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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.

Week of Action vs. Workfare and Sanctions 25 April – 2 May

Posted: March 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action | 23 Comments »

workfare and sanctions face demolitionNo workfare. No sanctions. Whoever wins we will resist!

As the general election campaign gets underway we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster. It is shameful that workfare and sanctions are supported by all the main political parties. This is why we are holding a week of action in the week before the election. We need your help to expose and challenge workfare and sanctions policies and the political lies that underpin them.

Workfare undermines paid jobs and wages and results in sanctions. It does nothing to improve the chances of people finding a job and exploits those forced to carry it out. Last year over half a million people had their benefits sanctioned. The number of benefit sanctions imposed by the DWP now exceeds the number of fines imposed by the courts. People are being left with nothing for up to three years. There is now overwhelming evidence of the harm being caused by sanctions. Sanctions are damaging the health of claimants and leading to hunger, homelessness and deaths.

Your actions have already had a huge impact in challenging these policies. Dozens of organisations have withdrawn from the schemes following public pressure. Over 500 voluntary sector organisations have now signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement to say they oppose workfare and sanctions and will not be involved. 25 councils have also said they will boycott the schemes. All this means it is getting harder and harder for the government’s private providers to find workfare placements. Hundreds of placements have been cancelled and your actions have made a real difference.

The week of action is a chance for everyone who opposes workfare and sanctions to demand an end to these cruel policies. However you can contribute join us to take action from 25 April – 2 May:

  • Join in with online actions throughout the week!
  • Ask charities you support to sign the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement!
  • Speak out! Tell those promoting workfare and sanctions what you think of their policies!
  • Hand out our know-your-rights leaflets at your local jobcentre!
  • Plan actions at a workfare exploiter near you!

Remember to let us know what you plan so we can help to publicise it!

Join the Facebook event and invite others to take part too!

Actions announced so far: 

23rd April, WirralHelp Esther McVey lose her seat! (DPAC action)

25th April, Bexley, LondonSanction Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shops

25th April, Haringey, London – 1.30pm to 2.30pm. Picket of North London Hospice in Turnpike Lane.

25th April, Leeds – Leeds Welfare Fightback will be out in Briggate at 12-3pm on the Saturdays and throughout the week with stalls and leaflets

25th April, Chingford – IDS – the Butcher of Benefits must go! (DPAC action)

26th April, Haringey, London – 12 noon to 1pm. Picket of North London Hospice in Turnpike Lane. Meet outside the shop at 12 noon.

[EXPAND 26th-30th April, Haringey, London – Daily leafleting at Job Centre ]

Monday 27th April – 10am to 11am. leafleting outside Wood green Job centre (where Mayes Rd meets Western Rd, N22). meet there. We will be leafleting claimants signing on to chat about Community Work Programme and if they are on it and who is their provider.

Tuesday 28th April – 11am to 12 noon. leafleting outside Tottenham Job Centre (roughly on the corner of Tottenham High Rd and Lordship Lane). Reason – as above.

Wednesday 29th April – 11am to 12 noon. leafleting outside Wood green Job centre (where Mayes Rd meets Western Rd, N22). meet there. Reason – as above.

Thursday 30th April – 12 noon to 1pm. leafleting outside Wood green Job centre (where Mayes Rd meets Western Rd, N22). meet there. Reason – as above.

Friday 1st May – 3.30pm to 4.30pm. leafleting outside Wood green Job centre (where Mayes Rd meets Western Rd, N22). meet there. Reason – as above.
[/EXPAND]

29th April, Edinburgh  – Demonstrate at High Riggs Jobcentre, by Tollcross, Edinburgh

29th April, Glasgow – 1.30-3pm – protest against sanctions outside Newlands Job Centre, 8 Coustonholm Road, Glasgow, G43 1SS

29th April, Walthamstow  – Waltham Forest Unite Community are leafletting ASDA and 3 charity shops from 1-4pm on the High St, Walthamstow, E17. Ring 07954047527 for more info.

29th April, Brixton, London – 12pm Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth will be leafleting outside Brixton Job Centre

30th April, Drumchapel – Protest against Benefit Sanctions – Drumchapel Jobcentre

1st May, BristolBristol May day demo – Combat Workfare

1st May, Kilburn, London – 10-11am Leafleting outside Kilburn Jobcentre

2nd May, Central London – Sanction the Salvation Army

2nd May, Cambridge – 11am-1pm – picket of the Salvation Army on Mill Road
2nd May, Leeds – Leeds Welfare Fightback will be out in Briggate at 12-3pm on the Saturdays and throughout the week with stalls and leaflets
2nd May, Norwich – meet Norwich SolFed us at the Forum from 10.45am

2nd May, Swindon – 14.30pm until 16.00pm, outside Primark in town centre

Actions in the Netherlands

Disabled People Against the Cuts are also planning a “Revenge Tour” in the same week


23 Comments on “Week of Action vs. Workfare and Sanctions 25 April – 2 May”

  1. 1 Chris said at 3:51 am on March 16th, 2015:

    Workfare and sanctions (becoming permanent under Universal Credit due to Hardship payments becoming recoverable loans against future benefit or wages) can be got rid of altogether.

    The general election is the middle of the May Bank Holiday week, so most people will be away from home.

    The poor cannot do holidays so will be home.

    The poor have more power in the lowest voter turnout in UK history, bringing the most severe hung parliament, because we now outnumber all other voters in a huge number of areas, especially in England.

    A group of parties need to reach 323 MPs to form a majority government.

    The SNP and Plaid Cymru are a fair amount.

    There are other parties that the poor could bring in MPs, as the poor voters’ extra voting power, of all ages, are greater than a lot of sitting Tory and Lib Dem MPs’ majority gained in 2010.

    Especially in Cornwall.

    These parties are on my little website, as well as their logos to put your pencil cross by the side of, on Thursday 7 May.

    With enough of such MPs, Labour would have to change, as it would add the voices of reason to the party in an arm’s length coalition called supply and confidence, not the disaster of a straight forward coalition that has been the Lib Dem collaboration with the Tories.

    See who they are, what their logos are and ideas how they could affordably become in the public eye, when the media and left leaning blogs and forums are ignoring them totally.

    http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

    Share my website on your blogs and social media Facebook and Twitter please. Thanks.

  2. 2 No more deaths at work, no more deaths from benefit sanctions: two vital events this week | Cautiously pessimistic said at 8:50 pm on March 17th, 2015:

    […] deaths among those of us who are out of work. Looking further ahead, it’s worth noting that Boycott Workfare are calling for another week of action against workfare from 25th April-2nd May, as well as a welfare action gathering later in May. Whether we’re in paid work or not, we […]

  3. 3 alex said at 4:54 am on March 19th, 2015:

    can you please drop the exclamation marks, it looks juvenile. you want people to take you seriously, don’t do what the SWP does.

    other than that keep up the good work.

  4. 4 Stevie Rev said at 3:25 pm on April 1st, 2015:

    “we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster.”

    only a “disaster” for claimants and poor people in general….., oh and really the whole of the working class as it is part of the generalised offensive against us in general, that is agreed-upon by all the major parties and even the little parties (eg left wing ones like TUSC and Left Unity) – well, Syriza actually WoN the election in Greece in January, and that hasn’t stopped the austerity (only, the very poorest and most destitute people, after means-testing, are maybe going to receive food stamps and “free” electricity).
    So, to cut to it we don’t want to start off with thinking that we can or should be advising the govt of the millionaires (that is, the govt that sits in Parliament and always represents the rich, never the poor majority!) on how to make their system a success, because success for them IS that wages have been slashed along with benefits, and people at the bottom are far more likely to do far crapper jobs for less and less money, precisely because of things like the regime that exists in the benefit offices:
    because then the circus that is the elections becomes something that we want to take part in – the actual voting match between cat-shit and dog-shit: both of which are shit and plan to continue with austerity

  5. 5 editor said at 10:07 am on April 2nd, 2015:

    Alex – Have dropped a couple of exclamation marks. Hope that helps :)

  6. 6 HASL April news | Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth said at 3:30 pm on April 3rd, 2015:

    […] talking about introducing sanctions to housing benefit for in-work claimants, more on this soon. Boycott Workfare week of action 25th April-2nd May. Boycott Workfare Welfare Action Gathering Saturday 30th May. ​ Training sessions Want to […]

  7. 7 Anon said at 4:27 pm on April 6th, 2015:

    Boycott Workfare – As there is a chance the SNP will be holding up a minority Labour government come May, I would suggest adding an action that enables people to contact a full list of PPCs for the party requesting the scrapping of sanctions as a condition of a confidence and supply arrangement.

    http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/mar/snp-back-expert-calls-moratorium-sanctions

    This is the best chance there is to stop workfare, even if it is just temporarily.

  8. 8 Hey student! You’re still not saying anything. | Cautiously pessimistic said at 6:06 pm on April 10th, 2015:

    […] more adequate response to the mass child abuse scandals? What would this perspective contribute to the ongoing fight against the gutting of the benefits system and the spread of forced unpaid work? When one of my friends is threatened with illegal eviction, when I ask a friend how they’re […]

  9. 9 Paul Glendenning said at 2:21 pm on April 13th, 2015:

    Another party, actually now the THIRD largest by membership; that opposes workfare and sanctions is the Green Party. The Greens are standing candidates in around about 95% of seats, plus local authority elections too. Check out the we site and whichever alternative to austerity, business as usual party you vote for – please make sure you use that vote :-)

  10. 10 Paul Glendenning said at 2:23 pm on April 13th, 2015:

    Quick addition to the above, web site for Greens as follows https://www.greenparty.org.uk/

  11. 11 More housing benefit cuts to come… | Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth said at 4:28 pm on April 13th, 2015:

    […] been fighting the government’s workfare schemes and benefit sanctions for years now. There is a week of action against workfare and benefit sanctions from 25th April to 2nd May which we will be […]

  12. 12 Here Comes The Forced Labour Party – Massive Extension Of Workfare And Benefits To Be Slashed | the void said at 9:21 pm on April 13th, 2015:

    […] the Week of Action Against Workfare and Sanctions beginning on 25th […]

  13. 13 Waltham Forest Unite Community supports Boycott Workfare | Waltham Forest Left Unity said at 6:58 pm on April 15th, 2015:

    […] http://bworkfare.mayfirst.org/?p=4239 […]

  14. 14 We’re all equal in the eyes of the law… as long as we have a spare grand lying about | Cautiously pessimistic said at 6:07 pm on April 18th, 2015:

    […] In welfare news, the Black Triangle Campaign are celebrating the fact that they’ve been able to pressure the British Medical Association into informing all GPs about some important regulations that could save people from failing the dreaded Work Capacity Assessment. And the next Boycott Workfare week of action is getting closer – there’s already events planned …. […]

  15. 15 Deconstructing The So Called Jobs Miracle And Why It Has Nothing To Do With Iain Duncan Smith | the void said at 12:40 pm on April 20th, 2015:

    […] the Week of Action Against Workfare and Benefit Sanctions beginning on April […]

  16. 16 Climax Internationale Week tegen Dwangarbeid op 1 mei 2015 | 1 mei 2015 said at 11:30 pm on April 22nd, 2015:

    […] initiatief van de Britse organisatie Boycott Workfare vindt van 25 april tot en met 2 mei de Internationale Week tegen Dwangarbeid plaats. In Nederland […]

  17. 17 Join us for the big housing weekend! | Housing Action Southwark & Lambeth said at 4:00 pm on April 24th, 2015:

    […] Wednesday 29th April at 12pm we will be leafleting outside Brixton Job Centre as part of Boycott Workfare’s week of action against workfare and sanctions. As everyone knows, benefit sanctions are causing homelessness and deeper poverty. We’ll be […]

  18. 18 Jon said at 8:45 am on April 25th, 2015:

    Hi,
    Can you please add Swindon to the list of actions. Details are Saturday 2nd of May, 14.30pm until 16.00pm, outside Primark in town centre

  19. 19 The 2.25 Million Hidden Unemployed People Reveals The Stark Truth: There’s No Fucking Jobs | the void said at 12:19 pm on April 29th, 2015:

    […] benefit sanctions and workfare.  Yet nothing has happened so far.  As part of the week of action against workfare and sanctions contact them and demand they speak out against the current regime which has driven some claimants […]

  20. 20 May Day Demonstrators Clash with Mall Security | Bristol Anarchist Federation said at 9:46 pm on May 4th, 2015:

    […] we didn’t have quite as much time to plan and mobilise as in 2012/13. A call out for a week of action against workfare made it easy to choose what to do though. Afterall the DWP listed us as a threat […]

  21. 21 May Day Demonstrators Clash with Mall Security - News4Security said at 7:27 pm on May 11th, 2015:

    […] Organise!84 we didn t have quite as much time to plan and mobilise as in 2012/13. A call out for a week of action against workfare made it easy to choose what to do […]

  22. 22 Take action: Charities and sanctions don’t mix - Take action: Charities and sanctions don’t mix - Boycott Workfare said at 9:42 pm on September 28th, 2015:

    […] week’s the Week of Action vs Sanctions and Workfare with daily online actions. If you haven’t had a chance to do so yet, please take a minute […]

  23. 23 Sanction Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shops - Sanction Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shops - Boycott Workfare said at 9:43 pm on September 28th, 2015:

    […] off the Week of Action vs. Workfare and Sanctions, there are actions today in Bexley, Haringey and Leeds. Please show your support on Twitter and […]


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