The Chair of the Derry Trades Union Council, Liam Gallagher, has urged workers, the unemployed, and their families, to convene at 1.p.m. in Guildhall Square on Wednesday for a protest against the controversial new Universal Credit (UC) welfare system on the day it goes live on Derry’s cityside.
Mr. Gallagher said the new system has been deliberately designed to punish dole claimants and will have a disproportionate effect in an area of higher unemployment like Derry.
“Trade unions and community groups will continue to protest and highlight the the impact that this scheme will have not just on new claimants but on the growing numbers of working poor who claim Child Tax Credit,” he said.
“There will also be the prospect of reassessment of all claimants shortly which will lead to real hardship in Derry. The fact is that this scheme is intended to force people off benefits by reducing entitlements and the introduction punitive sanctions for the least thing,” said Mr. Gallagher.
UC replaces the Jobseeker’s Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits payments. From tomorrow all new benefits claimants on the cityside must apply for a single UC payment.
“There are not prospects for meaningful employment on Derry for thousands of unemployed and economically inactive people. Instead of punishing claimants time, effort and resources must be put into bringing decent jobs. UC will do lasting damage to the unemployed and our local economy which is already in serious decline,” said Mr. Gallagher.