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Rolling online picket of YMCA England

YMCA: still backing workfare despite all the evidence (Photo: Joelsp/Flickr)

YMCA: still backing workfare despite all the evidence (Photo: Joelsp/Flickr)

YMCA England have come out fighting in the name of workfare with a new statement defending their use of forced unpaid workers on the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme. This follows their slur aimed at anti-workfare campaigners in which they claimed that just a handful of people are opposed to workfare.

Whilst most ethical charities have pulled out or tried to distance themselves from workfare, the YMCA, along with the Salvation Army have happily adopted roles as Iain Duncan Smith’s cheerleaders for unpaid work.

This is despite the YMCA’s own president, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, saying last year:

“By all means, pay companies incentives to employ young people, but do not take advantage of the vulnerable by using them as free labour.”

The YMCA are justifying their use of forced unpaid workers by claiming that some workfare participants have had a good experience with the charity and they have heard of ‘several’ cases where someone even got a job after attending the scheme.

What they are choosing to ignore is the brutal reality for those sanctioned. Those who refuse forced labour at the YMCA are plunged into immediate poverty with benefits stopped, sometimes for up to three years. Whilst they continue their involvement in this scheme, YMCA England are directly culpable for the poverty, desperation and homelessness of those who refuse to, or are unable to serve as free workers in YMCA charity shops. It is often those who face the greatest difficulties, people who may have a mental health condition, or face other difficulties such as homelessness or substance misuse problems, who find themselves sanctioned for being unable to attend workfare – the very people the YMCA would claim to support.

The evidence shows that the Mandatory Work Activity scheme does not improve people’s chances of finding work. Despite the YMCA’s claims that the scheme is supposed to be beneficial, the Social Security Advisory Committee who scrutinise welfare reform noted (PDF):

“We wonder why, given that the Department views mandatory work activity as a beneficial change, people will not be permitted to volunteer to take part. This seems to us to signal that being mandated to mandatory work activity is regarded as a punishment rather than an opportunity to learn and develop new behaviours and skills.”

A rolling online picket against workfare exploiters in the charitable sector called in the run up to the Week of Action Against Workfare has already led to Sue Ryder pulling out when they realised the extent of public anger at forced unpaid work.

It’s time to show YMCA England that it is not just a handful of people who object to forced unpaid labour. Boycott them and let’s send a storm of online protest to show this charity just how many people are disgusted at their use of workfare.

YMCA England are on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/THEYMCA

Contact the Bishop on twitter
or the charity direct

Phone them on 020 7186 9500 or their shops hotline on 0845 601 0728.

Email: shop@ymca.org.uk or enquiries@ymca.org.uk

They have a youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ymcaengland

To find contact details of your nearest YMCA shop visit: http://www.ymca.org.uk/find/ymcashops

Contact YMCA International to tell the world what this organisation is doing in their name to the poorest and already destitute in the UK @ymcaint or on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ymcas

YMCA have a range of fundraising arms including a Fitness Training company on twitter @ymcafit and facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ymcafit

They also run a corporate conference centre called Dunford House 01730 812381 sale@dunfordhouse.org.uk http://www.facebook.com/dunfordhouse

Join the Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th.

Please note: Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls/emails will be low paid retail/admin staff and could even be on workfare themselves. Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls or send communications which are threatening, indecent or offensive.

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Bryan

The ymca should know better.

Once sombody gets a sanction, they can become homeless. isnt the ymca supposed to help homeless people? More like make homeless people. Sickening

joanne

Will there be a protest in hertfordshire ?.

I will pass the news on to family and freinds its awfull, I cant believe YMCA of all charities are using vulnerable people as free labour.

Dood

This is an inherently sick society that rewards hatred and greed, it uses fear to control, i am sick to DEATH of it, i want no part in it, but there is no viable alternative, which leaves me apathetic, depressed and angry, this state is not conducive to productivity, the government is shooting its own foot off if it really thinks these reforms are having any positive effect.
Looking down in contempt at people who are on their a**e for no other reason than being a product of their environment is a SICK mindset.
Try tackling the real cause of the country's never ending and ever surmounting debt, cut the federal reserve and print our own debt free money, tackle the inherent problems that come with fiat money, usury, fractional reserve banking and criminal banking cartels.

Look at it simply, we have a room, in it are three fish, a big fish, an average fish and a little fish......the big fish tells the average sized fish that the little fish is taking up too much room...pah!

So the medium fish EATS the little fish, problem solved!

But now who is the little fish?

Besides, when we were convinced by the corporation to leave our farms and small self sufficent communities before the indudtrial revolution, we were doing so with the understanding that we were working to a better future where machines will do the work for us, the evolution of technology has certainly led to more jobs being done by machines, the free market has led to companies taking their factories abroad, and now the surplus of dejected workers are being punished for it by having their FOOD, SHELTER and WARMTH STOPPED, therefore they have to steal to survive, then get caught and imprisoned in PRIVATE SECTOR prisons, thereby earning more revenue for the government.

Is this Clockwork Orange?

jeremy

to the above commenter. I agree whole heartedly with everything you have said. the problem is, other presidents that have tried to be corruption free have been assasinated. USA rules the world, and if a PM shows signs of being good...... They get assasinated. Abraham lincon with hes green belt debt free money got assasinated. Im afraid we live in a corrupt world with corrupt leaders and things arnt going to change unless the whole population gives up money. Without money we can all get along and help each other. If you havnt already, I strongly suggest you watch Zeitgiest ( the film zeitgeist ) a documantary film, theres a zeitgiest 1 and 2, and now a new zeitgiest 3! You will agree with it all and hopefully if enough people wake up to whats going on, we can then start making a difference..... rather then be caught in an everlasting rat race and new world order ( slavery ) Somthing the ymca are unwittingly part of right now.

BOO ymca !

Mark

Both the organisations mentioned (Salvation Army and YMCA) are based around a religious framework, and therefore do not comply with the DWP guidelines.

Everybody placed with these organisations should write to their employability provider telling them that the placement is unsuitable.

A formal complaint should then be raised with the JCP/DWP.

Steven

Dood, you make some very good points about our debt. Simply put, only nationalist parties will implement those essential reforms of the banking system as the so-called 'mainstream' parties are in the pockets of the bankers. That, of or course, is the principle (though unspoken) reason why said nationalist parties are demonised by the media unlike UKIP which is given a free pass and favourable publicity as they are also beholden to powerful banking interests

Jj

“We wonder why, given that the Department views mandatory work activity as a beneficial change, people will not be permitted to volunteer to take part. This seems to us to signal that being mandated to mandatory work activity is regarded as a punishment rather than an opportunity to learn and develop new behaviours and skills.”

I'm sickened and baffled at how people can throw around concepts like 'mandatory work' and somehow remove it from it's traditional label of 'slavery'.
Made all the worse because this work activity is in the lowest possible echelon of all the work a person could possibly do.
If you want people to improve their lives, send them for free training courses and let them earn a qualification or skill that people want.
You think we're going to forge an enviable economic society by adding 2.5 million more shop workers to it?

You know what YMCA? Go out of business. Someone else will come along as assume your duties of supporting the homeless.

Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England | Hastings Anarchists

[...] via Boycott Workfare [...]

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Steven

Jj, you are right. Any remotely sensible or competent government would allow the unemployed (and particularly those who are long-term unemployed) to retrain or learn new qualifications instead of treating them as 'workshy scroungers' who can't be bothered to find work This country has a dire economy and one of the reasons why we do is that for the last forty or fifty years at least successive governments haven't seen the value in training for new skills/qualifications. Indeed, haven't placed any kind of real value on education and that is one important reason why Germany's economy is so much more resilient and better than ours.

Enright

Who killed democracy? Coming to your job centre very soon...

There’s Nothing Fair About Workfare | Radical University

[...] Particularly egregiously, charities known to be still using workfare are The Salvation Army and the YMCA (charities which purport to help lift people out of poverty!).  Join the rolling pickets here: http://bworkfare.mayfirst.org/?p=2262 [...]

There’s Nothing Fair About Workfare | kickingtoryassonwelfare

[...] Particularly egregiously, charities known to be still using workfare are The Salvation Army and the YMCA (charities which purport to help lift people out of poverty!).  Join the rolling pickets here: http://bworkfare.mayfirst.org/?p=2262 [...]

Dermot

No Christian organisation should ever use free forced labour . . . Never . . .