Big thanks to all who took part: Week of action gets results!

crowd with boycott workfare banner

Three workfare providers – Urban Futures, LearnDirect and Avanta – faced occupations and blockades

So, what did last week show us? When you take action, you get results.

Scope, Barnardos and British Heart Foundation have cancelled their involvement with CWP 6-month workfare. Traid pulled out too when an action was called outside its store in Wood Green. That’s four national charities who were forced to respond following pressure from you.

With over 17 actions in the UK and beyond, and hundreds of people taking action online, we stepped up pressure on workfare which is unpopular and vulnerable.

In Edinburgh, compulsory courses at workfare provider Learndirect were cancelled when 60 people blockaded its office. In London, provider Urban Futures faced an occupation at the same time, exposing managers’ nasty attitudes towards claimants. In Brighton, people invaded provider Avanta and handed out leaflets.

Job centres were rebranded "sanctions" centres

Job centres were rebranded “sanctions” centres

Actions took place at job centres, which were rebranded “sanctions centres” instead. This report from the demo in Peckham shows why: “They appear to be sanctioning people at the rate of between 30 and 45 people per day. Some people have received sanctions of 10 months for a ‘first offence’! They seem to be ignoring the official guidelines about sanctions periods entirely and making up as they go along. We also heard about a 6 month pregnant woman with child who was sanctioned for two months for being one minute late.”

The Trades Union Congress was bombarded with tweets and emails, while claimants from Kilburn demonstrated, asking the TUC how it can march for a “pay rise” while actively supporting “no-pay” Traineeships for young people and sanctions.

outside the tuc

“Welfare woman” and others challenged the TUC’s support for sanctions and workfare

With the government set on extending workfare and sanctions to the working poor next, the huge level of support in the week of action shows that the public are with us. In Sheffield “shoppers were, without exception, sympathetic” to the picket outside workfare exploiter Savers. “Some people had experienced workfare schemes themselves and were pleased that we were making the issue a public one.” People know that workfare means increased poverty via sanctions, and replaces paid work.

In the Netherlands, the anti-workfare campaign Doorbraak also took part in the week of action, pushing the mayor of Amsterdam to pledge to end to workfare next year. Austrian unemployed group “Aktion Arbeitslose” helped build support as well.

By holding those who profit from workfare to account and having a massive impact – at a time when permanent austerity and social injustice are the policy order of the day – your actions bring hope. We show each other that we are not alone. People’s actions in New York have brought workfare to an end in the city where it began. Whilst claimants have been abandoned by the Coalition Government, Labour and sadly even the TUC – they have not been abandoned by you. So let’s keep the pressure up!

A massive thank you to everyone who took part in any way in the week of action. If your action isn’t mentioned here, but you’d like it to be, please email 


Comments (8)

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Landless Peasant

Cardinal Nichols is in no hurry to reply. Probably too busy counting his pieces of silver. Hypocrite.

Michelle Rogers

It's disgusting purposely cutting people's money off , with no thoughts or care for the fact they might have families to feed, never mind doing it illegally, it's also disgraceful making people work full time hours for benefits, I agree one or two days a week in a charity shop or some other charity to give them work experience but not slogging their guts out for little or no money which in turns prevents them looking for paid full or part time work, the government needs to think about training for good jobs so this austerity that only affects poor or working class can be stopped and higher taxes for the millionaires, plus stopping MPs taking advantage of claiming their expenses for things like 2nd homes when they penalize someone for having an extra bedroom, this country is the worst I have ever known

Landless Peasant

Oh, and another small thing I might add......


Landless Peasant

Youth exploitation begins in Bradford:


I never signed on Jobseekers because of Workfare, while I am disabled and chronic sick but declared fit to work by DWP and Atos.

Early retirement is more today due to losing jobs under austerity job cuts, and the works pension can be, on average, for poorest workers, anything from merely £2000 to £5000 a year only.

If any benefit had been gained both the benefit and the small work pension would have incurred tax, despite being thousands of pounds below the basic tax allowance.

Someone at 60 and disabled / sick can be benefit sanctioned yet expected to go hungry to work under Workfare, where the firm cannot even give a free lunch as that is payment and could incur requirement to pay National Insurance contributions by the firm.

The Greens appear to be the sole party with new manifesto pledges for 2015 that offer food money and the end of the cruel benefits regime today.

See hopes for the future on my personal website:


I am being forced to take part in this ridiculous scheme. They expect me to travel over 5 hours a day to a placement i will be doing over 60 hours a week for what is supposed to be 30 hours i have a young son and this will mean i will never see him. I have found the guidelines the government has set up and the provider seem to constantly break the rules and say the job centre make all decisions while the job centre say they make no decisions. Overall nothing but a big waste of money especially considering i have worked most of my life and had two jobs within the last two years. They didn't last long but i work.

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Mark Kevlin

Im from Liverpool and stupidly I went and signed the document agreeing to workfare, upon further thought I changed my mind, I have since been sanctioned and refused a hardship payment for failing to attend the about you interview with a4e, having informed them that I changed my mind a second interview letter arrived the other week, I ignored it thinking that as I was already on sanction this must be some mistake, I find out today I have another sanction this time for 3 months, looks like ill have to go to the next interview, nothing but slave labour and we have to lap it up :/