Take action online against the workfare industry conference as part of the Week of Action vs Workfare and Sanctions!
Today, Monday 27 April, the welfare-to-work industry is holding its AGM. The ERSA – the organisation that does spin and lobbying for workfare exploiters – is meeting to discuss the year in workfare and new ways of making the sector respectable.
We don’t know the location yet. Since our noise demo massively disrupted their conference at the end of 2013, they’ve been cagier about where they meet.
For the first online action for the week of action against workfare, we want to target the ERSA and spotlight the violence they do to claimants through workfare, ‘training’, and sanctions. Their work relies on coercion, threats, and the imposition of poverty. So at the AGM we’ll find the Employment Related Services Association talking over new ways of presenting the same lies about workfare.
Their past conferences have been attended by people like Esther McVey (Minister of State for Employment); the head researcher of Iain Duncan Smith’s thinktank Centre for Social Justice; the heads of workfare companies like Avanta, Seetec, G4S and Pinnacle People; the heads of massive charity workfare users like Groundwork and the Salvation Army; and the boss of the company that forced unemployed people to get changed under a bridge for the Queen’s Jubilee.
Their blog hosts advertorials for the Salvation Army’s part in the Work Programme.
Contracts to these companies and others that ERSA represents are worth billions of pounds. Fees for delivery of one part of one workfare scheme, for two years, in England, Scotland, and Wales, are over £250 million. And all this is money wasted: the schemes don’t do what we’re told they’re supposed to do, they just cause poverty, homelessness, anxiety, and death.
The ERSA’s tagline is ‘giving a voice to the employment support sector’. But the industry doesn’t need a voice – it certainly has no interest in hearing from the people its members’ jobs exploit. Why should they be able to sit and calmly discuss ‘employment support’, as if they were unemployed people’s benevolent helpers?
Let’s drown them out. Tweet to @ersa_news