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Unemployed may not talk to press

12 March 2007 - A participant in a programme for the unemployed was threatened with ‘lousy jobs’ after having told a journalist of Mug magazine about the work he had to do.

In Mug’s February issue, Jeffrey Babcock explained how he had had to wrap chewing gum for the Hema department store in a warehouse without windows in Zuidoost for months. He was participating in a so-called ‘work first’ programme, forcing job-seekers to work without receiving a salary.

The company that ran the programme for the municipality, Consolid (today called A Deux), did not appreciate Babcock’s openness. “Two weeks after Mug’s publication, Babcock received a telephone call from his contact person at Consolid, who told him he had read the article”, Mug reports in its March issue.

“Next, Babcock was reminded that he was obliged to accept any kind of work Consolid would offer him. And ‘that there surely was some hotel for him to clean’.” An A Deux representative told Mug that he cannot discuss individual cases, but that he regrets the incident.

A Deux is not the only company offering work programmes that has a problem with work first participants going public. The Roosendaal chapter of the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) recently revealed that a local work first programme had told participants not to talk to representatives of the trade union.

See also: Babcock


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