Day 1: Take Online Action Against The Workfare Conference

On Monday 2nd December the welfare-to-work industry will be splashing out yet more tax payers’ money on their annual workfare conference in a plush Central London venue.

Workfare exploiters like the Shaw Trust and the Salvation Army will be gathering to discuss how to further profit from the huge increase in unpaid work. From April next year hundreds of thousands of unemployed people will be forced to work for free for six months or face losing benefits completely. The cost of this scheme is estimated to be £300 million. Most of this cash will end up lining the pockets of the welfare-to-work sector – companies like A4E, G4S, Ingeus and Serco who specialise in forcing people to work without pay.

Many of these companies will be present at Monday’s conference where tickets cost up to a whopping £534 in some cases. Claimants are clearly not welcome at the conference unlike Employment Minister Esther McVey and Matthew Sinclair from hard right think tank the Tax Payer’s Alliance who will both be giving speeches at the event. The Tax Payer’s Alliance recently released a report calling for permanent workfare for those out of work even if this is due to sickness or disability.

The conference is being organised by ERSA, the trade body established to represent the welfare-to-work racket along with the Centre for Social Inclusion (CESI).

Boycott Workfare will be holding a noise demo outside the conference from 12.30pm as part of the Week of Action Against Workfare and Sanctions . A day of online protest has been called targeting the sponsors of the event who hope to gain some positive publicity from being associated with this workfare love-in. Contact them on social media and let’s make sure that doesn’t work out quite in the way they hoped as they are named and shamed for their support of forced work.

Delegates at Monday’s conference will be tweeting using the hashtag #ERSA2013 so add this to all tweets. Don’t forget to tweet conference organisers ERSA and CESI themselves.

Sponsors of the conference include:

Learn Direct, who are on facebook at:

Work Programme providers the Shaw Trust are at:

Training charity Catch 22 who recently advised the Department for Education that the new unpaid Traineeships Work placements should be shown “to provide a commercial advantage to employers” can be found at:

Spirit Resourcing are sponsoring the delegate packs:

pauline-pensWelfare-to-work recruitment agency R3 Welfare & Skills will be sponsoring the pens at the conference.

Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions.


Comments (4)

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Bernard Rentajag

When will these bottomfeeders from TPA realise that people don't stop paying tax when they become unemployed?

It's a them-and-us mentality based on a non-existent divide.

Hannah Peterson

I'm from the United States, what can we do from across the ocean to help?


Cheers for the solidarity from the US! There's lots to fight on the workfare front there too. Here's a list of the companies using workfare in the UK in case you fancy planning a solidarity action: Let us know if you do!

Video from today's action here: :)


The "Boycott Workfare" banner has just given me an idea for a headband. The public has a right to know that the person making their sandwich or whatever is on a forced employment scheme.