How Job Agencies Bully the Unemployed

Karen Thorn (AUWU member)

I’m writing to you in relation to some issues I’ve had with my job search provider – Florence Jacobs, Global Skills Ingleburn. I have been with them since July of 2015.

global skills
At my very first appointment I was laughed at because I could not take my children to my parents place to be looked after for job interviews etc. because I had stated to her that were deceased! She made comment that she had to take her children to her parents and that brought them up so that she could work to buy a house. She suggested that maybe a neighbours house would be more appropriate as I have to do as required or payments will be suspended. I also told Florence that I was volunteering at Myrtle Cottage which is a facility that provides activities for the elderly. I attended there once a week for 6 hours to which I really enjoyed and made me feel that I was providing my skills for the community. Florence Jacobs objected me to do this and told me to quit doing it as I now would have to fully dedicate my time to job search only. I stopped going to Myrtle Cottage as she stated to do so.
Whilst attending weekly job search I often said hello to other people who were there looking for work on the computers. I was screamed at by Ms Jacobs to ‘SHUT UP’ as they do not approve of talking whilst at the computers?
In November she approved me do a short course Retail Cert 11. This also involved some work experience at Coles MacArthur Square.
Days I attended were 18-19, 24th of November 2015. During the course I received a call from Florence Jacobs as I failed to attend job search that morning. I told her that I’m at global skills Campbelltown attending the course. Work experience 2-3-4, 7-8th of December 2015. During work experience I only replenished the shelves of food and no real learning of how the store is run.
On the 2/12/2015 I received notification that my payment had been suspended as of the 27/11/2015. When I attended the Centrelink office in Ingleburn on the 2/12/2015 I was informed that it was due to a failure of attendance to an appointment with Global skills ingleburn. I stated to the service officer that I never received any notification of any appointment. Payment was reinstated. Florence Jacobs also refused to assist me with payment of polo shirts for work experience only to offer a ‘Dressed for Success’ session in Marrickville Sydney to which I would of had to travel over an hour in the car and through multiple tolls. She refused assistance again with this. She even stated that if I was to catch public transport, funds would only be given on receipt of monies spent on tickets etc.
I was instructed by her in an appointment which was in the mid of December, just before school holidays that I would have to come in for an appointment in January to sign documents relating to the Work for the Dole scheme. After completing my job search requirements on the computer she gave me an appointment card with the date of the 11/01/2016 at 9am on it for work the dole paper work. She also gave me a form to do more job searching over the Christmas break and January with January written on the front.
When I attended in January 11 for the appointment she stated that the appt was meant for the 12th. I stated well while I’m here I fill in the forms anyway! She stated that she had changed her mind and I would not be doing work for the dole. She changed the date on the form of job searches to December and ordered me to do more job searching for 2 hours and that I must apply for 20 more jobs. I did not do this as I had already completed my required amount of job searching for the month.
Mid January I applied for DSP and was put on an exemption. This expired on the 4th of March 2016. I was notified by phone from Florance on the 17 March 2016 because of a failure to attend an appointment at 9am. I instructed her that I never received any notification of any appt. She said that she had sent a letter to my address on the 8th March 2016 to which I never received. She threatened to suspend my payments during the phone call. During my call to the DEWRSB they had stated she had contacted me by phone and I had agreed to the appointment for the 17 March. I had never received any phone call from her to arrange appointments.
I attended global skills that afternoon for her to sign a transfer form. I asked the receptionist to ask her if the same. When the receptionist exited the office I heard Florance state ‘this woman is a joke’ with her giggling. She had called the new JSA in relation to my transfer. She exited her office and photocopied the transfer form. I took it from her hands and she stated to me with a grimicing face ‘you will never transfer from here, ever’. I had my 13 year old son with me at the time and he even said to me ‘why did she looked like a bulldog, she pulled faces at you!’. I exited office and attended the Centrelink office in ingleburn to make a complaint to them about the intimidating behaviour. Centrelink extended my exemption till the 6th of April at this time to allow me to make a complaint through the Government Employment Complaints line and to source another Job search Provider.
On the 18th of March I called Global Skills Liverpool to speak to a manager to which I was transferred to a Compliance officer named ‘lilly’. After explaining to her my complaint she became very abusive claiming that I was nothing but a nuisance, never complied with any of my obligations and that she would be grateful to get rid of me off their books. In reply to this I said that I would also be be happy to be transferred from there services as I was not being helped with any of my concerns in relation to job search requirements etc. She also stated she had viewed CCTV footage of me committing a violent act towards Florence Jacobs by ripping up an appointment card and snatching the form out out of her hands. I asked her if I could now record the conversion, she refused for me to do this and she terminated the call.
I rang the DEWRSB complaints line on the 21/03/2016 in relation to the abusive behaviour that was shown to me by Florence Jacobs on the 17/03/2016.
On the 29/03/2016 I was contacted by Dennis Tumai via email in relation to the complaint made by me dated the 21/03/2016. After hearing of his false allegations of me ripping up the transfer form and throwing it into Florence Jacobs face, he then informed me that he has multiple witnesses that are happy to sign affidavits that state I was violent. I asked if he would give me permission to record the conversation to which he refused and terminated the call. I then contacted DEWRSB in relation to this call and informed them of the allegations made. I was informed at this time that Global Skills cut off period to inform them of results of trying to resolve my complaint was due by closing of this date. I was then informed to contact DEWRSB on the 30/03/2016 to inquire of their report in to the complaint.
I called them only to be informed that they had made the allegations of a violent act towards Florance Jacobs by ripping up the transfer form and throwing it into her face and that it is viewable on cctv footage. I stated to the operater that I have the original form in my possession and I believe that they are falsely accusing me.
On the 31st of March I contacted DEWRSB in relation to the above to which they confirmed was in their report from Global Skills. I informed the operator that these are nothing but false allegations and that I too have proof as I still have the transfer form that is in perfect condition.
At this time I am a waiting to be contacted from Global Skills in relation to viewing of the footage and for them to try and seek resolution to my complaint. Global Skills have until the 04/04/2016 to comply with DEWRSB’s request for more information in relation to resolution of the complaint.
I would just hope that anyone who has been treated like this to stand up and be a voice and make a complaint because this behaviour is just simply unexceptable.
Thanks for reading.