Posted: December 6th, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | 1 Comment »
The Cardiff action paid M&S a visit!
The week of action has seen a very loud noise demo at the workfare industry’s annual conference, hijacking its hashtag and actions in Cardiff, Wrexham, and even one in Germany! There’s loads more planned this weekend – with a new action just announced in Sheffield this Saturday too (and one coming up next week in Oxford!).
Thanks to everyone who’s been putting the pressure on online too. We’ve kept a lot of workfare exploiters’ Facebook Page moderators very busy this week and we’ve seen time and again how pressure from action on the streets plus online embarrassment can be enough to make a company or charity think twice!
Today, please help show all the companies and charities we’ve contacted this week that we won’t stop until they do. Scroll down our website front page for ways to contacts some of the worst offending charities, biggest workfare-using companies, those that make the workfare industry conference happen and those cutting wage bills using young people on traineeships.
The petition to end all welfare sanctions without exception is only 300 away from 10,000 – please take a few minutes to spread the word and help make it 10,000 by the end of the week of action!
And if you’ve still got a bit of time to spare, please feel free to contact any of the workfare exploiters listed here.
Thanks for being part of the week of action!
Posted: December 4th, 2013 | Author: stopworkfare | Filed under: Call to action, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »
[Photo: Sinister Pics]
As part of the Week of Action Against Workfare and Sanctions, on Thursday 5th
December 2013, we’re focussing on the Charities that will be handing in their tenders today to access unpaid claimant workers through the new Community Work Placements regime.
Community Work Placements, originally announced by George Osborne as “Help to Work” on 30th September 2013, is a set of new measures that will be forced on claimants who have come through the two year Work Programme without securing employment. The scheme is described as an “intensive option” where the providers will “deliver mandatory work placements for claimants for 30 hours a week for up to 26 weeks, alongside supported jobsearch”. Or put another way, it’s a six month sentence to force claimants work for free or lose their benefits.
Typically the 33 companies who have the option of tendering for this new scheme are the very companies who currently run the Work Programme: the companies who failed to assist the claimants back into work over two years are now being given an extra six months to make even more money off the back of the unemployed! These “Employment Related Supported Services Suppliers” include three charities Boycott Workfare has flagged up before.
Take a look at their finances at http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/find-charities/ by inputting their charity number. Then e-mail or contact them on social media to express your distaste at their continued abuse of the benefits system to line their own pockets!
THE SHAW TRUST:
THE CONSERVATION VOLUNTEERS:
There are also two more charities touting for business as “secondary delivery providers”, seeking to subcontract from the above and the usual suspects such as Ingeus, G4S, A4e and Serco. They are the supposedly christian organisations The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Key in “Salvation Army” or “YMCA” to the web link above to find out how they are profiting in your locality. The details below are for their head offices in London.
THE SALVATION ARMY:
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions:http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/benefit-sanctions-must-be-stopped-without-exceptions-in-uk
Posted: December 3rd, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: Asda, B&M Stores, Marks & Spencer | 2 Comments »
Workfare hands companies free labour which means fewer jobs and paid hours for everyone. But direct action and online pressure mean tens of brands now steer clear of it. Let’s step up the pressure on companies who still think they can profit from unpaid work!
Take action today to shame these companies and make them realise that exploiting unemployed people might just mean fewer customers this Christmas. There’s new online action every day this week so please keep checking back!
Marks & Spencer
M&S: rolling out workfare in their stores. Unless we stop them!
Marks & Spencer’s use of workfare hit public awareness when they announced 1400 new placements in their stores and a benchmark of 2% of the workforce to be unpaid. But this isn’t the brand’s first encounter with workfare. Despite their CEO earning over £2 million a year, they are also profiting from unpaid work through another workfare scheme in Scotland, which targets single parents. It’s likely their involvement is much more widespread – we also heard from someone sent on a 4 week placement at one of their outlet stores.
Last time we took action, M&S was forced to disable comments on their Facebook Page. Several pickets and walks of shame will pay a visit to their stores this week. Please feel free to contact them with your thoughts as well:
By email: Using their online form
By phone: See this useful list of numbers
Facebook: Marks and Spencer
In May, B&M won an award from the workfare industry for its involvement. But the reality of this involvement is harsh. One person has reported: “B&M stores have started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the employees!” Boycott Workfare has had reports of workfare at B&M stores in Bangor, Glasgow, Manchester, Southend and Northern Ireland. Show them they can’t keep cutting their wages bill with unpaid work!
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
By phone: 0151 728 5400 or more numbers here.
Facebook: B&M Stores
Leeds Unemployed Action Group exposed the workfare providers in their area
Asda has been at the heart of workfare in the UK, helping the government relaunch its “Work Experience” scheme last year. We have had reports that one of their stores in Manchester uses disabled people on workfare on the night shift. They are frank about their involvement here.
Asda contact form: Click here
Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions.
Posted: December 3rd, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | 1 Comment »
Day One of the week of action against workfare and sanctions was great – with a LOUD noise demo at the workfare industry’s annual conference, hijacking its hashtag and actions in Cardiff and Germany! On Day Two, target the companies profiting from making young people work without pay on Traineeships.
Traineeships are about providing cheap labour, driving down wages, massaging unemployment figures and conditioning our young people for a life of poverty and jumping through endless hoops in search of a job.
They’re a fairly new scheme that targets 16-24 year olds with more unpaid work. Traineeships involve a work placement of up to six months for which the employer is not even required to pay travel expenses. The promise at the end of six months’ unpaid work? You may then be eligible to work for £2.67 an hour as an apprentice.
Used together, traineeships and apprenticeships have the potential to massively undercut the minimum wage on the high street and elsewhere. The government is of course rolling out compulsory education for 17-18 year-olds and unpaid work looks set to make up an increasingly large component of that education. Benefits cuts for 18-25 year-olds are also threatened.
There are many companies happy to take advantage of young people and profit from their lack of opportunity and today let’s take action against them. Contact them by phone, email or on social media.
Kwikfit’s hit the headlines for expecting 39 hours of unpaid work a week from its traineeships and advertising them across the UK. It’s already faced huge public criticism on social media. Let’s make sure it knows the pressure hasn’t gone away and it needs to pay the people who work for it.
You could comment by phone or email, on its Facebook page or Youtube channel.
This multi-national brand with $18.1 billion in sales in a year, is recruiting multiple traineeships in Blackpool to “prepare food and serve customers” for 21 hours’ work a week each. currently advertising for at least three placements, this shop is saving itself £3180 on the wages bill in the next two months. Let’s hope the young people weren’t planning on buying any Christmas presents.
Share your thoughts on Subway’s Facebook page or take a look at their contact details.
Here is a luxury watch shop offering unpaid work for six months in its store in Westfield to young people when clearly it should and could offer them paid work and on the job training. You can contact Toywatch and let them know what you think on firstname.lastname@example.org, comment on their Facebook page, give them a call on 020 3301 8744 or pay them a visit.
Novotel’s 4* hotel in Southampton is also profiting from 42 hours of unpaid work in its kitchens each week. Its contact details can be found here.
Got a few more minutes?
Have a dig here and pick the companies you’d like to contact about their exploitation of young people to replace paid work.
Want more info on traineeships? Hear it from the horse’s mouth here and here.
Posted: November 30th, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | 4 Comments »
Things are very wrong: each month 70,000 people face hunger and hardship due to benefit stoppages – ‘sanctions’. Millions of hours of work which should be paid are being replaced by workfare. But we’re taking action and having an impact.
This week, from 2-8 December, join thousands of others across the UK to push back against sanctions and workfare – with action online and on your high street. Here’s the latest list of actions planned across the UK. Let us know if you’re planning something too and check back here Monday-Friday to take online action every day.
Edinburgh: flyering all week and a demo on Saturday 7th
Cardiff: Wednesday 4 December at 6:30pm, Marks and Spencer – 72/76 Queen Street, Cardiff
Glasgow: Saturday 7th, 12.30-2.30, Sauchiehall St
- Noise Demo at workfare industry conference at the University of London, 12.30pm 2nd Decemeber
- Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group demo at Hammersmith Job Centre against the introduction of Universal Credit. Meet 11am on Wednesday 4th December at Hammersmith Job Centre, Glenn House, 22 Glenthorne Road, W6 0PP
- M&S picket, Islington – Sunday 8th December 1pm outside Holloway Road M&S
- M&S picket, Wood Green – Sunday 8th December 2pm outside Wood Green High Road M&S (Nearest tube: Turnpike Lane)
Reading: Saturday 7th 4pm at Reading town centre. Planning meeting for the action on Tuesday at 7pm.
Wrexham: Tuesday 3rd December Noisey Demo (bring pots and pans) at the Grosevenor Road Job Centre 12pm
Sheffield: Saturday 7th December 1pm – M&S picket outside of 19/31 Fargate, S1 1LF organised by South Yorkshire UNITE Community Union. More detail here.
Posted: November 24th, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
12.30-1.30pm, Monday 2nd December, outside the ERSA workfare industry conference, Senate House, Malet Street, London (nearest tubes: Russell Square, Warren Street, Euston), facebook event here
(Can’t make it to London? Take part in the week of action where you are.)
On 2nd December, those driving forced labour for unemployed people on the government’s workfares schemes are getting together in one place for their annual conference. Be there too to show them that their days of vast profits for abusing the poorest people in the UK are numbered.
The workfare industry is already on the backfoot. The government’s flagship ‘Work Programme’ which promised to hand £5 billion to this sector – whose profits are wholly subsidised by public funds – has failed. The industry failed to meet even the minimum targets and tens of thousands have returned to the Jobcentre as the two year stint comes to an end.
Add to this arrests for fraud, consistent reports from jobseekers of the punitive and pointless measures these companies demand, and the immense public backlash against workfare – leading many of the big brands to withdraw from forced unpaid work.
ERSA, the trade body for the ‘welfare to work’ industry, have called their conference “Challenge and change in an evolving landscape”. Let’s make the scale of the challenge clear with fun and noise on the conference’s doorstep.
And in case you need more convincing, here’s a few good reasons you should come (in the form of a list of people who’ll be at [the conference] pushing their workfare agendas): Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 13th, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action, Charities, Info on schemes | 3 Comments »
Community Work Placements
Salvation Army is one of the charities propping up workfare and sanctions – let charities know it will damage their reputation if they get involved [Photo: Sinister Pics]
are the workfare part of the ‘Help to Work’ scheme. This was announced by George Osborne in September, and will begin in April next year. The other parts are daily attendance at job centres (for 35 hours per week) and compulsory training.
This means that once again we’re seeing ads for workfare subcontractors that target the Community & Voluntary Sector. While some charities (e.g. YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers & Groundwork) are dedicated workfare exploiters, many others say they do not support workfare, but still end up helping to deliver it. The supply chain is so (deliberately) complex, it can disguise what’s going on.
Currently EOS, Maximus, Learn Direct, Reed in Partnership, ESG, G4S (tax dodging supremos) and Interserve (they rely on prayer & financial support from Christians) are all inviting bids from voluntary sector ‘partners’ to provide Community Work Placements in a ‘real working environment’ for up to 30 weeks, for up to 30 hours per week. In other words, forced unpaid labour for people who have not found ‘sustained employment’ while on the Work Programme.
The criteria for being sent on a Community Work Placement are ‘lack of motivation‘ (for example a reluctance to be exploited in no pay, low pay jobs) and/or ‘lack of work experience‘. Claimants will have to do these placements alongside ‘supported job search’: the exhausting and pointless process of endlessly looking for non-existent employment opportunities. As blogger Johnny Void says: “This new scheme represents 780 hours unpaid work, over two and a half times higher than the maximum community service penalty that can be handed out by the courts. And this is just for the crime of being unable to find a job.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 30th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action, Uncategorized | 7 Comments »
In January this year, 110,000 people had their benefits stopped – ‘sanctioned’ – in a social security system that now leaves people with nothing for up to three years.
The government has not revealed how many thousands of people have been sanctioned since then, but it looks clear that more than a million people will have faced sanctions - and the hunger, pressure on families and stress they cause - by the end of the year.
Workfare, which forces people to work without pay and pushes those in work out of their jobs, is still the government’s ‘flagship’ solution for the unemployed. Osborne’s latest workfare proposal is more than twice the length of a maximum community service sentence.
But people’s action is pushing back their plans:
- Wetherspoons, Argos, Shoezone, The Red Cross, and Superdrug have all dropped out since the start of the year. Homebase has scaled back significantly and Homes for Haringey has started paying people.
- Despite a court ruling, the government is still refusing to publish the list of organisations exploiting people on workfare. It argued “disclosure [of names] would have been likely to have led to the collapse of the MWA [Mandatory Work Activity] scheme”!
- The government’s plan to send people leaving the Work Programme from June this year on an automatic six month workfare placement could not be rolled out.
- The government has had to double the amount of money it pays to workfare contractors like Seetec to find Mandatory Work Activity placements because they say it’s got so difficult since organisations started pulling out.
This is your actions making a real difference.
The chances are you probably know someone who has faced the hardship and stress of sanctions – which means you’ll know that these devastating decisions are handed out for the pettiest of reasons.
It’s time to take action, and to push back against sanctions as we have against workfare. Whether you’re on your own or in a group, take part in the week of action
And let us know what you plan so we can help spread the word!
Join our facebook event for the week of action here
Posted: October 7th, 2013 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action | 2 Comments »
Our new stickers! Email us for some
Put the date in the diary! Central London venue will be confirmed soon!
Workfare has gotten a battering from the collective action of people across the UK – Seetec managers have been complaining that they are struggling to find placements to force people onto, whilst the government is depending on the Salvation Army to ‘hold the line’ as other organisations withdraw from the schemes. However, the government is determined to force through welfare cuts with a record number of sanctions for this year and the arrival of parts of Universal Credit (which is essentially one big workfare scheme). Accessing benefits is likely to get even harder than it already is as the government finds more ways to deny people of what is rightfully theirs.
But people have been organising together; as well as keeping up the inspiring workfare campaigning of the last two years, people have been setting up local support and solidarity groups in their areas. In these groups people help each other with claiming their benefits, provide information about their rights, give each other moral support in the face of the continual bullying of Job Centre Plus and take action together, including occupations of Job Centres and housing offices.
Several new groups have been set up in recent months, in Birmingham, Bristol and Lambeth. We’ve been contacted by people from other areas keen to start something there. We thought this would be a good time to organise a UK gathering for local welfare support and action groups, and those interested in starting one up, so that we can come together and learn from each others experiences.
Plans are in their early stages so if you want to get involved in making this happen or would like to facilitate a workshop, then send us an email. The rough plan is to have a series of workshops and skillshares throughout the day addressing various issues – workfare, sanctions, Universal Credit and more – and what we have been doing locally to challenge these and support each other, as well as discussing and planning what else we can do. Please help spread the word to groups and people you think would be interested in coming along and keep your eyes peeled on our blog for updates. Let’s build and strengthen our local networks to combat the Universal Credit, workfare and sanctions at every JCP and ‘welfare to work’ provider.
Posted: September 24th, 2013 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | No Comments »
Action for ESOL is concerned about the impact of benefit sanctions and workfare on students in FE colleges. They’ve got together with Boycott Workfare for a day of workshops this Saturday to see how students and teachers can take action and defend our rights.
A free afternoon of workshops and discussion exploring the impact on ESOL students of welfare cuts, the expansion of benefit sanctions and workfare. Come along to share information and think about what we as teachers can do to support our students and show solidarity with them.
28th September, 1pm – 5pm, University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1E 7HY.
Nearest tubes: Russell Square, Goodge Street, Euston
Please emailactionforesol[at]gmail.com to let us know you’re coming.
Outline of the Day Read the rest of this entry »