Big blow to the DWP’s latest plans for mass workfare

[Photo: Sinister Pics]

Despite being one of workfare’s most ardent supporters, even Salvation Army aren’t prepared to touch the government’s latest mass workfare scheme [Photo: Sinister Pics]

In an important success even before the workfare week of action starts on 29th March, the Salvation Army have said they will play no part in the upcoming Community Work Placement scheme. Last year the charity was praised by the DWP for ‘holding the line’ on workfare. This recent loss of nerve can only be a direct result of repeated action taken to challenge the Salvation Army’s support for forced work.  The inspiring recent direct action from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, widespread public criticism and constant pressure online has shown what the public think of charities that claim to help unemployed people and then force them to work for free.

The decision is a major blow for the DWP’s latest plans for mass workfare. Community Work Placements are soon to be inflicted on ten of thousands of people leaving the Work Programme and involve six months’ unpaid full-time work for charities and community organisations.  Those who refuse to carry out forced labour will be punished with poverty, hunger and destitution as benefits are sanctioned. But major charities, such as Oxfam, Shelter and Marie Curie, have very publicly distanced themselves from forced work. A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that the provider guidance for the scheme is not yet ready, suggesting its April start date is somewhat optimistic.

The Salvation Army have long been one of the most vocal supporters of forced work and one of the few organisations that had no scruples about even forcing claimants on sickness and disability benefits to work for free. In a victory for anti-workfare campaigners, it seems that The Salvation Army have decided that a workfare scheme equivalent to twice the maximum community service sentence is too much even for them to stomach. In a statement on their website the organisation says:

“We feel that a 26-week work experience placement is too long and would not be beneficial.  If someone has not found employment within two years, the lack of work experience is clearly not their only barrier to employment.  Our concern is that the underlying issues need to be dealt with holistically and work experience is a part of the support needed. As such, we will not be taking part in the Community Work Placement programme.”

The Salvation Army are far from off the hook. They are still deeply involved in several other workfare schemes and their statement suggests they still believe that unemployment is caused by the flaws of unemployed people. But it does place huge pressure on charities such as the YMCA, Groundwork UK and The Conservation Volunteers who are all expected to be involved in running Community Work Placements.

Several other volunteer organisation have also lined up to condemn the new workfare scheme, including Volunteer Centre Liverpool who have rightly stated that “these placements are not volunteering”. Welfare-to-work companies hoping to pick up yet more taxpayers’ cash by managing the new placements have even resorted to openly offering bribes to charities in the hope they will throw away their principles and join the workfare gravy train.

Boycott Workfare have called a week of action against Community Work Placements beginning on March 29th.  With protests and action already being planned throughout the UK, we can stop this plan for mass workfare in its tracks.  Join us by organising a protest, picket and action in your town or city and help spread the word about all events taking place. See the latest details here.

Actions will also take place online throughout the week so be ready to tell the workfare exploiters what you think.

If you are organising an event, or know of a local workfare exploiter then please contact Boycott Workfare at: info[at]

In the meantime why not contact YMCA and ask them whether they will follow The Salvation Army’s lead and reject this forced work scheme”? Or suggest to the Salvation Army that they stop pushing people into destitution through sanctions altogether.


Comments (13)

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Leeds city council is currently using people on mandatory work activity with parks and countryside, at potternewton park.

Michael Weipert

Excellent to see that the Salvation Army have seen sense.

Well done to all and please continue with this important and vital campaigning.



Eowyn Rohan

"If someone has not found employment within two years, the lack of work experience is clearly not their only barrier to employment. "

I sympathise with the plebutente from the Salvation Army who deludes themselves with the belief that the individual has barriers to securing employment.

jj joop

This is good news. Boycott Workfare: please keep up the good work!

Bill Rollinson

The governments plans for workfare stem further than those proposed at present. The TTIP is a deal to SELL OFF all our public service rights and is due to be signed in June. We need as much opposition to this as possible, this will see Corporations in total control with powers to sue government, if they change rules that will affect their profits? i.e. raise minimum wage or introduce a Living wage.

h murray

So glad to hear the salvation army have opted out of workfare. shameful they though they could get away with it. So pissed off hearing tescos workfare is continuing. I need to stop shopping there and with any other company on the list!!
Watching for events near me....somerset. think the fly posters are a good way of shaming these people. ...


Only out of the latest scheme sadly... there's still a way to go!

Landless Peasant

Politically inspired artwork:

Birmingham Trades Council » Leaflet to help shut down new workfare scheme

[…] Workfare (29th March – 6th April) actions will take place across the UK to stop workfare and the new 6 month workfare scheme being introduced called ‘Community Work Placements’. Actions are already planned in Brighton, Glasgow, […]

mark hodkiss

Just seen a job with almost 900 applicants, so there are still problems finding work.
I can't see companies wanting new staff, except the bans that want new product managers after the budget.
The obstacle to work is greedy management and the reliance on the City not the fault of the unemployed, we didn't walk out of jobs, we were sacked for the good of the 1%

jj joop

Signed on today and asked about CPWs. I was told it is supposed to start in April but they (JCP) have had no official notification yet. They’ve only be told it will be three tier: 6 month workfare, daily signings or intensive help for people with literacy/numeracy problems.

Barney T

Was assigned to 13-week (30 hours/wk) Work Placement at local used furniture charity in 2009. Volunteered at former placement for following 12 months after several mentions in final 2 weeks re:Warehouse Supervisor vacancy (i.e.=carrot). Eventually came to conclusion that company`s attitude was 'why buy the cow when getting milk for free?'. Have since been assigned to 3 more Work Placements ranging from 4-8 weeks duration (latest Sept/Oct 2013). Gained nothing from them except noting them on CV - still unemployed.

Birmingham Trades Council » Join the physical or online blockade of the Salvation Army!

[…] the Salvation Army are steering clear of the government’s latest workfare programme, the 6 month long Community Work Placements, they are still major users of workfare, taking part in […]