Posted: July 15th, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: Pledge to boycott workfare | No Comments »
The government continues to try and push workfare with numerous work for benefits schemes in spite of a groundswell of opposition across the UK.
Already nearly 400 voluntary sector organisations have pledged to Keep Volunteering Voluntary, and over 20 councils have pledged to avoid workfare too. It’s important that other sectors also firmly turn their back on workfare: will your organisation sign the pledge to Boycott Workfare too?
Why organisations should sign:
- There is huge public opposition to workfare schemes, with thousands boycotting those involved. Signing the pledge will reassure people that your organisation is not taking part.
- Workfare schemes are backed by a punitive regime of benefit stoppages, sanctions, which have driven the need for foodbanks in the UK and put people at risk of destitution for up to three years.
- Replacing motivated and decently paid workers with people facing destitution from often arbitrary sanctions will not be of benefit to your organisation or the claimant.
- Evidence shows workfare does not help people find work.
- Signing the pledge will make it clear in advance that your project won’t participate in or police any of these schemes.
Let’s pre-empt any expansion of workfare – and bring it to its long overdue end!
Get your organisation to sign the Boycott Workfare pledge:
“We the undersigned commit to refusing to participate in compulsory work-for-benefits placements. We want volunteering to remain just that!”
Email email@example.com to add your organisation to the growing list below!
Union member? Approach your employer to sign the pledge with support from your trade union branch! Please download the Union motion – boycott workfare to bring to your trade union branch and a leaflet to bring to meetings and events.
See the full list of organisations that have already signed the pledge here.
Posted: July 7th, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action, Welfare to work industry | 3 Comments »
Previous CESI workfare conferences in Birmingham and Manchester have been met with protests, disruption and occupations.
This annual gathering of organisations profiting from workfare – or hoping to – is being held at the Arena Convention Centre in Liverpool on Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th July.
If you’re near Liverpool, take part in the protest as the conference opens on Tue 8 July at 9am-12noon.
Wherever you are, why not let the private companies, charities and think tanks involved know what you think online #intowork2014. If you only have a minute – use our handy tweet buttons below!
The conference is being organised by CESI (Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion) – self appointed ‘thought leaders’ in the welfare to work industry. People who make their money supporting policies that mean forced unpaid labour and poverty for many, but escalating profits for the few.
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Posted: July 5th, 2014 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action | 7 Comments »
“This case is another massive blow to this Government’s flawed and tawdry attempts to make poor people on benefits work for companies, who already make massive profits, for free”
So said Public Interest Lawyers yesterday after the High Court ruled that the government’s emergency retrospective legislation, introduced in 2013 – so as to apply thousands of unlawful sanctions to claimants – is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The retrospective legislation was introduced in order to rewrite history, when the Court of Appeal had originally found thousands of benefit sanctions on workfare schemes unlawful. In response the government came up with emergency legislation, which was designed to retrospectively render lawful benefit sanctions that were issued under the 2011 regulations. This deprived some of the poorest people in the UK of £130million in social security payments that they were lawfully owed. The emergency legislation meant that all previously imposed sanctions were made valid in one block – even sanctions that would have been unlawful under the old regulations anyway. This means that ongoing appeals against sanctions, which would have succeeded before the retrospective legislation was enacted, were bound to fail.
Now, however, the High Court has found that this retrospective legislation was incompatible with the right to a fair trial. Significantly, the Court called this move “draconian” stating that it was “not explained or justified”.
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Posted: June 29th, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: International, Welfare to work industry | 3 Comments »
Making it not worth businesses’ while to be involved in workfare is one tactic that could help stop workfare internationally
Where is Ireland’s welfare system headed? It’s clear where the Irish government want it to go. They have been explicit about what it is that they want: something that looks like the UK system. The reforms point to what now exists here: the same multinational companies (G4S, Serco, etc.) are bidding for contracts; similar unwaged work schemes, like the already existing internship programme JobBridge, are set to play a prominent role; and the use of benefit sanctions is set to increase.
The reforms are already underway. The winning contracts for Jobpath, the welfare-to-work scheme for those unemployed over a year, modelled on the UK’s disastrous Work Programme, will be announced shortly for four Contract Package Areas across Ireland. Private employment service providers such as Ingeus are set to create a welfare industry with themselves at the head of supply chains and the taxpayer footing the bill. Below them, they will aim for a host of subcontractors from the voluntary and charity sectors, as well as smaller private providers.
Ireland’s government has ignored the vast evidence of the welfare to work industry’s failure in the UK, and instead are on a path to repeat the same mistakes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 11th, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: Charities, Info on schemes, Name and shame | 7 Comments »
Update 13/6/14: Read about what happened at the hearing here. Judgement is expected in 4-8 weeks.
Media release, 11 June 2014
Tomorrow, 12 June, the Information Commissioner will challenge the DWP to reveal a list of organisations which have used Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) placements for jobseekers at an Upper Tribunal hearing . The DWP will argue that due to widespread public opposition, the controversial workfare scheme could collapse if the names are revealed . If it loses the appeal, the decision could become a landmark ruling on the obligation of the DWP to reveal details of the private companies delivering government contracts .
It is thirty months since the original Freedom of Information request was made, and the second time that the DWP has appealed the Information Commissioner’s decision that it must reveal the names of MWA workfare placement providers .
Despite the government’s own evidence showing that one month MWA placements have “zero effect” on helping people into work , the government launched an extended six month version on 28 April, “Community Work Placements”. Like MWA, these placements rely on the participation of public and voluntary sector “host organisations” to deliver placements for “community benefit” .
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Posted: June 6th, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: Unions | No Comments »
Members of PCS union work for the DWP and job centres so are involved in the day to day delivery of workfare and sanctions. Members have shown they oppose it by voting for national policy against workfare and sanctions. Now Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare are asking them to use their power to help put a stop to these punitive measures.
Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare joint statement on PCS Union and non-cooperation:
1. We note that motion A81 that recently passed at the PCS conference makes reference to the PCS Union working with Disabled People Against Cuts and Black Triangle. (1)
2. We note that motions E340-E342 submitted by DWP branches also called for the PCS to work with Boycott Workfare, but that references to Boycott Workfare were dropped by the NEC from motion A81. (1)
3. Black Triangle and Disabled People Against Cuts wish to express their solidarity with Boycott Workfare who we believe have organised a broad based and successful campaign against workfare and sanctions.
4. We note that the legal advice received by the PCS in 2013 accepted that the tactic of non-cooperation could be used as part of a campaign of industrial action consisting of action short of a strike. (2)
5. We note that the PCS currently have a live mandate for industrial action and will be consulting members on 12th June about coordinated strike action. (3)
6. Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle and Boycott Workfare therefore call on the PCS NEC to consult members on adopting a tactic of non-cooperation with workfare and sanctions.
Support our call for PCS to ballot for non-cooperation on sanctions and workfare:
- Get in contact with your local branches and ask them to raise it with their union.
(2) http://www.pcs.org.uk/download.cfm?docid=C20641E2-9DE4-4FFE-8E11590CCB7E0F51 (Motion A533)
Posted: June 2nd, 2014 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action, Uncategorized, Welfare to work industry | No Comments »
Stop G4S demo at previous G4S AGM
Boycott Workfare are supporting the Stop G4S network’s protest this Thursday at G4S’ Annual General Meeting. Among their long list of abuses, G4S are the company the government are depending upon to prop up their latest punitive workfare scheme ‘Community Work Placements’. G4S are also involved in the government’s other workfare scheme, the Work Programme, which seems to mostly involve G4S staff spending their time filling out sanction referrals. Below is the call out from Stop G4S. Hope to see you there!
Protest at the G4S Annual General Meeting
1pm, Thursday June 5, Western Terrace, Excel Centre
Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London E16 1XL
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Posted: June 2nd, 2014 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action, Charities, Info on schemes, Pledge to boycott workfare, Public Sector | 1 Comment »
On Saturday, this demo in Sheffield persuaded tens of people to boycott workfare users TCV.
Today, 2 June, is the deadline by which Community Work Placements – the flagship policy announcement at last year’s Conservative Party conference – were required by contract to be up and running (see 1.22 &1.23 here). Community Work Placements are six month forced unpaid work placements for unemployed people which require local council and charity participation to claim to be of “community benefit”.
However, thanks to massive opposition to this draconian new workfare scheme, CWP is floundering. Here’s how: 350 voluntary sector organisations have so far signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement not to take part since the campaign launched a month ago. The list includes household names Shelter, Oxfam, Crisis, Scope and many others.
These organisations point to the impact of benefit sanctions on food poverty and homelessness and believe mandatory work undermines the value of freely given volunteering. Over 15 councils have also pledged not to take part, many through signing Unite the Union’s new pledge. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 26th, 2014 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action, International | 2 Comments »
Boycott Workfare banner drop in Leiden
Update! Join in a quick online solidarity action with Doorbraak targeting the owner of the strawberry farm using the contact form on his website and tweet his mate Jan Broertjes the mayor of Midden-Drenthe who also supports workfare. More details on the poverty profiteering happening there in the blog below.
Two members of Boycott Workfare recently visited the Netherlands after an invitation from anti-workfare activists based there to share what we have been doing in the UK. We spent two days with Doorbraak, the group which organised the visit, giving talks in the evenings in Amsterdam and Leiden. In Amsterdam we stayed at one Doorbraak member’s home which was just on the edge of the Jordaan district where unemployed people rioted back in the 1930s.
Doorbraak, which translates in English to ‘breakthrough’, was formed back in 2007 by people who had been involved in migrant struggles. They wanted to start a new group which brought together different groups of people on the different issues we face and ‘turn the world upside down, organise from the bottom up!’ (which rhymes in Dutch). Over the last 3 years they have been taking action against workfare in Amsterdam and Leiden, after militant research they had conducted about the crisis and how it was affecting people uncovered this issue. For some activists in the group who had been very involved in migrant struggles, they were now also acting from their own direct experiences.
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Posted: May 2nd, 2014 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Action report, Call to action, Charities | 16 Comments »
On Monday, David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith launched a new workfare scheme called Compulsory Work Placements – part of a bundle of punitive measures called Help to Work. It ran into a lot of trouble on launch day and hasn’t been doing well since then.
Over 150 voluntary organisations have signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign to say they won’t take part in any workfare scheme, including Oxfam, Anti-Slavery International, Unison, Unite, and NCIA. And the government won’t be able to fall back on the public sector: Liverpool City Council say they won’t be taking part.
The pledge was launched on the same day as Help to Work. Already more than twice as many organisations have said they’ll never take part in CWP as the 70 that the government claims are signed up to deliver it. It’s not clear how those 70 organisations are going to be able to arrange for more than 120,000 people to do 780 hours of unpaid work. They’d have to accept more than 1,800 placements each.
And it turns out that even the unpaid work the DWP especially suggested unemployed people should do – like cleaning war memorials – won’t work. No-one in government bothered to check this with the War Memorials Trust. They say that they can’t actually take part in CWP, because each memorial is the responsibility of one of a hundred thousand custodians, who’d have to be asked individually. And anyway, the work is usually done by ‘specialist contractors or conservators’.
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