Anti workfare flying pickets rock Salvation Army in Edinburgh

Four Salvation Army shops blockaded in one day by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty!

Four Salvation Army shops blockaded in one day by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty!

Thanks to Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty for this inspiring report of their action on 3rd March… a hint of what’s to come in the week of action?

Anti workfare campaigners swooped on four Salvation Army shops in Edinburgh on 3rd March, blockading them all and turning away customers and a delivery lorry. Salvation Army managers were visibly rattled as a giant banner proclaiming IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN blocked the entrance to their shops.

At the Bruntsfield Place shop the Salvation Army manager threatened: “I’m one of the more serious managers. I’ll get a group of people to come and kick your heads in if you don’t move from in front of my shop.” The demonstrators from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty maintained their blockade of the entrance and shortly afterwards turned away a lorry from Nathans Wastesavers textile recycling company. Animated debate continued in the street outside the shop as a pro-workfare passer-by was berated by another passer-by who recounted his experiences in the local Salvation Army hostel, where he said the management took half of residents’ benefits to pay for their accommodation.


The blockade of the Forrest Road Starvation Army shop was particularly successful, only 2 people entering the shop in a street teeming with lunch-time passers-by. At the large Earl Grey Street charity shop a Salvation Army worker pushed one of the protestors from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) in a vain attempt at intimidation. Here as at the other shops panic-stricken management phoned desperately for assistance which never came. The police were one step behind the protestors all day, and were totally unable to prevent any of the four blockades.

At the Newington Road store the manager claimed they didn’t use workfare at that shop. Unfortunately for her one of the demonstrators – who had seen the protest and stopped to join in – had a friend who had been forced to work there for nothing only weeks earlier. He had ended up being sanctioned. Reaction from people passing at all the shops was overwhelmingly positive, one woman recounting how she had worked for Shetland Council for six months unpaid, all the time being promised a job – which never materialised.

The Salvation Army are a notorious user of government slave labour schemes both locally and UK-wide. In Edinburgh Mandatory Work Activity provider learndirect have hinted they are their main user and ECAP demonstrated at the Salvation Army’s Leith Walk shop in December in solidarity with a claimant ordered to undertake four weeks unpaid labour there.

An ECAP spokesperson said: “With the new Community Work Placement scheme starting in April we are stepping up our direct action against workfare exploiters with a UK-wide week of action from 29 March – 6 April. We urge all charities and employers to boycott this exploiting scheme and all work-for-your-benefits programmes. We appeal to all workers, especially in the voluntary sector, to pressure their employer to boycott workfare. And we appeal to the unemployed and all claimants to join us to make the workfare schemes unworkable.”

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty | |

Faced with workfare – know your rights and contact us or a local group for support.

Let the Salvation Army know what you think of their involvement in workfare. Edinburgh City Salvation Army |


Comments (13)

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ex charity slave

I did workfare at a YMCA charity shop - the shop managers are only paid minimum wage, the rest of the staff are either volunteers, workfare slaves or people doing community service. The head office pressure them to make £250 a day off the backs of free labour and free donations of clothes, furniture etc. Most of the profits go to management costs
Boycott donating to YMCA charity shops. Hit 'em where it hurts.
They're crap places to work, decent people who're on the dole get treated like shit. And not very safe with piles of flammable clothes, furniture and books etc piled up near fire exits on on the stairs in the back where the public don't get to see


Welldone and keep-up the good work! Workfare is a total obscenity and it is utterly grotesque to blame the unemployed for their unemployment as this wretched, evil and unelected 'government' does. What Britain suffers from is NOT a problem of masses of unemployed people deliberately being 'workshy' but NOT ENOUGH PAID VACANCIES compared to the numbers unemployed.


Must say,some very interesting 'Christians' in charge of Salvation Army shops. They seem quite happy to resort to violence,threats and intimidation towards peaceful protesters. I think 'Inspector McKnacker' might very well want a few words with our tough manager friend. Someone should report him and his staff.


The more people who learn about this dirty, profitable and exploitative Salvation Army secret the better. Maybe the millions they make from forced labour contracts will get them some nice, shiny brass instruments? Congratulations to all involved!

Kenneth Hamm

Well doneWhy not get some of the bone idle "Job centre"so called "workers" to some unpaid work.A day's work would kill them.

Kenneth Hamm

One of the worst things in this country is working class person going against another working class person.The tories love this.It will be very intresting when job centre staff start losing their job's.They will then want the support of the very people they sanctioned.


The Sally Army have a freepost address. Search it out on the net. Sending them heavy things in the post would get expensive quickly for them, and mentioning workfare in your package would make the point, not that I would suggest that you do such a thing of course, but it is a free country after all!

jj joop

"The Sally Army have a freepost address. Search it out on the net. Sending them heavy things in the post would get expensive quickly for them, and mentioning workfare in your package would make the point, not that I would suggest that you do such a thing of course, but it is a free country after all!"

Hmm...worth thinking about!

Landless Peasant

The Starvation Army -

Supporting Workfare
Supporting Benefit Sanctions
Perpetuating Poverty

jj joop

Re: forthcoming CWPs

Does anyone know if You can stop JCP form sharing your personal data with a CWP provider?

David Penson. Backnell

You have my full support, I have long thought there was something deeply patronising about this group of self appointed do gooders, in fact as others have pointed out they are more than happy to profit from the poorest in society.
Might I suggest you all encourage relatives and others to cancel direct debits and donations to this organisation until such time as they pull out of this sordid scheme, hit them in the pocket its the only thing they take notice of.

Witness Watt

Onward Christian Soldiers? Apostate Salvation Army-Abuser of the unemployed.

Grandpa Willy


Here’s something that will either make you laugh or cry. I couldn’t believe it when I read it. In Littleport, not only is the Foodbank being run by Workfare exploiters, the Salvation Army, it would appear they’re also trying to kill off local jobseekers by feeding them all the fattening food donated to them by Littleport Slimming World.

Sharon Heaps, who has run the Slimming World group for 17 years, said: “The pleasure it gave me to contact the foodbank and tell them that they have an enormous amount of goodies coming their way was fantastic.

“What better way to help our members get back on track than by helping our local community at the same time.”

You ignorant **** – I hope you choke on your next meal.