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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.

Charities shouldn’t make people poorer – day 5 in the workfare week of action

Posted: March 21st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action, Charities | 4 Comments »

Some charities have adopted an ethical position on workfare. Let's make the others follow!

Some charities have adopted an ethical position on workfare. Let’s make the others follow!

Given today’s evidence that there are targets to increase sanctioning people’s social security at all costs, it is time to put the charities who help that happen on the spot.

In the last month, thanks to your action, five charities have said they will no longer take part in workfare schemes: Sense, PDSA, Capability Scotland, Sue Ryder and the Red Cross. The Children’s Society has also pledged not to use workfare.

This means the workfare schemes which rely on charity placements are on the rocks! Already before the latest withdrawals, the government complained: “The high profile withdrawal of placements from a number of larger charities meant a sharp reduction in placements.”

One in five people sent on mandatory work activity in charity shops face destructive sanctions (benefit stoppages) of three or six months. The charities still involved are profiting from making people poorer. Let’s tell them it’s time to pull out!

RSPCA

Last month, fellow animal charity PDSA realised that it needed to show a bit more kindness to the human beings working in its shops. Time for RSPCA to do the same and stop using workfare!

Head office: 030 0123 0100
Facebook: RSPCA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/rspcauk
Flickr feed: www.flickr.com/photos/rspca
Twitter:






TCV

TCV (formally known as BTCV), have previously boasted of using 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 at least 589 people into unpaid work, often for private companies on this scheme alone.

This is on top of the countless people who have been forced to work without pay on their conservation projects.

Sue Pearson, a spokesperson for the charity, even boasts of how they have attempted to get round DWP rules which state placements must have a ‘community benefit’. Speaking to the Guardian, Pearson explains how claimants forced to work in a food preparation factory had been required to “gather up recycling materials” in order to meet DWP criteria.

TCV are the worst kind of workfare exploiters. As well as bullying people into working for no pay, they also put jobs and working conditions at risk by sending claimants to work for free in profit making companies.

Head office 01302 388 883
Email: information@tcv.org.uk
Find your local TCV Branch: http://www.btcv.org.uk/volunteer/index.html
Facebook: TheConservationVolunteers
Twitter:

Papworth Trust

Earlier this month, Papworth Trust told civilsociety.co.uk:
“Papworth Trust believes that by being involved in mandatory work activity, we can make sure that each work placement is as effective as possible for each disabled or disadvantaged person.”

Now tell them what you think of their use of disabled people on workfare!

A list of phone and fax numbers can be found here.
Email: info@papworth.org.uk
Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/papworthtrust
Facebook: Papworth Trust
Twitter:

British Heart Foundation

Mark Thomas has spoken out against the use of workfare by British Heart Foundation: “As someone who fundraises and supports BHF (L2B bike ride regular) it’s gutting to see them join an exploitative scheme like Workfare. BHF involvement in Workfare has undermined my trust and committment to them as a campaigning group. I would ask BHF to reconsider. If they wish to keep their public status as a charity that is automatically thought well of by the public then they should cease their involvement with Workfare.”

Mark Thomas has spoken out against the use of workfare by British Heart Foundation: “As someone who fundraises and supports BHF (L2B bike ride regular) it’s gutting to see them join an exploitative scheme like Workfare. BHF involvement in Workfare has undermined my trust and commitment to them as a campaigning group. I would ask BHF to reconsider. If they wish to keep their public status as a charity that is automatically thought well of by the public then they should cease their involvement with Workfare.”

Following occupations and pickets in across the UK British Heart Foundation announced they were “moving away” from workfare. Recently they declared they had withdrawn from the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. But they are openly declaring on their website that they are still participating in the Work Programme – despite the fact that in December this scheme was extended to give providers the power to force many sick and disabled claimants on Employment and Support Allowance to work for nothing, or face sanctions.

BHF state on their site: “Our supporters are welcome to contact us directly if they have any questions about our participation in the scheme. Please email customerservice@bhf.org.uk“.

Don’t disappoint them, get in touch!

BHF Retail HQ – 01372 477 300
Head Office – 020 7554 0000
Customer Service Centre – 0300 330 3322
Facebook: BHF
Contact: http://www.bhf.org.uk/contact-us.aspx
Twitter:

YMCA

The YMCA released a new statement two weeks ago defending their use of forced unpaid workers, and ignoring the fact they are responsible for pushing people into destitution and possible homelessness through sanctions which can last up to three years. A rolling online picket has been called to persuade them to join the list of charities who will no longer have anything to do with workfare.

Phone them on 020 7186 9500 or their shops hotline on 0845 601 0728.

Email: shop@ymca.org.uk or enquiries@ymca.org.uk
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ymcaengland
Find contacts for your nearest YMCA shop: http://www.ymca.org.uk/find/ymcashops
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/THEYMCA
Tweet their President, Bishop John Sentamu, has spoken out against workfare in the past:

Twitter:

And if you’ve got a bit more time, why not get in touch with the Salvation Army, or some of the high street brands profiting from workfare too.


4 Comments on “Charities shouldn’t make people poorer – day 5 in the workfare week of action”

  1. 1 Anti-workfare demonstration during Boycott Workfare week of action | Notts Black Arrow said at 7:57 pm on March 24th, 2013:

    [...] to let us know if they wanted to, which was successful in British Heart Foundation, one of the many charities known for exploiting unemployed people under threat of losing their benefits if they refuse to work [...]

  2. 2 leedsjon1 said at 12:41 pm on March 26th, 2013:

    Govt’s new turnaround legislation – Jobseekers’ (Back to Work Schemes) Bill. Some of you may be interested to read a response i’ve had from my local MP (Kris Hopkins, Tory unfortunately) to the standard petition email I sent to him few weeks ago asking him to oppose this Bill. Basically, it simply reaffirms standard Tory party rhetoric but final comment is illuminating: -

    ‘..The new Bill will also ensure that the taxpayer does not have to repay benefits lost by claimants who have failed to participate in employment programmes, which could total up to £130million. It is vital that, in the present economic climate, the public purse be protected from such claims so I am pleased the Government has taken urgent action to prevent this.’

    So, the public purse needs to be protected from the likes of us – even though it was our money in the first place!

    This, I ‘m afraid, is what we’re up against now – Tory MP’s (& also Labour MP’s as well who also voted for this Bill) who are seeking to drive wedge between working people & those who are simply looking for a job.

  3. 3 Birmingham Trades Council » Workfare: we are the opposition! said at 2:22 am on March 28th, 2013:

    [...] of his ‘welfare reforms’. Liverpool have already called a week of action in April. The charities and companies profiting from workfare still need to hear from you. When you win, you win for others [...]

  4. 4 Clarice said at 9:06 pm on March 31st, 2013:

    Superb, what a blog it is! This blog provides valuable
    information to us, keep it up.


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