As the week of action against workfare begins, Boycott Workfare can reveal an email sent by a subcontractor for the new Community Work Placements, a six month workfare scheme. It exposes how workfare is being marketed to employers as a way of replacing paid jobs. It also exposes the smoke and mirrors involved, with people mandated to workfare referred to both as “unpaid employees” and “volunteers”.
If you are in paid work, that list of potential roles should worry you: at the moment these are paid jobs. After Ixion Holdings have offered “large numbers of [volunteers] to cover the same job role or to cover different departments”, why would any unscrupulous employer keep paying people to do them?
We know that workfare means less paid work for everyone. Take Homebase or 2 Sisters’ workfare pizza factory as examples.
But the good news is that our action can make an impact. We have already delayed the roll-out of Community Work Placements. We are also chipping away at the placement hosts, making sure they know the real facts and public opposition to workfare. So far:
- Byteback IT pulled out after George Osbourne’s visit brought their involvement to public attention
- Invicta have pulled out following public pressure
- Traid have cancelled 10 placements in Haringey, which they say were taken on in contravention of national policy
- Cancer Research UK cancelled their CWP placements in Edinburgh after Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty contacted CRUK. They claimed the Edinburgh CRUK depot that was participating was doing so against charity policy, although they also stated that the charity does take Work Experience placements.
- Age UK were listed as CWP placement brokers for G4S in Merseyside. After criticism, their name was removed without explanation.