What does it mean to be ‘fit/unfit-to-work’?

For starters, the obsession with fitness/able-ness to work is abhorrent, this obsession of labelling how able/disabled someone is, is abhorrent, this obsession with defining ourselves, defining our ‘worth’, based upon being able to work is abhorrent, life ISN’T just about work, at least it shouldn’t be.

There isn’t some universal magical line that separates someone or a health condition/disability as either being/causing someone to either be fit or unfit to work. All jobs require different physical abilities, different skills, different intellectual abilities, different mental abilities, different levels of physical/mental levels of energy or concentration, jobs require different emotional and/or personality attributes, different jobs require a whole host of a wide variety of different abilities, skills, capabilities, time, effort, availability etc. etc. Not only that but not all jobs are available in all parts of the country, not all jobs are flexible to circumstances, jobs don’t just require one of the plethora of differences, jobs require a mixture of all kinds of differences.

All health issues vary in how they effect different individuals, there isn’t some mystical parameter that states how each health condition/disability will effect each individual in a rigid set way.

Regardless of physical/mental health conditions/disabilities, all humans are uniquely different. Someone able bodied isn’t ‘fit-to-work’ every job that is out there. Some will lack the intelligence, skills, level of concentration, personality traits, etc., to do some jobs.

The circumstances we find ourselves in are all different, just one of many various different examples is that some will have children. They may or may not be a single parent, they may or may not have family or friends able to look after their child/children, they may or may not have certain attributes, skills, qualifications, experience, etc., to get a job that pays enough for them to be able to afford childcare, they may or may not decide to want to work or want to work part-time to spend time with their child/children, they may or may not be available to work certain hours, available to work in particular jobs that require flexibility, available to work in a job that requires high levels of concentration, as having a child/children can affect the amount and quality of sleep, it can be extremely tiring to work and then look after a child/children regardless of whether they’re getting ‘good’ sleep or not.

Another example could be that someone may look after a sick, disabled or elderly relative that effects the amount of hours and types of jobs they’re available for/able to do, some may have a criminal record and the vast amounts of complications that this brings, some may live in an area where the bus schedule dictates when and where they’re available and are unable to afford, even with a job, to have a car, some might have other commitments in life, such as studies or volunteer work.

We are all different and the circumstances in our lives are all different.

So when you consider just how different we are as humans, the many and varied differences of each of us, plus the different attributes needed for different jobs, the different availabilities of jobs at different locations, the different circumstances we have in our lives, even this shows that it is crude and ridiculous to claim someone is simply ‘fit-to-work’ before we then even begin to consider the added complications of health difficulties/disabilities.

Which brings us to another point, given our individual differences, the different requirements and locations of jobs, the different circumstances we all have, it is hard enough to get a job for those ‘fit-to-work’, so how are people with the added difficulties of health issues/disabilities supposed to compete with those people? There aren’t jobs specifically created for, and neither is there tailored support for those that are defined as being varying degrees of ‘unfit-to-work’, the Conservatives have taken away/stopped/cut the meagre support and available jobs that did exist. Neither is there any choice or dignity in whether someone with health difficulties/disabilities is to work or not work.

Our culture is that of an individual only being judged to be allowed to live and have a life… IF they work, if you don’t work then you’re judged to be unworthy to have any kind of a life. Attitudes of the majority are that being ‘unfit-to-work’/being unemployed (regardless of health/disability) equals being ‘unfit-to-have-a-life’. Unless of course you’re born to a wealthy family, then it is okay if you don’t work, as you have wealth and can choose to do whatever you so wish.

Competing against one another in a job market is a norm that the majority accept without pause that there could be another way.

The support given to those ‘fit-to-work’ is useless at best and malicious at worst, never mind the ‘support’ given to those varying degrees of ‘unfit-to-work’. The world of work is heavily favoured to employers, especially big businesses and corporations. Just look at the proposed Trade Union Bill, look at the disparity between the minimum wage and cost of living, look at the cut to corporation tax, look at zero-hours contracts, look at the removal of legal aid at tribunals, look at the changes to when and how a company can fire someone, look at the types of jobs created, look at how we are pitted against one another to compete for jobs, look at the rise in disparity between the pay of those in top-jobs compared to those at the bottom, look into how capitalism needs unemployment to function. Look into it, research, go at it with an open mind without the existing ideas you (may) have about ‘getting a job being the most important thing in life’ – you will see how unequal and how advantageous and rigged employment is to employers and how we’ve all been conned to compete against one another for the benefit of a tiny few.

The availability of jobs is manipulated, unemployment levels are purposefully kept at certain levels to increase competition at the bottom, to force people into accepting low paid, low hours and insecure work so that salaries and bonuses at the top can grow and to have high profits. This is why this government exploits people through workfare, this is why this government sanctions welfare recipients, this is why this government and mainstream media bombard society with propaganda surrounding the (non-existent) ‘scrounging, fraudulent, something-for-nothing, welfare dependents’, all for more wealth for those who have the most by exploiting those who have the least.

Does it really need explaining that cutting ESA to those in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) won’t ‘incentive’ people with health conditions/disabilities into work? Do the effects of #ESAcuts really need explaining?

  
When IDS previously stated that “claimants should be supported to take up any work they can”, he is massively oversimplifying incredibly complex situations. He is making it seem as though it’s entirely the claimants responsibility and making it seem as though he’s ‘supporting’ people, when the truth is that he and the Tories have cut the (already insufficient) financial support that people need, cut access-to-work funding, closed places like remploy and much, much more.

The words IDS speaks without any sign of irony or remorse doesn’t in any way match the actions that he and the callous despotic Tory government are doing.

The culture being created and attitudes of society are being manipulated to where it isn’t about the health and wellbeing of people, but merely about exploiting those with health difficulties/disabilities, manipulating societies anger towards the oppressed – to cause conflict and division, to distract and deflect anger away from himself, the Tory government and the crony capitalist society we live in.

Plus…

Exploiting those with health difficulties/disabilities, those ‘unfit-to-work’, forcing people to work by threat of destitution and by abuse from society, regardless of whether or not they can actually work within current employment constraints and structures, regardless of how it will effect the individual’s health, regardless of the added traumatic suffering, regardless of the destruction of, and even ending of lives.

The focus from IDS is on treating people as workers, simplifying complex situations and humans with their mass amounts of differences into workers. Making life entirely about work, valuing a person entirely on work. If you can’t see the problem with this then I doubt you ever will.

We must challenge IDS, the Conservative Party, the media and the current policies and attitudes of the DWP. We must challenge the ease at which the mainstream media controls society and  challenge the abhorrent attitudes of many in society.

Is just a little empathy, a little considerate understanding, a little dignity, choice and support, a little bit of common sense and a little bit of solidarity and togetherness really too much to ask for?

Please also read this exceptional article on this subject and share it far and wide!

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