Kicking off the Week of Action vs. Workfare and Sanctions, there are actions today in Bexley, Haringey and Leeds. Please show your support on Twitter and Facebook (details below)…
Saturday 25th April 12 noon Meet up outside Greenwich & Bexley Hospice Community Shop, Bellegrove Boutique, 12-15 Bellegrove Parade, Welling, Kent, DA16 2RE
We’re taking action to expose GBC hospice’s persistent use of workfare and the very poor working conditions that people on forced placements with GBC experience.
If you shop in one of GBC Hospice sixteen charity shops, you won’t be served by someone on workfare. That’s because they keep Community Work Placement conscripts hidden away from the public. As one person told Boycott Workfare:
“None of us are allowed to serve the public, we’re probably not seen as good enough for that. In fact we’re kept well away from the public, hidden at the back in their warehouse area sorting out the crap for them to sell there, or to send to other hospices.”
Being involved in workfare means being responsible for sanctions – benefit stoppages which leave people with nothing to live on. For some people, a GBC Hospice placement means a four mile walk, or the threat of sanctions:
“Was told that if I didn’t make it to my placement on time I would be sanctioned, so I was forced to walk the two miles to my placement and two miles home at the end of the day. I am young and healthy but I struggled to walk that fa. Another guy in his 60s was also forced to walk to his placement that day. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a heart attack or serious health issues as a result. I just don’t understand how they can justify treating people like this.”
The voluntary sector should defend the values that underpin volunteering and not take part in coerced, mandatory unpaid work placements. That’s why 540 voluntary organisations have signed a pledge not to participate in workfare. Let’s keep up the pressure and make sure GBC Hospice knows that we won’t be shopping in the charity shops of workfare exploiters. As more and more charities pull out, workfare will crumble and many fewer people will face the hunger and hardship of benefit sanctions.
On Saturday 25th April, let Greenwich and Bexley Hospice know that there is no room for forced unpaid work in the voluntary sector.
Can’t make the demo? Send them a message on Facebook or Twitter:
Live in the South East of England? Why not pay your local shop a visit?
There are actions planned across the UK every day this week and there’ll be daily online action call outs from Monday so keep checking back!