Easy, quick and simple: a one person action on the high street

This is the banner one person has put together for the week of action. What are you planning?

This is the banner one person has put together for the week of action. What are you planning?

As the week of action on 18-24 March approaches, people across the UK are planning to step up the pressure on workfare exploiters in their towns. From workfare ‘sleuthing’, to workfare walks of shame to pickets and sit-ins, the possibilities are endless. Lots of people have posted to find others in their town on the Facebook event wall, but if there’s just one of you, you can still have fun and make an impact on your high street! Here, one person describes how they did just that…

“After the excellent court result of Public Interest Lawyers on Tuesday the 12th of February for Cait Reilly and Jamieson Wilson (and let’s face it, for all of us), I was elated. I looked at this result and thought “How can I use this?”

By Thursday the 14th I had the answer. Serve them a notice!

This is the simplest one person action I can think of, no organising a mob to back you up, no great big banners to unfurl. Just a quick in and out!

All I did was knock up the leaflet on my laptop and print off the leaflet in a library. Here it is, please feel free to adapt it.

All you have to do then is walk in like you own the place. Ask for the manager, and then speak to them in a polite yet firm manner. Explain to them that they may be breaking the law, and then hand them your leaflet, I also gave them Boycott Workfare’s “Workfare and your job” leaflet saying “You’ve been served”. Then I asked them to contact Boycott Workfare with what they think and feel about workfare, a quick about turn, and you’re off to the next target.

My first target was a Greggs. I walked in and patiently waited for the punters to buy their horse and kidney pies and other such ‘food’, until I got to the counter where the manager was working. “Good afternoon, I’m Pierre Lapin from the Jobseeker’s Alliance. I am sure that you are aware of the court ruling on Tuesday concerning unemployed people being forced to work for their benefits, which found the schemes to be illegal. You’ve been served!”. The look on the manager’s face was mild shock, as I handed her my ‘serving notice’. I then smartly turned and left, giving no chance for discussion.

I then repeated the same on a further 10 places. Only two managers of Workfare exploiters (the other Greggs and Topshop) refused to take the leaflets. The person from Greggs “Couldn’t take it on company time” so I politely explained to her that this is company business, and that if she didn’t want more visits from activists then maybe she ought to get in touch with Head Office and explain to them. The manager of Topshop said that she wouldn’t be doing Workfare, in her own words “I have enough trouble getting the staff I do employ with wages to work”!

A copy of the leaflet can be downloaded here. Feel free to use the gist of it and do your own action. Easy, quick and simple and perhaps enough to make them think twice about staying involved. Give it a go on your high street!”

Let us know what you plan for the workfare week of action!


Comments (20)

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What you are doing is intimidating and harassing people and their business. What else would you call an action where you go to a shop and “politely” inform them, either accept this or Boycott Workfare will come over and disturb you? I do hope the some companies will setup guidelines and the next time you or any other “organisation” crosses their doors you will be arrested for disturbing the peace and campaigning without consent!
It makes me wonder what have you or Boycott Workfare done to help the unemployed get a job? NOTHING!

Double Karma

"arrested for disturbing the peace and campaigning without consent!'"<< What total bullshit


I put it to dazz10 that Boycott Workfare helps people get jobs by actually ensuring that paid jobs still exist!

Without Boycott Workfare, think how many more real paid positions would have been replaced by state subsidised workfare.

If these companies are truly bothered about being "harassed", they shouldn't enter into a system where innocent people are "harassed" by the government into working for less than minimum wage, under real threat of poverty.


I suggest you read up on law Double Karma, or karma round may come and bite you!
Paul tell me exactly how you managed to increase to amount of paid jobs? Is it by intimidation and spreading untrue facts, or is it by harassing companies and disturbing their work? If a charity relies on unpaid volunteers, how is putting a workfare person there taking away a job? How can you justify the fact that taxes of hard working citizens go towards paying for people to do nothing. I know that not every person on benefit is lazy or not interested in changing their lives, but it seems that the ones that shout the loudest also seem to be the ones that don’t want a change and are happy with the benefit life. Yes I agree there are cases where people should not be on JSA, and should have a lot more support from the government.
I gather that you Paul think that the government should freely open their accounts to anyone that puts their hand out and do nothing about making those who claim actually “earn” their claim. It’s shameful to say but there are too many people who are happy to claim and feel it’s their right to get benefits. It’s not a payment, it’s not wages nor earning it’s called benefit for a reason and it can’t be a situation where people can claim their whole life, if they are perfectly capable to work.
It’s too much government generosity that causes poverty not workfare, and the next time the taxes increase to cover the deficit I’m sure to come to you for “benefits”.


Dazzio, I think it is shameful to expect people to work for less than a living wage. Then to FORCE them to work for less than minimum wage is beyond shameful.

I guess Dazzio thinks that we should perhaps bring back slavery where everyone is nothing but a commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder.

Dazzio, these campaigns and protests will continue. We are growing in number. Go back to your 'paymasters' and tell them they will fail.


Each and every case of unemployment, Be it Disabillity or JSA is Uniquie and should be treat as thus...!! Dazz10, Do you work for The Beast..? You seam to know an awful lot about how "Many people who are happy to claim"....!! When was the last time you surrvived on £78 p,w..? Do you think you can stay healthy on this..? Fit for the mamouth task of finding properly paid work..? Add insult to injury and make them work for their right to surrvive...? Most British Peoples familys have paid into the system for generations and now can't afford to put on the heating and are DYING, Where's the compassion....???? I'm off to Vomit...!!


To answer your queries, Dazz:

I never said BW increase jobs. But it has been well documented that paid positions have declined as a result of these schemes giving companies a flow of free workers instead.

The campaign stops this happening, and stops/reverses the decline of these paid positions.

If a charity relies on unpaid volunteers, they will still get those volunteers. People are still free to volunteer where they like. BW is only against forcing people to "volunteer". It's not volunteering if it's forced - and besides, wouldn't you rather have a worker who wants to be there, rather than somebody whose heart isn't in it?

I'm not sure how you "gathered" that last bit, as I never said that. But you should really educate yourself on this matter further, as you seem to only hold the opinions that the government want you to hold; rather than having actually researched employment/unemployment figures, programme success rates, government spending, etc.

The people at BW have researched these things, and know what they're talking about - and are able to see why problems exist in a scheme that you are being tricked into believing is helpful.

On your point about the law, please link any relevant documents regarding "consent to campaign" and the laws surrounding this, along with information on applicable sanctions.

Dan Factor

"I walked in and patiently waited for the punters to buy their horse and kidney pies and other such ‘food’"

Hold on I'm a support of the campaign against workfare but this line smacks of snobbery.
What these companies serve as food or sell as products or what people buy from them is irrelevant. Even if they sold healthy food it would be wrong for them to exploit unemployed people and get free labour.
Let's not go down the road of sneering at the people who buy from these shops. Keep focus on the exploitation.


Paul. I do to some extent and in some cases agree with you and the actions of BW, especially in relation to the disabled people that are on benefits. But I’d rather see an abled person do “something” for their benefit than see them going in and out of JCP with a smile and claiming more and more just because they can.

Yes there are extremes in both cases, people who cheat and people who deserve a lot more but get none, and these are the thing and examples BW should be fighting against.

Paul I have been on both sides of the “fence” and have built my own view on certain subjects. I can certainly assure you I don’t need the government or any other organisation to tell me what is right or wrong and what to think. In terms of research; I know what the figures are, the statistics, the numbers, the programmes etc. Thought I’d let you know before you make any assumptions about my knowledge or experience on the above subjects.

I will freely say that BW have not completely done their research, as reading your entries there are many mistakes in what you claim to know about MWA, Workfare etc. And if I have the time I will gladly point them out to you.

On the law:
Under section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 it is an offence for a person to trespass on land (including buildings) and to intimidate people there into not doing something that they are legally entitled to, or to obstruct or disrupt such activity.

If you enter or stay on land (including buildings) without the owner’s permission you commit trespass. Permission may be implied, (e.g. there is implied permission to go into shops during their opening hours), and/or conditional, (e.g. you may go into a shop for the purpose of shopping but not to protest). Unless it is granted under a contract (and even where it is if the contract provides for this), your permission to be on land or in a building may be withdrawn at any point and once it is you
become a trespasser.


Well, Dazz, your last reply seems reasoned and well thought out.

Would I be correct in assuming you work/have worked for one of these charities?

The top and bottom of BW is - nobody should be made homeless/hungry, or forced into any similar disadvantaged situation.

While we acknowledge the charities/corporations themselves aren't making the rules regarding sanctions; they are actively, and knowingly, making use of unpaid surplus labour (a problem not caused by us, the people) at the tax payer's expense - under threat of sanction to the individual. This is where the fight lies.

Those who 'live on benefits' by choice are certainly few and far between - and personally, I wouldn't even begrudge them their benefit money. Nobody should be forced to do something for (next to) nothing. If the jobs are there to be done, the individual should be getting paid at least minimum wage for doing them. In the case of charities; simply make it optional. People have a right to choose.

Also, there's a problem with the blanket approach here. Somebody who has worked for years might lose their job, be unable to find a new one, and be subject to the same "work for your benefit" attitude - when, surely, he already has?

Regarding your corrections to any incorrect information on MWA etc, I hope you find the time to submit this information to this site. I know many here will be interested to learn of anything they've gotten wrong.

Re: Law; people still have a right to protest. I won't get into arguing this point as I'm not a lawyer. But if you were specifically talking about this article's example of popping into a shop pretending to serve a notice; I see only a point being made, and comically done. Nobody is being harassed or intimidated there - and people would obviously leave the premises if told to do so.

If you mean the campaign as a whole, "lobbying" online, and peaceful protest outside shops, is not a crime as far as I know (?)

You also seemed to suggest the need for some form of consent/permit to campaign/protest. I'm unsure what you meant by this, and don't believe it's an actual thing that exists (?)


Just on the law around protesting, the only place you need permission/consent is the area around parliament that was covered by the SOCPA laws (which were replaced recently but I can't remember the name of the new laws - I'm not in London so it's not relevant knowledge for me). iirc this is a 1 mile radius from the houses of parliament.

[if you want to march and may need road closures you have a duty to agree with the council that the roads will be closed, otherwise you open yourself to obstruction of the public highway charges]

S68 CJA 1994 is aggravated trespass, and it was originally brought in to cover hunt saboteurs, and contained the words "in the open air" to stop it being used against other protests.
Trespass itself is a civil, not criminal, offence.
In 2010 (iirc), the wording of the law got changed so that they could convict Danny Chivers in relation to a climate camp action.

The words "in the open air" were added into the original law during the parliamentary process because of concerns that such a law could be used inappropriately. Of course over time it has been, even to the extent that they changed the law to convict someone.
This kidn of creep is pretty standard, like the s12/14 Public Order Act 1986 laws which were brought in to cover the marching season in Northern Ireland that regularly became riots. Now it's used to convict cyclists riding past the olympic stadium.


Dazz10: - leaving your comments re: trespass (which is a civil, not criminal matter, anyway) aside for moment, you seem to have completely missed the point about both JSA and working for benefits. First of all, how are you supposed to 'work' for your benefit? People claim benefits like JSA because they cannot get work. Bearing in mind the tiny amount of subsistence which they provide, if the people who are claiming could find work, then they would simply work and not claim. This is such an obvious point I am amazed I have to make it. In a society, such as the UK, which prides itself on being a democratic and (fairly) civilised one, the provision of welfare benefits to those who are unable to support themselves by the normal means (ie through work) is seen as a universal and justifiable right and has been for many years. The idea of 'working' in order to qualify for this right is an absurd and illogical assertion which is brought about as much through ignorance of the working benefits system as anything else. eg JSA is in fact 2 separate benefits taking 2 separate forms - Income Based (IB) and Contribution Based (CB). The latter is calculated on basis of jobseeker's previous National Insurance contribution record -ie they need to have worked previously in order to qualify for it. It is a complete fallacy, therefore, to brand all JSA recipients as work shy leeches - for half of them will need to have worked in order to get it. To force them to work for no pay, which is what all the workfare programmes require, is asking them to work a second time to get the benefit which they are already entitled to. A similar fallacy exists in relation to various other welfare benefits. Part of the insanity of the whole welfare to work programme is that almost half of the people on it have worked previously. Equally, the very notion of 'work' implies an economic exchange - workers are 'paid' for the work they do. This is what happens in a normal job. To describe the policy of forcing the unemployed to do something for which they are not paid as 'working for benefits' is, clearly, an equally illogical fallacy. This is an important aspect of the JSA system which needs to be grasped - the JSA which a jobseeker receives is the amount of money the law says they need to be able to survive. It is NOT designed to be a 'salary' for work done on a workfare programme. All participants in workfare programmes are, therefore, literally being forced into working for nothing - which is illegal - hence the recent Court of Appeal ruling.


Dazz10 -mouthfoamer. I don't normally employ name calling but whats the point of logical debate with you? Funny how 'people power' is encouraged when businesses can use it to their advantage but not when it doesn't. Well it cuts both ways.


I support Boycott Workfare, Despite the fact I support work experience for Jobseekers.

The work programme is wrong. Jobseekers are been given absolutely NO choice in what unpaid work they do. Unlike labours new deal there is no option if training or help setting up a business. There is no extra allowance, under New deal each Jobseeker got £15 extra a week for being on the scheme.
Last month we heard of Kate Riley who was a geology graduate already doing unpaid work in a museum. She was forced to give that up and work in the pound shop. It seems the government is more interested in helping big business by giving them free labour. Having an academic background would it not have been more appropriate to offer her experience for example as a teaching assistant helping children's education? But of course this government has no common sense like that.
Now every job seeker is forced to work in these pound shops etc its all relative, all potential employers will think is that they were forced to work in poundshop. Kate showed initiative by choosing to work in a museum, for that she shone above other Jobseekers but instead the government couldn't care less!

If your going to force people into unpaid work give them a choice at least!

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Talking of law -
"When law becomes injustice
Rebellion becomes duty"
This gem has been knocking about for 200 years and is still valid today.
So much for social evolution.


all i have to say on this-daz10 you suuuuuck!!

shirley frost

Regarding Gregg's pies and pasties. I thought the pasties were a bit thin on content. I made enquiries with my trading standards as to what legally constitutes a 'chicken pasty'. The answer is that it must only contain 20% chicken to qualify. There should be list on the wall in each shop listing ingredients of all their products. Just saying.


There's something wrong with you Dazz10.
If you need to redefine illegality to make something legal then there's something really rotten about how you design strategy.
People work, people get paid. That should be an inflexible principle.
With 5 times fewer job vacancies than jobseekers, it's absolutely ridiculous from a mathematical standpoint, why anybody would invest any more money than necessary trying to get people into work.
That doesn't even start on the fact that these work experience schemes aren't even offering jobseekers access to skilled, impenetrable sectors.
You're basically saying, "if you don't spend four weeks of full-time training moving this item from A to B, you won't learn the skill."
It's outrageous, and you sir, need to lose your job, assuming you have one, and then go back to it, same responsibilities and hours, for just an unemployment benefit.
Because if you allow this abhorrent exploitation to continue, that's what you get.

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