Challenge the TUC’s support for workfare, on the first day of online action for the Boycott Workfare week of action.
On 1 August 2014, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) made a joint statement with Confederation of British Industries (CBI) to back Traineeships for 16-23 year olds and “show support” for the businesses that benefit from the unpaid labour on this scheme.
Traineeships involve training and “work placements” for up to six months – all unpaid. The TUC’s Assistant General Secretary Paul Nowak hails Traineeships as “an important first step towards the world of work”. But in giving a green light to a new layer of unpaid work in the economy, the TUC is in fact helping to shrink opportunities for young people, undermine the going rate, and replace paid work with workfare.
Traineeships mean that young people are now expected to work unpaid for six months before even qualifying for an interview for an apprenticeship. The lucky few who make it through the interview can look forward to a minimum wage of £2.73 an hour, as an apprentice.
If a young person does not take part in the training, they face punitive sanctions. The work placement segment itself may not be backed with the direct threat of sanctions, but, between the economic coercion of a jobs market with so few footholds and the draconian job centre regime, few people will feel able to turn them down.
Instead of demanding decent wages, the TUC is supporting McDonalds, Toyota, Virgin Media, BT, Vodafone, Phones4U, Siemens, Capita, local councils and many more being supplied with unpaid staff for up to 6 months on benefits alone, without any obligations to hire them!
The TUC plans to march behind the slogan “Britain needs a payrise” on 18 October. It seems to have chosen to ignore the millions of us who do not have paid work and instead face workfare and sanctions.
Today as Kilburn Unemployed Workers protest this shoddy deal outside the TUC HQ in London, please contact the TUC via the details below, or through your union networks.
When challenging their support for Traineeships, you might also like to point out that:
- The TUC’s support for Labour’s Job Guarantee means undermining the going rate and minimum wage too.
- The TUC’s support for benefit sanctions is totally unacceptable. It has recommended that ‘claimants who turn down a job guarantee job without good cause should face benefit sanctions’. Let the TUC know that punishing people by taking away their means to survival can never be okay.
Tweet at Frances O’Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC
Tweet to @FrancesOGrady
Post on the TUC’s Facebook page
Or get in touch with the TUC’s press officers who released the statement:
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Nichols T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07876 452902 E: email@example.com
If you’re a member of a trade union, please download and adapt this motion to challenge the TUC’s support for sanctions and workfare.