Over 12,000 Disabled People Forced To Work Unpaid Since Workfare Scheme Launched

Government statistics on the number of claimants forced to work for charities without pay reveal just over 12,000 disabled people have faced mandatory referrals to unpaid work since the workfare scheme was launched.

Read more: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/over-12000-disabled-people-forced-to-work-unpaid-since-workfare-scheme-launched/

More action is needed to highlight the abuse of charities in government workfare schemes.
Local angle (Framework) latest news: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/5789 Background on Framework: https://nottssos.org.uk/2013/05/05/opposing-charity-involvement-in-workfare-a-new-local-campaign/

Photos of the anti-workfare demo in Nottingham City Centre on 23/3/2013

Here are photos of the anti-workfare demo in the snow, that took place in Nottingham City Centre yesterday to highlight the continuing scandal of forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Four shops were visited that are involved with workfare (Burton, British Heart Foundation, Debenhams, Poundland). Leaflets were handed out and shops were entered to speak with workers and customers. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage.

The Boycott Workfare campaign, which is acting as an umbrella for actions such as the Nottingham one organised by Notts Against Workfare, has compiled a list of workfare providers including the four visited on Saturday in Nottingham and is also asking for information about any other shops or companies who are using workfare (they may be local independent businesses as well as the more well known high street names). You can contact Nottingham Against Workfare by emailing nottsagainstworkfare [at] riseup.net and visit the Facebook page to find out more (details here: https://nottssos.org.uk/2013/03/01/burton-blockade-against-workfare-saturday-23rd-march-2013-2-00pm/ ).

Also read this shocking evidence of a ‘league table’ amongst Job Centres who are competing over targets for getting claimants ‘referred’ for supposedly not complying with precise rules for job searching etc., showing that the attack on welfare is concerted and ongoing with the complicity of Job Centre managers who are doing the government’s bidding and who are making hitting targets a performance measure for staff who work there:
Jobcentre was set targets for benefit sanctions, The Guardian, 21/3/2013.





Boycott Workfare week of action 3rd day report – Nottingham event forthcoming on Saturday 23rd March, Market Square

Boycott Workfare have reported on the first three days of action against workfare (compulsory work for benefits) which started on Monday 18th March:

  1. A4E Communications Blockade – Day 3 of the Workfare Week of Action
  2. Contact workfare exploiter Salvation Army – Day 2 Workfare Week of Action
  3. 24 hours to stop IDS rewriting history and robbing £130 million – Day 1 in the Workfare Week of Action

Nottingham event on Saturday 23rd March 2013

The Nottingham campaign encourages everyone to show their opposition to workfare by coming on the Burton blockade against workfare – Saturday, 23rd March 2013, 2.00pm.
Meet at the left lion in Nottingham City Centre, Old Market Square.

Facebook event page for the Burton blockade:


Burton blockade against workfare – Saturday, 23rd March 2013, 2.00pm

Nottingham against Workfare have announced a local action during the Boycott Workfare week of action.

Saturday, March 23, 2013. 2:00pm until 5:30pm.
Burton Mens Clothing, 11-13 Beast Market Hill, Nottingham NG1 6FB

NaW say,

As part of the workfare week of action
http://www.facebook.com/events/517491058274105/ Nottingham against workfare will be taken action against Workfare scummers Burton’s. Part of the Arcadia group notoriuous for their tax doging way, Burtons have been using those forced into workfare to stack their shelves and clean their floors for quite some time without ever paying them. We plan to close down their shop amd let them know how disgusted we are with them and others like them who continue to abuse the working class.

Facebook event page for Burton blockade: http://www.facebook.com/events/341132549339550/

NaW facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nott.workfare

Background to the week of action

Workfare Can Be Broken – Join the Week of Action on 18-24 March and help make it happen

The Government is pushing ahead with increasingly savage workfare policies despite the fierce resistance to the scheme causing many high street names and national charities to pull out.

Unemployed people can now be sentenced to six months compulsory unpaid work as part of the Community Action Programme. On December 3rd last year – International Disabled People’s Day – the DWP introduced forced work for sick and disable…d claimants.

Companies such as Superdrug, Argos and McDonalds, who have all been quick to take on unpaid workers on government schemes, have seen a year of boycotts, pickets, demonstrations and occupations due to their involvement in the scheme. Many national charities have pulled out as a result of protests, but some, such as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Salvation Army and Sue Ryder Foundation are unrepentent about their army of government subsidised unpaid workers. Many of the new workfare programmes depend on charities like these to provide placements.

Workfare can be broken by showing these organisations that the public have clearly rejected unpaid work. Evidence has shown that mandatory work has no impact in actually helping someone find a job, the stated aim of the scheme. Instead workfare is used to replace real jobs, with some companies even caught taking on unpaid workers to fill temporary Christmas positions.

Join Boycott Workfare on 18-24 March for a week of action against workfare exploiters everywhere. Take action in a town or city near you, join in online and show all those who profit from forced labour that we mean it when we say “if you exploit us, we will shut you down”.

Workfare ‘walk of shame’ in Nottingham city centre – 30/9/2012 – photos

On Saturday September 30th, a group of anti-workfare activists took to the streets of Nottingham to picket some of the corporate workfare profiteers and to highlight why workfare (work for benefits) is such a dangerous idea. Both charities and high street shops are benefiting from free labour organised by job centres and third party providers (who also take a cut). Activists visited Burton, Barnardo’s, Primark, Greggs and Superdrug with a banner, sound system and flyers.

Report and Photos: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/2836
More photos: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/2834

See also: http://www.boycottworkfare.org

Boycott Workfare – new day of action on 8th September 2012 – role of charities in forced work-for-benefits highlighted

Take part in the day of action against workfare on 8th September –
charities should know better!

Last time groups across the UK got together to tackle workfare, Holland &
Barrett – one of the biggest workfare offenders – announced that they
would be pulling out. A big shout out goes to SolFed who organised pickets of Holland and Barrett all over the country.

With workfare amongst corporate companies in retreat, we are turning our
attention in September to charities who are set to receive a huge influx
of workfare as the government roll out their Community Action Programme

We will be taking to the streets to remind charities that workfare is
never for ‘community benefit’ – as the government are trying to claim by
involving charities – and that they have a duty to stand up against such
punitive and exploitative schemes. Join an action on Saturday 8th
September on your local high street. Check the facebook group to find your
local action or arrange one on your high street. Also, keep your eyes
peeled for ’10 top reasons charities to oppose the involvement of
charities in workfare’ blog coming soon on the Boycott Workfare website.

UK wide day of action against charities’ involvement with workfare
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1544 and

Actions against public organisations that are taking workfare will be
coming soon too and pressure on corporate companies will continue!

Visit website for Boycott Workfare

Holland & Barrett pull out of workfare – Boycott Workfare week of action 7th-14th July 2012

Before it even starts, the Boycott Workfare ‘Week of Action’ has had a major success: Holland & Barrett who have been using workfare on a huge scale (1100 placements a year amongst a workforce of 3500) have said that “the 60 people currently undertaking the work experience scheme will be the last to complete the eight week placement. After this time Holland & Barrett will not participate further in that scheme.”
More info:
H&B pull out – http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1265
Workfare facts – http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=663
Week of action 7th-14th July 2012: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1258
Companies involved with workfare: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1284. See also: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?page_id=16

Anti-workfare demonstrations in Nottingham on Saturday 3rd March 2012 – part of National Day of Action

National Day of Action Against Workfare (March 3rd)

Joint Notts Uncut/Notts TUC Workfare Action as advertised on Nottingham Indymedia: http://nottingham.indymedia.org/events/2429

Saturday 3rd March 2012. Starting 12:00 noon outside Wilkinsons, Parliament Street (across road from Victoria Centre), Nottingham.

See also: Boycott Workfare Leaflet

In solidarity with Liverpool Uncut’s action against workfare on Saturday 3rd March, Boycott Workfare has called a national day of action against workfare.

So many high street stores are involved in taking on forced unpaid labour that there is plenty of choice – Tescos, Asda, Holland & Barrett, Primark, HMV, and Topshop to name but a few.

Workfare means that those who need welfare are forced into unpaid work for multi-million pound companies. Instead of a living wage, they receive only JSA – a tiny £53 a week for the under-25s – far below minimum wage.

Workfare means those in paid positions may see their jobs replaced by this unpaid labour. Why would a company pay for people to do these jobs when they can get free labour from the Job Centre?

We can put a stop to this forced unpaid labour – Waterstones, Sainsburys and TK Maxx have all recently announced that they would no longer take unpaid placements – the other companies just need a bit more encouragement to stop this exploitation.

We demand an end to this exploitation and call for welfare rights and living wages for all!
If you continue to exploit us we WILL shut you down!

In conjunction with Notts Trades Council.

Contact email: nottsuncut@gmail.com

More background information

The government has budged a tiny bit on workfare by claiming to withdraw the sanctions from its Work Experience scheme. This is a direct result of the enormous public pressure that has been put on companies who have been profiting from workfare.

But this is not the end of workfare and therefore we must keep the pressure up. That is why we will be taking to the streets this Saturday. Work Experience is just 1 of 5 workfare schemes. The Work Programme is another one of these schemes in which job seekers will be forced to work unpaid in high street stores, including well known charities, up and down the country. Some of these stores that may be worth a visit include – Wilkinsons, Savers, Asda, Pizza Hut, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos, Holiday Inn, Poundstretcher The Work Programme is a particularly disturbing form of workfare – not only can job seekers be forced to work unpaid for 6 whole months, but most shockingly, disabled people can be forced to work unpaid for an unlimited amount of time.

If you cannot make it to your local high street (or there is not an action near you) then you can follow the link to the companies’ online complaints page to raise issues about the exploitation that they profit from. You can also target the usual suspects (Tescos, Poundland, McDonalds, Holland and Barret, WH Smiths) who are still taking part in the Work Experience scheme and may well be involved in others. And then there are the companies who have only suspended involvement: Scope, Matalan, Argos, Superdrug. The Work Experience scheme is still a cause of concern. As the government press release made clear, there are still sanctions involved in this scheme and therefore there is still the element of compulsion. George Osborne has stated “Young people who don’t engage with this offer [of work experience] will be considered for mandatory work activity” where severe benefit sanctions (starting at 3 months!) can be imposed. With the Work Experience programme still being linked to sanctions directly and indirectly, and still remaining unpaid, we suggest pressure is put on companies to withdraw their support and to offer real paid jobs!

Here are some forms of action that will be happening up and down the country that you may like to try out: local groups are planning to do tours of the companies involved, set up stalls to make people aware of their rights on the various programmes (see Boycott Workfare site for materials), go into stores and ask managers to withdraw support or simply shut the stores down. Teach-ins and mic-checks are also fun activities you might want to include.

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