Being asked to stack shelves – an alleged breach of Human Rights !

In another frankly outrageous attempt at using the Human Rights Act, in this case article 4 (2) which deals with forced or compulsory labour, a long term unemployed young woman is seeking to challenge the Government’s requirement to undertake unpaid work experience as a potential gateway to future employment.

In this case the individual was required, in order to remain eligible for jobseeker’s allowance, to spend 2 weeks working in Poundland, undertaking tasks such as filling shelves or cleaning the floor. She objected to this and claims that such activities, with the underlying sanction for non-compliance of removal of her benefits, are tantamount to a forced labour situation.

Surprise surprise, this will be yet another case brought with legal aid, so that the claimant and the lawyers have nothing to lose. At a time when legal aid looks like it will be withdrawn for many very legitimate and important cases, the fact it is being used for these types of Human Rights claims is really ridiculous, and it should stop immediately in our view.

What do you think ?