donar business links to Tomorrows People ….not much nepotism as incest ?

    There’s been more sleaze and corruption with PR Dave Snooty and his braying toff pals in the last two years , than in the 18 yrs of Thatcher and Major and the 13 of New Labour with Blair and Brown .

    Over to you Cicero …never mind Molly ..or Mary Jane Prince ….there’s a TV career on Daytime TV talk shows for you ….or you could tell all about your alleged extensive plastic surgery and how allegedly you gave all those ex criminals with spent convictions work out of the goodness of your own heart in supermarket magazines – a journalism career awaits !

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