Just over three months into 2015 and your campaigning against workfare continues to pay off.
Win: In January, the charity Wandsworth Oasis publicly stated that they have now pulled out of workfare. Then in March, following your campaigning, charity Starter Packs Glasgow announced that they too had pulled out of workfare. It would also appear that the charity Changing Lives may have quietly used workfare and then quietly pulled out. Maybe they know this is a campaign that can…
Win. The charity Papworth Trust have taken the step of emailing Boycott Workfare to say…
“…that as of 31 March 2015 Papworth Trust will no longer be delivering Mandatory Work Activity as we have not renewed our contract with the Department for Work and Pensions.”
Although they remain a subcontractor for the work programme, they now say they won’t mandate people to work experience on the scheme. For a charity of this size to decide not to renew a workfare contract is another massive blow to the DWP, and another success for this campaign. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised given workfare’s culture of bullying, sanctions and fraud is finally becoming common knowledge.
However, your campaigning successes do not stop there.
Win! Elsewhere this week, the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign was featured as the Guardian Voluntary Sector Network’s charity campaign of the month, and is now supported by over 540 voluntary organisations. That’s a massive number of organisations saying no to workfare. The issues of sanctions and workfare are now clearly of huge concern to the voluntary sector and are not going to go away.
The public inquiry into sanctions brought to light even more evidence of the harm benefit sanctions cause. In March, Unite Community organised an impressive day of action where over 80 actions took place to say #no2sanctions. We hope many of these groups will mobilise, support, and take part in the upcoming week of action against workfare as well – to do so ensures even more people will win. Boycott Workfare has published a new leaflet to help people who have been sanctioned – why not order some now to give out during the week?
In February, groups across the UK mobilised in support of Tony Cox, who was arrested while accompanying someone at the Jobcentre. Our actions meant many more people learnt about their right to be accompanied. Such accompaniment is crucial in helping people understand the UK’s complex social security system, navigate sanctions and resist workfare.
Sanctions and Workfare are ways of making us all poorer. They are not going to disappear thanks to an out of touch Westminster, which is more concerned about the kitchen sizes of the few, whilst foodbank usage is at an all time high for the many. Workfare is going to go away because we, you and thousands of other people are actively campaigning, demonstrating, sharing tactics, making the arguments, raising awareness – and winning. This is the real world. So take action on 25th April-2nd May to keep up the pressure on sanctions and workfare. And sign up now for the post-election Welfare Action Gathering event on 30th May too.