Posted: June 12th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
Boycott Workfare outside Policy Exchange after “ruining” their event
In return for supporting the passage of a retrospective law to steal £130 million from claimants who were illegally sanctioned
, the Labour party were promised by the government that there would be an independent investigation into the sanction process.
Of course, we expect little from an investigation that came at the price of justice for claimants. With no space for claimants to actually submit their concerns and experiences, the views of claimants will be not be represented.
With your help, Boycott Workfare would like to highlight the devastating impact that benefit sanctions are having on people’s lives. Collecting together your experiences of benefit sanctions we will be putting together a sanctions zine. Email us your words, however many or few you want to use. Things you may want to include may be:
- the length of the sanction
- the ‘reason’ the Job Centre gave for imposing the sanction and how they told you this ‘reason’
- how it affected your life, including its impact on your physical and mental health, your family and friendships
- how you coped during this time
- and how you are doing now e.g. still claiming JSA, stopped signing on, signing on to a different benefit, stress/worry about further sanctions etc.
- perhaps you have not been sanctioned, but have been bullied and threatened with sanctions
Email us at email@example.com
Feel free also to submit drawings and get in touch if you have any other ideas or suggestions. We also welcome submissions from those who are indirectly affected by benefit sanctions, such as welfare activists, welfare advisors and those involved in the Civil Service Rank and File Network.
We look forward to reading your submissions!
Posted: June 1st, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
Time to start combating the hit squads
The government appears to have abandoned their previous plans for compulsory 6 month workfare placements for everyone finishing the 2 years on the Work Programme. There was no mention of it when they announced their post-Work Programme plans
yesterday, which is a victory for all anti-workfare campaigns. By us all putting pressure on workfare providers there are no longer enough companies and charities who are willing to be involved to make such a huge scheme possible.
Unfortunately the government are planning to go ahead with their other plan of intensified Job Seeker Agreements and pointless activities for when we finish the Work Programme. They are threatening daily meetings with advisors and referrals to Mandatory Work Activity (which is already struggling to cope with current placements) – all coordinated by the sinister sounding “hit squads”. On top of this they are planning to throw another £30 million at the likes of A4e to provide “training schemes” which normally involve little training, and just provides another opportunity to sanction us.
Pushing people out of the welfare system is what this new scheme for people finishing the Work Programme is all about. As the Department for Work and Pensions admits:
“The programme comes after Jobcentres involved in a trailblazer found that claimants targeted by an intensive approach were much less likely to stay on benefit.”
They do not even pretend these measures are there to help people into work. Instead they are there to provide more opportunities to sanction us and to take away our only financial support.
Posted: June 1st, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Last years’ Stop G4S protest outside G4S’ AGM
G4S are holding their Annual General Meeting next week where they will boast about the profit they’ve made from exploiting unemployed people. A Prime Provider of the government’s failing Work Programme, G4S force people onto workfare and sanction benefits
for millions of pounds of government money.
G4S are in the business of force. As well as making claimants lives miserable through coercion and bullying, G4S also profit from detention, imprisonment, and the exercise of force on behalf of oppressive regimes. Join the Stop G4S demo next Thursday in London and link up with others to stop them ‘securing your world’.
Read the call out from the Stop G4S campaign here
Join the facebook event here
Posted: March 24th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action | 2 Comments »
Workfare demonstration in Bristol
At the start of the week of action, the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) put out a “myth buster” in defence of workfare. The ERSA is the trade body for welfare to work companies like A4e and JHP Employability, so it’s no surprise that their myth buster continues to propogate myths about workfare.
Yesterday demonstrations and pickets took place around the UK. Today we are back online, and asking you to combat the lies ERSA is telling about workfare, and spread the simple truth that workfare doesn’t work. So firstly we explore the five “myths” about workfare, and then five truths that you can help share.
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Posted: March 5th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Charities | Tags: YMCA | 8 Comments »
The YMCA have published this report from their Policy and Research department which was written around the end of January. The report contained a page on their participation in workfare, and we have sent them this letter in response to some of the points they raised.
Dear Jason and Mary,
We read your Policy And Research Update document (2013 issue 2) which talked about your involvement in workfare with interest and would like to respond to some of the points raised in the document.
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Posted: February 25th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: Sue Ryder | 2 Comments »
Join an online, rolling picket of workfare exploiters Sue Ryder.
Ends: When Sue Ryder pull out of all forms of workfare.
Update: This action has had success! Sue Ryder announced today 25/2 that they will be doing a phased withdrawal from workfare.
Since Sue Ryder became the first and only UK charity to admit they will use claimants on sickness and disability benefits as forced unpaid workers hundreds of people have contacted them to express disgust at their activities.
This followed the revelation that Sue Ryder are part of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme and also accepted free workers on the Community Action Programme. This is one of the nastiest workfare schemes which involves 720 hours forced unpaid work simply for being unemployed. This is over twice the maximum Community Service punishment which can be handed out by the Courts.
Sue Ryder are unrepentant about their use of mass workfare and have even boasted about how much money it makes them! They sought to justify this and them calling people forced into their shops as volunteers in a Question and Answer response to criticisms they received online.
We urgently need to keep up the pressure and ensure that Sue Ryder know exactly what the public think about forced unpaid work. Join the hundreds of people who have already said they will boycott the charity and send a message not just to Sue Ryder, but to any other charity considering the Government’s vile offer of forced free labour carried out by sick and disabled claimants.
Telephone: 0845 050 1953 (they also have a freephone number for shopping online at: 0800 917 8123)
General contact form
There well staffed PR office can be reached on: firstname.lastname@example.org
To let them know you no longer wish to donate use: email@example.com
To find locations and contact details for individual shops visit
Sue Ryder have a youtube channel here
Join the facebook bombardment and tweet them here using this button:
Sue Ryder shops with individual twitter accounts include:
Sue Ryder shops with active facebook pages include:
(search for “sue ryder” shop on facebook to find more)
Scott Arms Birmingham
Bourton on the Water
We urge people not to contact hospices run by the charity or clinical/care staff. This is about ending workfare, not disrupting people’s care.
Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls/emails will be low paid retail/admin staff and could even be on workfare themselves. Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls or send communications which are threatening, indecent or offensive.
Posted: February 15th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Info on schemes | 12 Comments »
We are being informed that Job Centre Plus advisers are wrongly informing claimants that following the High Court ruling ‘nothing has changed’. This is in fact incorrect. As things currently stand following the ruling by three judges in the Court of Appeal on 12th February, our understanding is that:
1) If people are currently under sanctions from the unlawful schemes, these sanctions should be lifted immediately and they should be put back to first tier sanctions. If you are currently under sanction from one of the unlawful schemes but it has not been lifted, please get in touch.
2) Unless people have been sent updated notices under reg 5 of the new regulations then there cannot be a requirement for them to attend any of the schemes they have been sent on (except Mandatory Work Activity). As Public Interest Lawyers put it:
“The DWP made it clear in submissions to the court that the immediate effect of the judgment was that they would be unable to require people to attend affected schemes and that must be the case. Until lawful Regulations are passed and new notifications are sent out I struggle to see how attendance can be required on the affected schemes.”
3) Unless the government wins the right to appeal to the Supreme Court and wins that appeal, then people who were sanctioned on any of the unlawful schemes should be paid the benefits that were withheld. The government has indicated it will not consider paying this until the appeal decision has been made and has issued misleading guidance to Job Centre staff to tell people that they cannot appeal before then. This is not the case and in some instances you can lose your right to appeal if you do not do so within a month. See the very useful update from Child Poverty Action Group here. As soon as a model letter to appeal is available, we will share it here.
So, for anyone say on a 6 month sanction that sanction should be immediately lifted, their benefits reinstated and they should then go back to the first tier of sanctions (they cannot impose the longer sanctions until there has been the repeated failure to participate).
This week workfare has been judged to have been unlawful. The following companies and charities are involved in workfare:
Poundland, Argos, ASDA
AGE UK, YMCA England, Salvation Army, Sue Ryder, RSPCA, PDSA
There are many more organisations which are profiting from people forced to work on unlawful schemes on this list here.
We hope this helps clarify the situation for people, and we ask them to remind these companies and charities of their shameful behaviour.
The new regulations are available here.
Posted: January 29th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Uncategorized | 6 Comments »
An anti-workfare petition setup on the governments petition site reached 10,000 signatures, meaning that the government has to issue a written response to the petition. Their response begins with a barefaced lie:
We do not have Work for Your Benefit or Workfare schemes in this country. Workfare is an American term used to describe employment programmes which force all jobseekers to work at a certain point of their claim in order to continue to receive benefit
So according to the DWP, Mandatory Work Activity – which if you say no to the “offer” you can have your benefits stopped for up to three years – is not forcing people to work in order to continue to receive benefits. Or maybe it also isn’t workfare when on your first day of signing on your are forced to work for 3 months unpaid or be threatened with up to 3 months of withdrawn benefits?
But we’re dont just take our word that the DWP are lying. Take the DWPs whose own guidance states that:
.. mandatory work programmes, such as the MWA and ESE schemes fall within the
meaning of “Work for your benefit” schemes
It is typical of this government to respond to a petition with a lie, after all they have been lying about benefits all the time, and both Ian Duncan-Smith and the former employment secretary Chris Grayling make a habit of it. Perhaps they think that lying about the existence of unemployed and disabled people being used as forced labour is the only way they can stop protests from bringing down the schemes – this is the reason they gave the information commissioner for refusing to tell us which organisations take part in workfare schemes.
If you thought that this petition would change the governments mind over workfare, it should be clear that it won’t – instead, why not follow the DWPs instructions, and join groups around the UK taking action against the charities and companies that take advantage of free labour from these schemes.
This Saturday sees Bradford Against Workfare demonstrating, meeting at 12noon in Centenary Square. Actions happen every weekend in different places, and there will be a week of action in March.
Posted: December 15th, 2012 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Action report | Tags: Leeds | No Comments »
On the 8th of December Leeds Unemployment Action Group took part in a national protest against companies and charities involved in workfare. We headed onto the streets of Leeds protesting outside various charities like the British Heart Foundation and Scope to companies like Shoe Zone. Talking to members of the public we raised awareness around how exploitative Workfare is not just for the unemployed but those in paid work as well.
Boycott Workfare’s week of action continues today with demonstrations in Kings Lynn, Brighton, York and Staines.
Posted: December 13th, 2012 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action, Charities | 3 Comments »
Keeping up the pressure on British Heart Foundation in Brixton on Wednesday 12th December
The continued exodus of charity shops from the Government’s workfare schemes leaves the Mandatory Work Activity scheme looking perilously close to collapse.
Oxfam, Marie Curie and Shelter, who all refused workfare in their stores, have now been joined by others. Scope say they are ending mandatory work schemes as have Age UK (though not necessarily in their independent stores). Cancer Research UK have said they are pulling out of mandatory work activity placements. Meanwhile British Heart Foundation have said they are ‘moving away’ from mandated work, though have continued to take placements in their stores.
It now seems that the largest providers of mandated workfare are likely to be conservation and environmental charities such as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), a mis-named charity who have been quietly building an army of unpaid workers.
TCV (formally known as BTCV) , have previously boasted of employing 20,000 unpaid workers on various government schemes since the 1980s. They currently hold lucrative contracts with the DWP to deliver Mandatory Work Activity. The so-called charity have forced 589 people into unpaid work, often for private companies on this scheme alone.
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