Get your organisation to Boycott Workfare


Can you get your organisation to sign the Boycott Workfare pledge?

We the undersigned commit to refusing to participate in compulsory work-for-benefits placements. We want volunteering to remain just that!

Email to add your organisation to the list of signatories.

Are you a union member? Approach your employer to sign the pledge with support from your trade union branch! Please download the template motion to bring to your trade union branch and a leaflet to bring to meetings and events.


More than 650 charities and voluntary sector organisations have signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement:

As charities and voluntary organisations we know the value of volunteering. Volunteering means people independently choosing to give their time freely to help others and make the world a better place. Workfare schemes force unemployed people to carry out unpaid work or face benefit sanctions that can cause hardship and destitution. We believe in keeping volunteering voluntary and will not participate in government workfare schemes.

If you support charity or are involved in one, please encourage them to sign up. Or if you know of a charity that takes part in workfare, use this template letter/email to challenge them about their involvement


And over 20 councils have pledged to avoid workfare too. It’s important that other sectors also firmly turn their back on workfare.

Why organisations should sign:

  • There is huge public opposition to workfare schemes, with thousands boycotting those involved. Signing the pledge will reassure people that your organisation is not taking part.
  • Workfare schemes are backed by a punitive regime of benefit stoppages, known as sanctions, which have driven the need for foodbanks in the UK and put people at risk of destitution for up to three years. (Delays and changes in benefits, including sanctions, accounted for 42% of all referrals to foodbanks in 2015-16.)
  • Replacing motivated and decently paid workers with people facing destitution from often arbitrary sanctions will not be of benefit to your organisation or the claimant.
  • Evidence shows workfare does not help people find work. And a report commissioned by the DWP themselves back in 2008 concluded that ‘there is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work’ (p. 1)
  • Signing the pledge will make it clear in advance that your project won’t participate in or police any of these schemes.

Support people who are on workfare

Workfare can be demoralising, infuriating, and dangerous. If you know people who are being sent on workfare, tell them about us. Look up local groups who might be able to help. Visit websites which offer practical advice about your rights at the job centre, at the assessment centre and on workfare.

Share your experiences of workfare

Sharing people’s experiences of workfare really helps to show why workfare is so wrong.

If you or someone you know are currently doing workfare then email us your stories in confidence: tell us how your provider operates, what the placement is like.

If you are someone who used to be employed at a workfare provider, we would be more than happy to hear your stories.

We will always make sure to protect your anonymity and won’t publish anything without your permission.

Spread information about workfare

Find out what is going on in your area. Speak to people and submit a Freedom of Information request. Tips and advice here.

Workfare isn’t over. If you are on workfare scheme or know someone who has been sent on one then let us know. The more we know, the more we can do to challenge the idea that unemployed people should be forced to work for no wages for the benefit of businesses. Help us expose the companies and organisations that really are getting something for nothing.