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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. 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. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Another charity commits not to use workfare

Posted: February 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Charities | 11 Comments »

children's societyLast week, we were contacted by someone who was shocked to overhear a Pinnacle People advisor discussing clients in public in high street charity shops, including a Children’s Society store. She told us:

“The Pinnacle employee used the words ‘Mandatory Work Activity’, ’30 days’, and then they all had a moan together about how silly it was that ‘these people’ can’t be ‘put to work’ cleaning up litter and drains and stuff, like they do in the US. In the previous shop the Pinnacle employee was talking about how ‘work experience’ is a way of catching people who’ve got jobs on the side that they aren’t declaring etc.”

Following a few emails and phone calls, that campaigner has achieved a public commitment from The Children’s Society that they do not use workfare. The Children’s Society say:

“The Children’s Society has a strict policy of not accepting volunteers who are on the DWP’s Mandatory Work Activity Programme. Only last month, a number of agencies wanting to place volunteers in our shops who are on the programme, were turned down.

“Our volunteers play a key role in supporting our work with disadvantaged children. All volunteering at The Children’s Society should be done by choice and under no obligation from any other agency.

“On this occasion, it appears someone who is subject to the DWP’s Mandatory Work Activity Programme, has been volunteering in one of our shops. No mention that the volunteer was involved in this programme was made to the shop manager before the volunteer placement was secured. As a result of this being brought to our attention, the placement was immediately stopped. The Children’s Society’s Retail Managers will also be reminded of our policy not to accept volunteers who are involved with the Mandatory Work Activity Programme.”

Another powerful testament to people power when challenging workfare, and great news in the same week that Sense have finally pulled out of workfare too. For top tips on finding workfare on your high street, see this blog. The workfare week of action is coming up on 18-24 March..


11 Comments on “Another charity commits not to use workfare”

  1. 1 Andy Miller said at 6:53 pm on February 11th, 2013:

    Can you tell me if the Salvation Army take part in Workfare? Our union branch are going to collect for food banks but I don’t want to give to Salvation Army if they do. I contacted them and they denied involvement but I’ve heard different in this group.

  2. 2 bill busk / nyc said at 2:22 am on February 12th, 2013:

    1 down, but there are way too many more to go.

  3. 3 Dazz10 said at 7:54 am on February 12th, 2013:

    What a coincidence that someone that is linked with your organisation was at the shop right at the time someone spoke about mandatory work activity? Even more interesting is the fact that the “person” did not get any facts correct about mandatory work activity or the time that it is running for? If you had any clue about the project or the setup or researched it properly your article would have stated the obvious facts that no shop would have any one from mandatory work activity without prior agreement with the manager. People power you say? More like spreading lies that are used for your purposes!

  4. 4 Workfare Is Broken! New Court Ruling and Charity Exodus Are Death Knell For Forced Labour! | the void said at 11:09 am on February 12th, 2013:

    [...] great charity workfare exodus means even this looks in doubt.  The Children’s Society announced this week they would no longer take part in the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.  This follows the decision [...]

  5. 5 Bernard Rentajag said at 11:03 pm on February 12th, 2013:

    “they all had a moan together about how silly it was that ‘these people’ can’t be ‘put to work’ cleaning up litter and drains and stuff, like they do in the US”

    And here lies the problem. The propaganda from DWP is that being unemployed is a criminal offense, and those that lose their jobs should be punished for it.

  6. 6 Steven said at 2:30 pm on February 17th, 2013:

    Law-abiding unemployed people should turn to crime as criminals are treated far better. Perhaps, if the crime rate rocketed due to this then the cretins who comprise the present unelected government may start using the very small number of functioning braincells they have and start to stop talking their bile.

  7. 7 Thomas Newton said at 4:12 pm on February 19th, 2013:

    Check out our new blog: Charitywatch UK: http://charitywatchuk.wordpress.com. We research unethical charities. We’ve begun by looking at those charities who exploit the weak and the vulnerable through the use of the workfare programmes.

    It won’t be a surprise that first up is the Conservation Volunteers. You may be surprised to learn they have earned £19 million pounds from the scheme. Also, they have some very famous Vice-Presidents but you won’t be surprised to learn one of their trustees is on the board of A4e.

    We hope you will find the report adds useful information in the campaign to end workfare.

    Now let us see what we can find out about Sue Ryder, RSPCA, etc.

  8. 8 Workfare Is Broken! New Court Ruling and Charity Exodus Are Death Knell For Forced Labour! | Greater Manchester Community Union said at 11:16 am on February 21st, 2013:

    [...] great charity workfare exodus means even this looks in doubt.  The Children’s Society announced this week they would no longer take part in the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.  This follows the decision [...]

  9. 9 Birmingham Trades Council » Two more blows to workfare said at 2:17 am on February 23rd, 2013:

    [...] immediate effect, those forced to work in their stores can walk free. This comes on the tail of two other major charities announcing their intention to steer clear of workfare last week, and is a promising sign as our [...]

  10. 10 Birmingham Trades Council » More success as Sue Ryder announces withdrawal from workfare! said at 3:03 am on February 27th, 2013:

    [...] are the third charity to pull out in the last fortnight, following hot on the heels of PDSA and Sense. Already before that the government had complained that “The high profile withdrawal of [...]

  11. 11 SickAnd Tired said at 2:00 pm on October 16th, 2013:

    Cat rescue charity shop are involved in workfare. I am doing MWA now in one of there shops. They have 2 shops in St Helens and 2 shops in Warrington that I know about

    Also The British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s and Help the aged do it too


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