Posted: October 30th, 2012 | Author: boycottworkfare | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: Birmingham, Brighton, Leeds | 2 Comments »
On the 3rd of November and 17th of November groups across the country will be protesting against Argos Superdrug and Poundland.
Since Poundland’s involvement in workfare their profits have soared. In Brighton, Superdrug will not be taking on temporary christmas staff as they can rely on workfare placements and Argos involvement has resulted in making those who take part in workfare for Argos working above the hours intially agreed to with the clients.
Leeds – 3rd November, 2pm, Outside Argos on Headrow – Facebook Event
Brighton – 3rd November, 12noon, meet at the Clocktower – Facebook Event
Kilburn – 3rd November, 12noon, Poundland in Kilburn High Road. – Facebook Event
And coming up soon…
Birmingham – 10th November, 11.30am–12.30pm, British Heart Foundation on Harborne High Street
UK-wide – 8th December – Day of action – more details soon!
Posted: July 12th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Action report, Call to action, Welfare to work industry | Tags: Birmingham, Bournemouth, Brighton, images, industry conference, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Oxford | 2 Comments »
On Tuesday, A Boycott Workfare delegation paid a short but vocal visit to the Welfare to Work workfare industry convention. More on this soon!
Before the week of action even started, we had a major success with Holland & Barrett pulling out of workfare. They had been a flagship company for the government’s workfare plans, so this was a massive achievement. Well done to everyone who helped make it happen, especially Sol Fed who had co-ordinated pickets outside their shops across the UK!
The week of action has stepped up the pressure on workfare even further…
In Bath there was a picket outside WHSmith. See the photo.
In Birmingham people gathered from across the UK for a counter-conference during the Welfare to Work convention. We didn’t let the industry’s event go undisturbed and marched into the main hall during the lunch break. More on this and a full report from the counter-conference soon!
In Bournemouth leafleting at the job centre and talking to people coming in and out revealed that Bournemouth Borough Council need to be added to the list of Workfare Providers.
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Posted: June 27th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action, Welfare to work industry | Tags: Birmingham, industry conference, Meeting | 11 Comments »
As the Tories continue their attack on our welfare, Boycott Workfare and welfare activists in Birmingham have come together for a one day conference, called as a counter to the Welfare to Work conference happening just down the road at the ICC. This is part of the national week of action against workfare
Making Welfare Work
Tuesday 10th July, 9:30am – 5:30pm
Unite the Union Building, Transport House, Broad Street, Birmingham, B15 2AY
Whether you are unemployed, disabled, retired, low paid or in a caring role, the past 2 years of government have seen an unprecedented attack on our standards of living and rights. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Public Sector, Unions | Tags: Birmingham, NHS | 2 Comments »
Rachel Overfield, Chief Nurse at Sandwell and Birmingham Hospitals trust – who are using workfare on their wards – was interviewed as part of a call-in radio programme on BBC Radio West Midlands today, and said that people sent to them by the job centre could face sanctions if they decided that this work experience would not be right for them.
You can hear the full 45 minute phone-in segment of Adrian Goldberg’s show on iPlayer, right from the start of his show. Rachel is on at the end, after around 40 minutes. Tom from Boycott Workfare is interviewed at around 25 minutes.
When asked if people would face losing benefits if they said no to workfare in the hospital, Rachel said that she supposes it is possible that someone could be there on pain of losing their benefits.
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Posted: May 21st, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Public Sector, Unions | Tags: Birmingham, NHS | No Comments »
Today it has been revealed that hospitals in Birmingham are using workfare to do work that would usually be paid. This confirms Boycott Workfare’s fears that an approach which began with the previous government’s Flexible New Deal, where people were sent by A4E to work at the Whittington Hospital, is being further rolled out. This is a dark day for anyone who believes in welfare, hospital care, the social contract or the basic principle that that people should be paid to do a job. This article was written by Birmingham Against Cuts in response:
Sandwell and Birmingham Hospitals trust have begun using unpaid workfare labour to cover for £125m of cuts to the “ringfenced” NHS budget.
6 people, forced under threat of having their benefits stopped, have taken part in a trial scheme, which has seen them undertake a number of duties including cleaning and running errands but also extending to patient care in non-clinical areas, helping with meals and drinks.
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Posted: May 6th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Action report | Tags: Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, Sol Fed | No Comments »
Workfare: doesn’t work and not fair. Photo: Howard Jones
Across the UK people are finding creative and effective ways to bring down workfare. Here’s a flavour of some of the things that have happened recently:
* On 31st March, shops using workfare were targeted on high streets in over 20 locations across the UK
* In Birmingham, guided “Workfare walk of shame” actions have put pressure on local store managers and engaged the public. Read their guide to organising a walk on your high street here.
* In Liverpool, there’s been two actions in the last fortnight.
* After years of struggle, Edinburgh Claimants have won the right to be accompanied to meetings with A4E.
* Brighton Benefits Campaign have picketed their local A4E.
* In London, Chris Grayling had to find an alternative entrance (we suspect through the rubbish area) to an event entitled “Putting employers at the heart of the Work Programme”.
* On Mayday, high street stores which profit from workfare were again the target of protests.
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Posted: January 18th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Pledge to boycott workfare | Tags: Birmingham | No Comments »
Since the beginning of the year, Birmingham Trades Council and Brighton GMB Branch have signed the pledge to Boycott Workfare. The campaign also has the support of Birmingham Against Cuts who have written this statement…
Workfare is a government scheme where people who have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for 6 months or more are made to take a “work experience” position at a company for a period of up to 6 weeks.Common placements are at Poundland, Tesco and other retail businesses, where people will do jobs such as sweeping/cleaning and shelf stacking.
Workfare was first brought in as part of the Flexible New Deal, under Labour, and is being expanded by the ConDem coalition. Worryingly, there are now moves being put into place to create placements of up to 6 months for long term unemployed.
During the period you are working for the company, you receive your benefits and travel expenses. There is no extra pay, and people on the work experience do a full 30-35hour week for up to £67.50 of benefits (younger people will get less, with £53.75 being a lower rate). This means that people are often earning less than £2/hr for their work – well below the minimum wage.
The companies they are working for do not pay anything, instead the taxpayer covers the cost of their “wages”.
Boycott Workfare are a campaign group who have been working to end these schemes. They approached us before Christmas as they will be starting to campaign around the West Midlands this year. This coincided with the start of a legal challenge to Workfare by local firm Public Interest Lawyers (who regularly attend Birmingham Against The Cuts meetings), and a story in the Guardian about workfare, which included details from Cait Reilly, who was made to give up her voluntary position at the Birmingham Pen Museum, in order to do a placement at Poundland in Kings Heath.
We have decided to support the campaign in Birmingham, and will be helping to organise a meeting in the city centre sometime in March, along with Birmingham Trades Council and Boycott Workfare. We will of course publicise this meeting when there are firm details. There will also be meetings held around Birmingham and the West Midlands.
If you want to get involved with the campaign, or want to know if there will be a meeting near you, please email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com and we’ll pass your details on / get back to you.
Read the full statement of support here.