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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.

Come to the Welfare Action Gathering on 15th February!

Posted: January 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action | 14 Comments »

Come to an info and skill-sharing day in London on 15 February, 10.45am-5.30pm, Maiden Lane Community Centre – 20 minutes walk or a short bus ride from Kings Cross Station, off York Way (156 St. Paul’s Crescent, London, NW1 9XZ. Venue wheelchair accessible.)

[EXPAND Directions here]

We’ll have people at the bus stop to help point you in the right direction, but here’s some info on how to find it!

From Kings Cross on foot: Come out of Kings Cross station and follow it around to the left until you reach York Way. Walk past the bus stops, up York Way, over the canal and passing the Guardian on your right. Keep going for about a mile. When you reach the junction with Agar Grove, turn left down Agar Grove, take the first left and it’s the white building at the end of the road.

From Kings Cross by bus: Come out of Kings Cross station and follow it around to the left until you reach the bus stops on York Way. From Stop G, take the 390 bus about a mile to the Agar Grove/Maiden Lane stop. At the junction with Agar Grove, turn left down Agar Grove, take the first left and it’s the white building at the end of the road.

From elsewhere in London: Use the TfL Journey planner to plan your journey. The postcode for Maiden Lane Community Centre is NW1 9XZ. The nearest stations are Kings Cross, Camden Road, and Caledonian Road.
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Action photo - Welfare Action gathering - 15 Feb
Getting your welfare rights is about a lot more than just knowing your welfare rights. Across the UK, people are getting together to support each other and pushing back workfare, standing up to sanctions, wrong decisions, and insecure housing.

Meet others from across the UK, hear inspiring stories, learn info about our rights and share tactics that work. This isn’t a day for speakers from the front. Party political representatives aren’t invited. It’s about people at the grassroots getting together and working out how we can support each other and throw even more spanners in the government’s plans!

If you are in a local group where people share mutual support on welfare or housing (or plan to start one), we should be able to help with your travel costs. Please get in touch as soon as you can so we can sort it out.

Planning on coming? There’ll be tea, coffee and a free lunch! Please let us know you’re coming so we know how many people to cook for!

Want to know what to expect? Check out the agenda below. There’s an open space session in the afternoon if you’d like to offer a workshop too!

10.30 Tea and coffee
10.45 Sharing stories – top tactics, issues and new ideasOne of the most important things about the day will be hearing from others.

This session will kick off discussions about what people do and how they do it. We’ll learn about what’s going on and what’s on the horizon, share strategies and start making links for action and ideas.

12.00 Break
12.10 Getting your rights on JSAGetting your rights on JSA is about a lot more than just knowing your rights.

This workshops aims to highlight some of the key rights, but also share some of the tactics groups and individuals have used to avoid getting screwed at the Jobcentre.

Fighting for housing rightsHear from campaigns that have been organising around the bedroom tax and benefit cap in their local communities, find out how to set up an eviction resistance network, learn about our basic housing rights, and discuss how we can push for quality, secure, and truly affordable housing for all.
13.10 Lunch
14.10 Universal Automation Universal Automation is a Chrome browser extension that automatically searches and applies for jobs on Universal Jobmatch, the government-run job search website which benefit claimants are forced to use.

Find out more and how to use it in this info session!

Building strong mutual support groupsFor long established mutual support groups to those who are just starting out – join this workshop to share experiences, reflections, tips, and questions on how to run a sustainable and successful local group to enforce and extend our welfare rights.   Fuel Poverty ActionWith 10% increases in energy prices, many more of us are having to choose between heating and eating.

This workshop will cover support, solidarity and resistance, understanding and negotiating on bills and debt, and more on Fuel Poverty Action’s pre-payment meters campaign.

14.55 Dealing with the Work Capability AssessmentLearn together how we can effectively navigate  our way around Employment and Support Allowance for those claiming and those wanting to provide support.  This will cover how to start a claim for ESA, methods of attempting to avoid Atos, and how to support each other through Atos to ensure we get the benefits that are rightfully ours. Bringing workfare downTens of organisations have pulled out of workfare and the government fears the schemes’ ‘collapse’.

This session will share some of the top tactics for people facing workfare, as well as discuss strategies that will help bring down workfare this year!

16.05 Break
16.20 Open Space SessionA chance for us to explore great ideas or important questions people have brought to the day, and link up to make things happen!
17.00 Making stuff happenWe’ll hear the ideas and plans from the open space, discuss how we stay in touch beyond the day, ideas for UK-wide action and ways we can build our capacity to support each other.
17.30 Finish!

14 Comments on “Come to the Welfare Action Gathering on 15th February!”

  1. 1 james said at 6:47 pm on January 16th, 2014:

    can i come along to this event?

    do people just turn up or do i need to book?

  2. 2 jimi said at 6:43 pm on January 26th, 2014:

    London? May as well be on the moon as far as i’m concerned, we require local groups in every town/city first, all linked, then off to London. There are thousands of people who need this who are all wandering aimlessly around social media looking for something to knit them into place,,, locally. Don’t get me wrong i’m with you 100% and willing to listen to advice to start something in my locality.
    Good luck by the way :)

  3. 3 editor said at 11:50 pm on January 27th, 2014:

    Hi Jimi,

    We’re hoping the day helps kickstart lots of local groups and are paying travel costs for people who are planning on going away and getting groups started.

    If you’re interested in getting one going near you, a good starting point is the LCAP booklet: http://www.lcap.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/LCAP-pamphlet-October-2012-lo-res.pdf

    Good luck! :)

  4. 4 editor said at 11:51 pm on January 27th, 2014:

    You can just come along but thanks for letting us know in advance as it helps us plan for food etc!

  5. 5 leslie atkins said at 8:35 pm on January 31st, 2014:

    more needs to be done at a local level not everyone can get down to London,unions need to organise local demonstrations involving members and their families and members of the public on the same day as the London one and try to spread it across the entire country,lets see if the right wing papers and the bbc report that

  6. 6 Holly said at 11:38 pm on February 12th, 2014:

    We really need other places apart from London to get together. I know many people that are sick and tired of being treated like scum. Is there anyone who sets up meeting around wallasey or liverpool?

  7. 7 Kenny said at 10:00 am on February 14th, 2014:

    I agree with Leslie, it’s great that you guys are organising this and the very best of luck to you, but London is way too far away. We need events taking place on the same day and same time all over the country that’s how to get real attention.

    Even if I was able to travel to London a couple of days notice is not enough these things need to be planned and publicised much further in advance to give people a chance to organise.

  8. 8 criminalization of protest said at 12:49 pm on February 14th, 2014:

    “Take back the streets”
    Repression and criminalization of protest around the world
    October 2013″

    https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/global_protest_suppression_report_inclo.pdf

  9. 9 Jane Susanna Ennis said at 10:50 am on February 15th, 2014:

    I wish I’d known about this, I would have come!! Hope it goes well.,

  10. 10 donald mcgregor said at 4:22 pm on February 16th, 2014:

    Instead of kicking people off benefits or cutting there money stop sending all the millionsof£ pounds abroud like india who use uk money to use on space projects and china which we send millions of pounds and the country cant look after the thousands of destituts

  11. 11 editor said at 7:40 pm on February 23rd, 2014:

    Have you been in touch with Liverpool Claimants Network. You can find em on Twitter: https://twitter.com/claimantnetwork

  12. 12 editor said at 2:14 pm on February 24th, 2014:

    Sorry we missed you – nice blog about it here: http://izzykoksal.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/boycott-workfare-welfare-action-gathering/

  13. 13 jackie said at 11:56 am on March 11th, 2014:

    Hi, do you have anything set up in East Kent to protect advise on unfair treatment on one of these mandatory placements. feel a bit powerless at the mo, as if it was paid work, you just look to ACAS for advice, but it’s not that simple when it’s unpaid help.

  14. 14 Direct action and solidarity win in Glasgow, African migrants strike in Israel, and a few upcoming events | Cautiously pessimistic said at 3:17 pm on December 28th, 2014:

    […] that note, I’d just like to briefly plug a few upcoming events that look interesting: Boycott Workfare are holding a national Welfare Action Gathering in London on the 15th of February. The 3 Cosas campaign –  another group who were able to win improvements by taking action […]


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