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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.

Workfare action coming up across the UK…

Posted: September 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action, International, Unions | 6 Comments »

learndirectThe government fears workfare could “collapse”. We want to make it do just that. On 4-12 October, take part in the week of action against workfare. The list of events is growing…. read on to find one near you, and if you can’t find one, why not plan your own? We can help – get in touch! There’ll be mass online actions on Mon-Fri of the week of action too. Get involved and help show workfare profiteers and exploiters “If you exploit us we will shut you down!”

4 Oct, SLSF calls anti-workfare picket in Lewisham
Saturday 4 October, Lewisham Clocktower at 1pm.

Join the South London Solfed roaming anti-workfare picket in Lewisham this Saturday, 4th October, in solidarity with Boycott Workfare’s week of action.

We will be targeting a number of organisations on Lewisham High Street who continue to exploit unemployed people as free labour.

More info here.

4 Oct, Stroud Against the Cuts leafleting about workfare
Saturday 4th October, 10am outside the 99p Store

Advice for claimants and information about the affect on us all.

6 Oct, Brighton Benefits Campaign picket of Avanta
Monday 6 October at 11am, Meet at Brighton Station forecourt

Join us in picketing Avanta, private provider and bully of unemployed and disabled people, sending them out as unpaid labour or forcing them into unsuitable badly paid work, and referring them for sanctions.
See the Facebook event. 

6 Oct, TUC Backs Workfare: protest at Congress House!TUC A5 Protest
Mon 6 Oct 1 – 2 pm, TUC Congress House, 23-28 Great Russell St, London WC1B 3LS, (nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road), Then 3 – 4 pm at CBI, 78 Cannon St, London EC4N 6HN (tube: Bank)

On 1 Aug 2014, the Trade Union Council (TUC) made a joint statement with Confederation of British Industries (CBI) to back Traineeships for 16 – 23 year olds.

Knowing first hand how unemployed people get harassed into workfare, get declined lunch & travel expenses to such workfares, get sanctioned or threatened with sanctions either during workfares or if they oppose them, we knew (despite TUC denying this) that TUC was now backing Workfare.

Join our protest to end this shoddy deal with Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group (KUWG) – members of Unite Community Union. Listen to your members TUC!

Download the flyer here.

8 Oct, North London, Sanctions Centres or Job Centres?

5 North London Job Centres are confirmed for next Wednesday’s “Sanctions Centres or Job Centres?” protests, Unite Community’s contribution to the Boycott Workfare Week of Action:

Barnsbury Job Centre, 1 Barnsbury Road, N1 0EX: 11am-1pm
Hendon Job Centre, Crown Building. 10 Finchley Lane, NW4 1DP: 9am – 3pm
North Kensington Job Centre, Quayside House Kensal Road, W10 5BL: 12pm-1pm & 3pm-4pm
Walthamstow Job Centre, Dansom House 656a Forest Road, E17 3SH: 9am-11am
Wood Green Job Centre, Granta House 1 Western Road, N22 6UU: 9am-12pm

Join the Facebook event.

8 Oct, Barnet, Rename the Job Centre the Sanctions Centre!
Wednesday 8 October, 9am-3pm, Jobcentre Plus, Finchley Lane, London NW3 8DP

Come and join us in a protest against sanctions on claimants and targets for staff! and take part in a mock ceremony and sign replacement when we re-name the job centre WITH ITS TRUE PURPOSE – THE SANCTION CENTRE

Join the Facebook event.

8 Oct, Kentish Town, Workfare stall
12.30-1.30pm outside Kentish Town Job Centre

Join Winvisible and Single Mothers Self-Defence for their regular stall with a focus on workfare rights as part of the week of action.

9 Oct, Edinburgh Shut down LearnDirect! Let’s make workfare unworkable!
Thursday 9 October, at 12 noon, Learndirect, Conference House, 152 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EB

Learndirect are the workfare providers for the compulsory “work-for-your-benefits” schemes Mandatory Work Activity and the new Community Work Placements scheme, which forces jobseekers to work for nothing for six months. Learndirect profit from the forced labour schemes and shamelessly refer jobseekers for sanctions, making people penniless to try and intimidate jobseekers to submit to forced labour.

But resistance to workfare is winning. To date 422 organisations have rejected the compulsory schemes and signed the “Keep Volunteering Voluntary” agreement – including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Christian Aid, Shelter and the Edinburgh Volunteer Centre. This month Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty approached Cancer Research UK to urge them to withdraw from workfare – they have now told Learndirect in Edinburgh that they will not take any more of their workfare “placements”.

Share the flyer. Join the Facebook event.

10 Oct, Amsterdam: action against workfare during meeting of minister with aldermen

On October 10, the action committee Dwangarbeid Nee (No to Workfare) will demonstrate during a regional meeting of Social Affairs aldermen from the west of the Netherlands. State secretary Jetta Klijnsma invited the aldermen to talk about the labour market. The committee Dwangarbeid Nee seizes the opportunity to demand the immediate abolishment of workfare, or “forced labour” as the unemployed call it.

Read more about the action and the impressive campaign in the Netherlands!

10 Oct, Peckham Job Centre protest

Outside Peckham Job Centre, Friday 10 October, 12 noon-3pm

Please join us to protest against sanctions and workfare. Bring noise, banners, speeches, friends… and ideas! We plan to liven up the street again in a noisy and direct protest to tell Peckham JCP, Southwark council and the DWP that we will not stay quiet whilst Peckham Job Centre continues to sanction job seekers at over double the London average. Come and say NO to cuts and attacks on the poor, and build the fight back!

More info.

11 Oct, Bristol – Bristol Day Of Action Against Workfare!
Saturday 11 October at 12:30pm, meeting point tba

Following on from successful actions against workfare in Bristol over the past few years (no more forced unpaid labour at: St Wherburghs City Farm, Homebase, Argos, Holland & Barratt…) We will be taking to the streets again, along with others across the country.

Join the Facebook event.

11 Oct, Sheffield, Demonstration against forced labour/workfare and Exploitation at Savers
Saturday at 12:00pm, Savers Health & Beauty, 8-10 Haymarket, S1 2AX Sheffield

Last month this community branch demonstrated against the exploitation and abuse of workfare victims at Savers store Sheffield. After it was brought to our attention that workers and workfare victims were being mistreated. We had a great response from Savers customers who are mostly as disgusted by savers exploitation and mistreatment of workfare victims and members of staff. This Branch calls on Savers to withdraw from any government schemes that force people to work for benefits. We will return again and again and damage your businesses reputation unless you withdraw. If you Exploit us we will shut you down.

Join the Facebook Event.

11 Oct, Haringey: 6 month workfare: No way! Picket North London Hospice
Saturday 11 October, 12 noon, North London Hospice shop, 19 High Road, N22 6BH – Three minutes’ walk from Turnpike Lane tube station

This Saturday, we’ll be picketing North London Hospice’s Wood Green shop, as part of Boycott Workfare’s week of action against workfare.

Hundreds of people in Haringey are being forced to work for six months with no pay under threat of sanctions. Urban Futures have the contract for Community Work Placements in Haringey and are busy finding placements in charities and “community benefit” projects across north London. But these schemes cannot work without charities making the placements possible – charities like North London Hospice.

We hold the work that North London Hospice does in high regard. Their aims include improving the lives of local people with terminal illnesses. So how can they reconcile their objectives with a scheme that puts people at risk of destitution?

Join and share the Facebook Event

Do you have an event to add to this list? Email to let us know!

6 Comments on “Workfare action coming up across the UK…”

  1. 1 Landless Peasant said at 11:38 am on September 29th, 2014:

    This organization uses Workfare:

    St Vincent de Paul Society

    “The St Vincent de Paul Society (or as it is often known – the SVP) is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty…”

    In Bradford:

    I know someone who has been sent there to hump furniture about all day long for 6 months or he loses his JSA.

  2. 2 Paul Towmy said at 2:04 pm on October 1st, 2014:

    Ok. I’m good for 11-10-14, Haringey. What next please and how do I get the travel funds please

  3. 3 timfrom said at 3:21 pm on October 3rd, 2014:

    Good for Edinburgh. Learndirect need targetting in the NW, too. Particularly the re-cycling plants they send you to on the Wirral (Bromborough and Ellesmere Port) which, I discovered, are owned by a Learndirect subsidiary company (JHP Ltd). So they get taxpayer money from the govt contract for handling the allocation of work placements AND their companies get to save on wages by running their factories using our forced labour. You couldn’t make it up!

  4. 4 A said at 7:36 am on October 7th, 2014:

    There’s now a Sheffield event happening outside Savers this Saturday:

  5. 5 LabourNet Germany: Treffpunkt für Ungehorsame, mit und ohne Job, basisnah, gesellschaftskritisch » Aktionswoche gegen Workfare said at 8:42 am on October 8th, 2014:

    […] Workfare action coming up across the UK…  – der Aufruf zur Aktionswoche vom 27. September 2014 bei Boycott Workfare […]

  6. 6 EvansAbove said at 7:23 pm on October 9th, 2014:

    Do something to shut down Working Links too. Another department unfit for purpose. Despite being unemployed for almost 2 years now and voluntarily doing voluntary retail work in all that time (and before, even when gainfully employed), Working Links sanction those of us aged between 55 and 65 because WE ARE NOT DOING ENOUGH TO LOOK FOR WORK! Whilst we oldies do not mind working for nothing and doing our bit in the voluntary sector, we refuse to be treated like ‘scroungers’ when most, if not all, of us have been working since we left school at the age of 15. South Wales Valleys people have had enough and are getting sanctioned even though they are contributing in a voluntary capacity. What a shameful way to treat fellow human beings.

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