From The Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council job agency GLLaB advertising Zero Hour jobs

Courtesy twitter.com and @royal_greenwich

Greenwich Council’s job agency has been advertising jobs that appear to contravene Labour policy in some areas, including advertising zero hour jobs according to some who have used the service, with one resident claims he never heard from them again after stating zero hours were inappropriate for him.

Here’s an example:

Job Title: British Music Experience Assistant x 10 Employer: AEG Hours: 0 hour contract – shift work must be flexible and able to work weekends Rate £7.25

They are also currently advertising for care assistants on 6 month zero hour contracts paying barely above the minimum wage. Training is unpaid too (three days) and people are expected to be able to work anytime from 6am to 10pm but with no guarantee.

Whilst zero hours jobs are fine for some, employers have received criticism for becoming too reliant on their use and the lack of secure hours can leave many unable to pay rent, especially under Universal Credit. Labour have been very critical in the past.

Money sink?

I’ve covered Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) on this site many times before. It has a website that almost never had any jobs listed on its online portal over recent months.

Roads beside 1600 pupil school opening soon. Little S106 money spent here

It is a huge recipient of Section 106 and Community Infrastructure Levy income from new developments (to the detriment of many other spending areas) yet frequently duplicates job agencies in its work, such as advertising coffee shop baristas using public funds.

S106 income dedicated to GLLaB totals over £40 million in recent years. That’s not far off the total amount for “affordable housing” at £50m.




In comparison, “Local Community” received £10.9 million, Health £10.5 million, Parks and Open Space just £7.2 million. Public realm was £8.9 million.

Any wonder Greenwich lags as one of London’s borough’s with the biggest obesity problem? It ranks 27th out of 32.

Forced to open up

Greenwich Council only recently started to reveal how they spend income after it became a legal requirement. This revealed the very high percentage of income going towards GLLaB.

That’s not to say it does not do good work – but the amounts it receives are vast.

Other authorities manage to run employment schemes as well as dedicate sizable sums of Section 106 income towards improving parks, streets and towns. In Greenwich income is skewed to an organisation with many flaws, that duplicates other job agencies and takes huge amounts of public money.

Examples

So then, let’s have a look at the amount GLLaB takes from various schemes. One recent example is a proposed Abbey Wood block now at the Mayor’s Office on appeal.

One of London’s most deprived estates is directly next door with high levels of health problems and a shopping area and parks in much need of investment.

Courtesy Google. An entrance to main shopping parade on Abbey Wood estate

Yet Greenwich wanted to allocate £400,000 of £1.25m income from the new scheme to GLLaB. Not one penny was allocated to improving local open space, parks or other improvements to the 1950s estate. Eventually the developer agreed to cough up 50k they weren’t obliged to. It won’t go very far.

Parcel Force opened a depot in Charlton at Bugsby’s Way in 2016. Many know how poor Bugsby’s Way is for pedestrians.

Bugsby’s Way. Pedestrians an afterthought at best

Yet out of £234k S106 income, £220k went to GLLaB and £14k to monitoring the application. Click below to enlarge:

Mind you, when Sainsbury’s did see £500k allocated to public realm in 2013/14 (a rare exception) nothing was spent.

Ikea nearby is bringing £486k to GLLaB. Nothing at all allocated to improving the local public realm (despite poor streets for pedestrians) and just £115k to “open space”.

Callis Yard tower in Woolwich is currently being built. £89k for GLLaB from that. Zero for public realm or open space in the area, which isn’t great by any stretch:

Stuffed with clutter and obstacles and straight out of the 1970s manual for road design.

Greenwich Millenium Village stages 3,4 and 5 brings in £800k for GLLaB. Just £155k for Public Realm when many local roads are dangerous and lack crossings:

GMV directly to left.

I could go on and on. Areas with various needs do not see much, if any, money from new developments in their midst as so much goes to GLLaB.

As stated earlier, GLLaB does do good work. Training, out-reach and more but  transparency is needed. Why does it take so much of the pie? How can it’s website not list any jobs for months at a time? What safeguards does it have against zero hour contracts and worker exploitation? Is it time scarce resources were spread a little more evenly across the borough instead of so much ending up there?

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5 Comments

  1. Bob

    I used them and found the experience shoddy. Very little help really and what they had on offer was poor. I ended up with much better at Reed.

    To see such large amounts dedicated to them is shocking. I really can’t see where it is going. Some classes, a poor website and a van that drives around costs how much?

    Most of what was on offer was poor quality and available in many other areas.

    • fromthemurkydepths

      You’re not the only one who says similar if emails to me are any guide. Criticising an employment agency which is helping people get work is never going to be popular in some circles but I did feel this needs highlighting. For one, the jobs on offer seem to contradict what some in Labour say about zero hours (and unpaid training) and the amount it receives needs scrutiny. I expect many local Cllrs will claim it helps people (which is true but not the whole story) and then try to shut down anymore debate and scrutiny. How dare you question something that helps people!

    • Louisa spicer

      I have also had a bad experience when using GLABB. Their Open days are poor, the job advice given by the people who work there is extremely poor. I once had a CV done there, the grammar was terrible and the whole lay out was wrong, in the end my partner did it for me. Then some years ago when we had the Olympics there was a huge job fair, loads of jobs on offer so I applied for a position in the travellodge in Woolwich. Both me and my daughter were sucessful and were looking forward to starting our new job. Then a few days after our interviews the job offer was retracted as they had too many people! I would never recommend them to anyone. I use Indeed for my job searches, thanks to them I will be starting a new job soon.
      Louisa

  2. The website looks like they’ve decided to build their own (badly), when it would likely be much more efficient to buy one off the shelf or partner with an existing provider.

  3. Paul

    I, too, am a past client, and as previously stated, the help offered was poor, to non-existent.
    Personally, I believe GLLAB to be a money stash for patronage positions, and/or pay-offs.
    As long as the same cabal is in charge, no investigations will take, or transparency, because it is not in their interests to do so.
    If any type of probe were to take place, a malignancy will very likely be exposed.

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