Age UK: still using workfare
Supposedly, Age UK pulled out of workfare in December. However, since then we have had a number of reports from people doing Mandatory Work Activity at Age UK East Sussex in oppressive conditions at their Newhaven warehouse. We have been told they take on about 15 placements every week! With about 10 of these being bullied off or dropping out due to the nature of the placements over the 4 weeks. These people are likely to have then had their benefits stopped for at least 3 months as a result of Age UK East Sussex. On top of this it appears there are issues with health and safety and reports of people being injured from the work and then told not to come back.
Here is what someone who has been at Age UK East Sussex had to say:
“Abuse of workfare placements at Age UK East Sussex continues. AGEUKES is a charity in financial trouble according to the accounts that are published on their website. The money losses are down to mis-management. Paid staff have been laid off and the use of zero hours contracts and placements is being increased to save money.
Placements are promised a structured program to learn skills but are just used as general dogs bodies. They are sent out to deliver leaflets and put up signs in the street. They are sent out on vans to do manual lifting. Activities which are not covered by either the charity or Pinnacle’s insurance. People are bullied into doing jobs that are demeaning. The paid staff were not expected to do some of the things Pinnacle people have to do. Example: sorting rubbish with no proper personal protective equipment.”
The welfare-to-work company organising the workfare placements at Age UK is Pinnacle People
: Age UK East Sussex’s Commercial Director Richard Scott-Clark is the person arguing in favour of Age UK’s involvement with them in East Sussex. He opposed trustees when they wanted to end the workfare placements.
If you want to show your anger at how Age UK East Sussex have been treating claimants and staff they can be contacted here
. Or you could email Richard Scott-Clark: email@example.com, or contact him on the phone through the Newhaven furniture warehouse: 01273 646 8000.
Or alternatively just contact Age UK:
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