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25 Feb Day of Action to support activist arrested at jobcentre for representing a jobseeker

Posted: February 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action | 7 Comments »
SUWN protest

Support Tony Cox from the Scottish Unemployed Workers’ Network, who was arrested after assisting a claimant at Arbroath Jobcentre.

Solidarity with unemployed activist arrested for representing a jobseeker – call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.

Take part in a day of action at job centres Britain-wide, 25 February 2015.

Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker. We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.

We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented. Tony will be in court in Forfar on 25th February facing charges of “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”. That same day we call on people to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show their solidarity with Tony and distribute information to claimants urging them to exercise their right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews.

As we face unprecedented sanctions and benefits cuts, it’s more important than ever that we support each other and stand up to the DWP bullies. The Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions and other groups have established a strong presence at the Jobcentres in Dundee and in nearby towns and cities like Arbroath, Perth and Blairgowrie, supporting claimants in opposing sanctions and harassment.

On 29 January Tony was accompanying a vulnerable woman claimant, who suffers from severe dyslexia and literacy problems. The claimant, D, had been signed up to the Universal Job Match (UJM), the computerised job search system, and was being forced to complete five job searches per day, the pressure of which had led to her having several panic attacks. Tony proposed that D’s UJM account be closed, and that her number of job searches be significantly reduced. The adviser refused to consider this, and so Tony and D met with the Jobcentre manager.

The manager likewise refused to even look at the issue, falsely claiming that all jobseekers had to be registered with UJM. She even suggested to D that she should arrange another meeting without Tony or any other witness or rep present. Despite the pressure D was being put under by the manager, she replied that she would not attend another meeting without Tony. At this point the manager demanded that Tony leave the building or the police would be called. Tony refused to leave, but the meeting ended when it was agreed that a further meeting be arranged to discuss the issue further. Tony was arrested after he left the Jobcentre.

The right of claimants to be accompanied to interviews, and for the accompanier to have the right to speak, has been established by groups like Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, who have forced the DWP locally and Britain-wide to apologise for calling the police on ECAP reps, and to affirm claimants’ right to representation. The DWP clearly state “Claimants accessing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and services can have someone to accompany them to act on their behalf…”

The attack on benefits and claimants is part of the austerity assault on the entire working class. We call on all unemployed and claimants groups, anti cuts and anti austerity groups, human rights groups, workplace activists, and all working class people, waged and unwaged, to show solidarity with Tony and the right of the unemployed and all claimants to organise collectively to fight back.

Visit your local Jobcentre on 25th February with banners and placards and distribute leaflets to claimants on Tony’s case and the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews. Download a leaflet about Tony’s situation and another to inform claimants of our right to be accompanied (PDF here) which you can print and use at the demos!

  • Send a message of support to
  • Complain to Noel Shanahan, Director General Operations DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA
  • Sign the petition
  • There will be a picket of the Forfar court before the hearing at 10am on 25 February, by activists from Dundee, Tayside and area – for details contact
  • There will be two solidarity actions in London:
    * 09.45-10.45am, outside Kilburn Jobcentre with Kilburn Unemployed Workers
    * 3pm, DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street London SW1H 9NA (Nearest tube St James’ Park or Westminster) with Boycott Workfare
  • See a full list of actions in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dundee and more here.

Call out by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty –

Supported by Scottish Unemployed Workers Network
Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions
Boycott Workfare
Disabled People Against Cuts

Please add the support of your group/organisation: email &

And don’t forget Disabled People Against Cut’s Day of Action the following week on 2 March!

7 Comments on “25 Feb Day of Action to support activist arrested at jobcentre for representing a jobseeker”

  1. 1 Pension60 said at 1:06 pm on February 14th, 2015:

    There is a way to get rid of all the so-called big parties, with their politicians educated into an aristocratic mindset in public schools and Oxford and Cambridge.

    How to gain a rainbow coalition of parties that offer the best Vote or Starve for this year’s general election 7 May 2015, at:

  2. 2 More news about water, work, welfare and wage theft: Mid-February round-up | Cautiously pessimistic said at 6:50 pm on February 14th, 2015:

    […] Scottish Unemployed Network member Tony Cox was arrested for accompanying a claimant to the jobcentr…. Beyond that, Leeds Welfare Fightback will be rallying against sanctions, welfare cuts and […]

  3. 3 enigma said at 12:48 pm on February 15th, 2015:

    Tony Cox should have no problem at court, he didn’t do anything wrong, we all know though that the JC manager probably said he was being violent, which we know he wasn’t.

  4. 4 Marc said at 10:30 pm on February 15th, 2015:

    why not target the *recipients* of workfare – I’ve boycotted Tesco for signing up.

  5. 5 …as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it: once more on free speech and censorship | Cautiously pessimistic said at 7:43 pm on February 17th, 2015:

    […] Scotland, the police recently arrested a member of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network for accompanying a …. In Dudley, the police pre-emptively arrested 27 antifascists the other week, and on the Crossrail […]

  6. 6 Workfare Is A Betrayal Of Our Children And We Will All Pay The Price In Time | the void said at 8:07 pm on February 19th, 2015:

    […] of the unemployed activist arrested for supporting a claimant at Arbroath Jobcentre.  Details on Boycott Workfare’s website, please spread the […]

  7. 7 Win, win & win on workfare - Win, win & win on workfare - Boycott Workfare said at 10:44 pm on September 24th, 2015:

    […] while accompanying someone at the Jobcentre. Our actions meant many more people learnt about their right to be accompanied. Such accompaniment is crucial in helping people understand the UK’s complex social security […]

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