Posted: August 6th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Action report, Info on schemes | Tags: legal challenge | 5 Comments »
Today, the first ruling was made in a case which challenged the legality of workfare – forced unpaid work schemes. The outcome is a big blow to the government: it means tens of thousands of people who have been sanctioned on workfare may be able to claim their money back.
While the judge did not go as far as ruling that the government practice of constituting multiple, confusing schemes and not publishing sufficient information about them is unlawful, this could well be overturned in the coming appeal.
The judge found that the letters sent to the two claimants in this case failed to set out the necessary information for sanctions to be lawful. These were standard letters, sent to tens of thousands of people who may now be entitled to reimbursement. Public Interest Lawyers have said they intend to appeal the decision that the schemes were validly made.
The ruling comes at a time when despite multiple studies which show workfare does not help people find work, the government intends to roll out the Community Action Programme. This will see 1.06 million people forced to work for six months without pay, potentially replacing thousands of paid jobs and making the minimum wage irrelevant. This is why the brave legal action of Cait Reilly and Jamie Wilson, who brought the case is so important.
The High Court may not as yet have found that forced unpaid work contravenes human rights, but the public know that it does. Our campaign does not rely on judges to challenge the impact of workfare. Thousands of people are taking action online and on the streets and are succeeding in pushing back workfare in the UK. Many organisations have already pulled out, and workfare is rapidly losing all legitimacy.
You can help! Boycott Workfare is calling a UK-wide day of action on 8th September. Put the date in your diary, start thinking about how you would like to take part and keep an eye on the website for more info!
Posted: June 27th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Action report | Tags: legal challenge | 7 Comments »
Cait Reilly gives a statement outside court. "It's time to support people looking for work, not punish them."
Boycott Workfare headed to the High Court to support the two claimants challenging the government’s workfare schemes in a judicial review. We held a protest outside the court in support of the claimants and then headed inside to listen to the case.
Over the last two days a High Court judge has listened to a judicial review brought forward by two claimants against two of the government’s workfare schemes.
Cait Reilly, a geology graduate, was forced to work unpaid for two weeks at Poundland under the Sector Based Work Academy programme. The other claimant, a qualified mechanic, was mandated onto the Community Action Programme which he refused to participate in and as a result had his benefits stopped.
If successful, the case could see workfare schemes quashed. Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, would face a major headache – he would be required to radically overhaul his shambolic schemes so that benefit claimants were fully informed about the schemes and their rights. Forcing claimants to work for free would also be a lot more difficult for the government if the judge accepts that it contravenes article 4 of the Human Rights Act.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 26th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Action report | Tags: images, legal challenge | 2 Comments »
Boycott Workfare supports Cait outside the court
Today and tomorrow, the legality of workfare is being challenged in the courts. Two claimants are subjecting workfare to judicial review. They are Cait Reilly, who was forced to work for Poundland without pay, and a man who had his benefits stopped for six months when he did not agree to clean furniture full-time and unpaid for half a year.
Cait Reilly said outside court today “Poundland got free labour. I got nothing… It is time to support people looking for work, not punish them.”
Boycott Workfare and people across the UK wish them every success as they expose workfare in the courts. Speaking at the end of the first day, Liz Wyatt, a member of Boycott Workfare said: “Today Cait Reilly’s lawyers showed that not only is the government compelling people to work without pay, it is doing so without even publishing people’s rights. The scandal of forced unpaid work in the UK is being exposed and we hope the judge will act to quash all workfare schemes. This case could establish that they’re not only wrong, but also unlawful.”
See the lawyers’ press release here. The case will conclude on Wednesday, but the judge’s decision may not be given immediately. The gallery is open to the public if you would like to go and show your support.
Take part in the campaign to end workfare – forced unpaid work:
- Take part in a communications blockade of workfare profiteer A4e today. See the Facebook event.
- Take part in the week of action against workfare on 7-14 July. More here.
Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: legal challenge | 1 Comment »
Cait Reilly was forced to work without pay in Poundland and will now challenge workfare in the High Court
Media release 25th June 2012 – Please note time changes have occurred since this was first released today.
Photo opportunity: Tuesday 26th June from 9.15am outside the Royal Courts of Justice – Boycott Workfare campaigners will be dressed as judges holding a banner declaring ‘the real crime is workfare’.
This Tuesday and Wednesday, two claimants will take the fight against workfare to the High Court. Cait Reilly and an unnamed claimant will be challenging two of the government’s workfare schemes – the sector based work academies and the community action programme respectively . The Public Interest Lawyers who are representing the claimants state that ‘If it succeeds the court will quash the regulations under which the schemes are made and Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, will be sent back to the drawing board.’ 
The court case will commence at 10.00am on Tuesday 26th June. Cait Reilly and her solicitor will be giving a statement on the steps of the Royal Courts of Justice at approximately 9.25am. Boycott Workfare campaigners will be outside the Royal Courts of Justice from 9.15am. Dressed as judges and holding a banner declaring ‘the real crime is workfare’ the campaigners will show their support for the two claimants in their legal challenge against workfare.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: June 12th, 2012 | Author: editor | Filed under: Call to action | Tags: legal challenge | No Comments »
The fight against workfare enters a new arena as two claimants challenge workfare in the courts. On Tuesday 26th June the Royal Courts of Justice will hear Cait Reilly and an unnamed claimant challenge their workfare placements in the Sector Based Work Academy and the Community Action Programme respectively. They will argue that these placements represent a form of forced labour breaching Article 4 of the Human Rights Act.
The outcome of these court cases could have significant implications for the government’s five workfare schemes.
We wish Cait and the other claimant our best wishes with their attempt to challenge workfare in the courts.
Boycott Workfare will be holding a protest in support of the claimants outside the courts. Further details will be announced when we have them, but keep 26th June in your diary.
Update: Meet at 9.30am outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand on Tue 26th June.
Posted: December 7th, 2011 | Author: editor | Filed under: Personal accounts | Tags: legal challenge | 1 Comment »
Cait Reilly said she risked losing her benefits if she refused to work for free stacking shelves in Poundland
A graduate is taking legal action against the government over a scheme which she says forces people to do unpaid work.
Cait Reilly, a University of Birmingham geology graduate, is currently trying to find work in the museum sector.
The 22-year-old said she had to work for free at a Poundland store for two weeks or risk losing her benefits.
Read the full press release here, a video here, a BBC report here and a Radio 4 report here.
Posted: July 19th, 2011 | Author: editor | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: legal challenge | No Comments »
Thanks to Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre for preparing this legal argument which outlines the case for workfare schemes being unlawful and contrary to human rights principles.
Download the PDF here: The legal argument for workfare being illegal
Let us know if you find it useful!
Update: Public Interest Lawyers are now mounting a legal challenge to mandatory work activity