Mar 042014
 

In April George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme will begin.  Unemployed people will be sentenced to 780 hours community work simply for being unable to find a job. Not even lone parents with young children are to be exempt from the scheme which will see so-called charities like Groundwork UK and the Salvation Army paid by the tax payer to force people to work for free.  Part time workers and those currently genuinely volunteering will also face being sent on unpaid work.

Collective action can halt this forced labour scheme in its tracks.  A week of action against workfare has been called beginning on the 29th March.  An escalation in the campaign against unpaid work is vital and there is no better chance than this.  It only takes a few people to get the ball rolling, and protests against organisations using workfare have proved to be effective.  Boycott Workfare can offer support with publicity, leaflets and advice. Please help spread the word about the week of action and let’s make this the strongest stand against people being forced to work for free that has been seen so far.

From Boycott Workfare:

Tens of organisations have already quit workfare. The government will not reveal which organisations are still using it for fear the schemes will collapse. Its contractors complain that they have lost hundreds of placements due to public pressure.

But they’re trying it again with a new scheme – “Community Work Placements” – launching on 1 April 2014 which will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence. Workfare does not help people find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.

This new workfare scheme is part of a raft of draconian measures, misleadingly called “Help to Work”, which are designed to increase sanctions (benefit stoppages) and undermine wages still further.

For the workfare schemes to happen, they need places to send people, but tens of large charities have already quit. Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. Liverpool CVS has condemned the scheme in the strongest possible terms.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Target the charities:

  • Friendly local charity or Volunteer Service? Invite them to commit not to use forced unpaid work by signing our pledge.
  • Big workfare user like RSPCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos or Cancer Research? Write to them, organise a demo or encourage people you know not to donate until they stop using workfare!
  • Approach workers in the voluntary sector to ask them to pressure their employer not to participate in the scheme. There are often Union branches for voluntary sector workers you could contact.
  • Visit boycottworkfare.org daily during the week to take part in online action!

Target the councils:

  • Find out if we know about workfare in your local council on this spreadsheet.
  • If so, adapt our press release and expose them in your local paper.
  • Contact local Unison, GMB or Unite branches for council workers and encourage them to pass the motion to challenge workfare and to take it up with the council.
  • Find out if any sympathetic local councillors would take a motion to the council for it to boycott workfare. It has been done!

Support each other to get our rights:

  • Order know your rights leaflets to give out at the job centre or around your local community – email info[at]boycottworkfare.org with how many you would like!
  • Thinking about starting a mutual support group? Invite an existing group to help get it going with a workshop or talk.

Want to target the companies involved in workfare as well?
There are currently call outs to target Peacocks, and Grosvenor Casinos. Or there’s our crowd-sourced list of workfare exploiters to whom you may also like to pay a visit.

For more info visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353 and follow @boycottworkfare for the latest news.

Please join and share the facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1548766378680842/

Read about the recent inspiring action by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty against workfare exploiters The Salvation Army.

Reposted with thanks from the Void http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/

 Follow on twitter @johnnyvoid

 

Sep 122013
 

Last week on 4th September disabled people and our supporters took to the streets of Westminster as the finale to the DPAC week of action: Reclaiming Our Futures.

Download and sign up to the UK Disabled People’s manifesto through www.inclusionlondon.co.uk

You can watch Reel News’ film from the day here:

http://

Aug 212013
 

Sunday 1st September, 12.30 – 4.30pm

Venue: 128 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London,  WC1X 8TN

 Key speakers: Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater

Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

 As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement.

This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually.

We want everyone to be included in this -livestream link for the day  http://bambuser.com/channel/Bencavanna

You can also tweet questions/comments to: @Dis_ppl_protest (hastag #dpacrofsm) or email: mail@dpac.uk.net throughout the event.

Bus number 243

Nearest tube Holborn (not wheelchair accessible)

Directions Google maps https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=directions+to+unite+house+128+theobald%27s+road+holborn+london+wc1x+8tn&ie=UTF-8&hl=en

 Please note we are unable to provide any food or drinks- please bring your own if wanted: tea and coffee machine by meeting room

Places are limited so please book to guarantee entry or for access requests:

Ellen.clifford@inclusionlondon.co.uk

 

theory (Small)

Jul 112013
 

One in five people sent on mandatory work activity in charity shops face destructive sanctions (benefit stoppages) of three or six months. Sanctions are a major reason for the soaring rise in the use of foodbanks as hunger is made a daily reality in the UK. The charities still involved in workfare are profiting from making people poorer and giving moral cover to the companies involved as well. Let’s tell them it’s time to pull out!

Last month, a poll of charity workers showed just how unpopular workfare is with the majority of people in charities: 92% thought that the government should publish the list of workfare providers that it is withholding.

Since the start of the year, thanks to your action, five charities have said they will no longer take part in workfare schemes: Sense, PDSA, Capability Scotland, Sue Ryder and the Red Cross. The Children’s Society has also pledged not to use workfare.

This means the workfare schemes which rely on charity placements are on the rocks! Already before the latest withdrawals, the government complained: “The high profile withdrawal of placements from a number of larger charities meant a sharp reduction in placements.”

Let’s help banish workfare from charities: contact these workfare exploiters today.

RSPCA

Fellow animal charity PDSA has already realised that it needed to show a bit more kindness to the human beings working in its shops. Time for RSPCA to do the same and stop using workfare!

Head office: 030 0123 0100
Facebook: RSPCA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/rspcauk
Flickr feed: www.flickr.com/photos/rspca
Twitter: @rspca_official

YMCA

The YMCA released a statement in March defending their use of forced unpaid workers, and ignoring the fact they are responsible for pushing people into destitution and possible homelessness through sanctions which can last up to three years. Persuade them to join the list of charities who will no longer have anything to do with workfare.

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

Email: shop@ymca.org.uk or enquiries@ymca.org.uk
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ymcaengland
Find contacts for your nearest YMCA shop: http://www.ymca.org.uk/find/ymcashops
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/THEYMCA
Tweet their President, Bishop John Sentamu, has spoken out against workfare in the past: @johnsentamu

Twitter: @ymca_england

Salvation Army

The government has praised the Salvation Army for ‘holding the line‘ on workfare. When new figures emerged two weeks ago showing just how disastrous the Work Programme is for claimants, the Salvation Army released a pro-Work Programme report and have publicly claimed that ‘The Work Programme is working‘. They have boasted about the fact they even force sick and disabled people to do their workfare schemes.

Salvation Army UK can be contacted on facebook and on Twitter:  @TSA_IHQ and @salvationarmyuk

They can be telephoned on (020) 7367 4500 or emailed at: info@salvationarmy.org.uk

The Salvation Army’s youth section are on facebook here.

To tell Salvation Army branches round the world what is being done in their name in the UK find twitter details here.

British Heart Foundation

Following occupations and pickets in across the UK British Heart Foundation announced they were “moving away” from workfare. Recently they declared they had withdrawn from the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. But they are openly declaring on their website that they are still participating in the Work Programme – despite the fact that in December this scheme was extended to give providers the power to force many sick and disabled claimants on Employment and Support Allowance to work for nothing, or face sanctions.

BHF state on their site: “Our supporters are welcome to contact us directly if they have any questions about our participation in the scheme. Please email customerservice@bhf.org.uk“.

Don’t disappoint them, get in touch!

BHF Retail HQ – 01372 477 300
Head Office – 020 7554 0000
Customer Service Centre – 0300 330 3322
Facebook: BHF
Contact: http://www.bhf.org.uk/contact-us.aspx
Twitter: @thebhf

Papworth Trust

Papworth Trust told civilsociety.co.uk:
“Papworth Trust believes that by being involved in mandatory work activity, we can make sure that each work placement is as effective as possible for each disabled or disadvantaged person.”

Now tell them what you think of their use of disabled people on workfare!

A list of phone and fax numbers can be found here.
Email: info@papworth.org.uk
Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/papworthtrust
Facebook: Papworth Trust
Twitter: @papworthtrust

And if you’ve got a bit more time, why not get in touch with some of the high street brands profiting from workfare or the green charities exploiting forced labour too? Remember there’s loads of action on the streets this Saturday too!

With thanks and in solidarity with  http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

If you exploit us we’ll shut you down

Jul 012013
 

Edinburgh’s actions during the last week of action shut two workfare exploiters down!

When the Work Programme launched two years ago, the government wanted everyone finishing it to be sent to do six months of forced unpaid work. But all mention of this punitive scheme has now disappeared: a powerful testament to the strength of your actions.

People are pushing back the spread of workfare: One provider has complained that it has 100 fewer placements each week in its area alone. In recent weeks, Argos and Homebase claim to have pulled out of workfare, Wetherspoons has followed them and Debenhams are wobbling. The government has been ordered to reveal the list of workfare exploiters but keeps appealing: it is terrified that the public response will spell the end for workfare.

Now is the time to keep pushing.

On 6-14 July, the week that the poverty profiteers of the workfare industry will be gathering for their annual convention, let’s remind them there’s a lot to be worried about!

  • Call an action in your town or city: A walking tour of shame, surprise visits to your least favourite workfare exploiters, flash mobs, a chain gang… whatever sounds fun to you!
  • Order copies of our know your rights leaflet and get them to the people who need them!
  • Take part in daily online actions targeting those who profit from workfare.

Whatever you plan, tell us and we’ll help spread the word. Boycott Workfare can help with the costs of props, printing or travel, so tell us if that would be useful too! info[at]boycottworkfare[dot]org

Let the workfare profiteers know: If you exploit us, we will shut you down!

For updates: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=2667

 

Aug 262012
 

Disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters will be holding a vigil and rememberence event for those who have died due to the actions of Paralympic sponsor Atos.  The event will take place outside the company’s UK Head Office in Triton Square, Euston on Wednesday August 29th, the same day as the opening of the Paralympic Games. Meet 3.45pm for 4pm start.

Atos are responsible for carrying out the Government’s notorious Work Capability Assessment, a relentless health and disability assessment regime which has been used to slash vital benefits from hundred of thousands of sick and disabled people.  Tragically several people have committed suicide due to the endless, stressful assessments and the threat of poverty and destitution they bring.  An  investigation by the Daily Mirror found that 32 people a week die after being declared ‘fit for work’ by the company, whilst Channel 4’s Dispatches recently exposed the system as ‘toxic’ in the words of Atos’ own staff.
Campaigners will gather in the square at 3.30pm and will deliver a coffin full of messages from victims of Atos to the front door of the company’s headquarters.  A memorial service will then take place, involving a reading of the names of those who have died due to the company’s actions.  Some of the messages will be attached to black balloons and released and members of the congregation will speak of their own experiences at the hands of Atos.  All are welcome to attend and are asked to wear black if possible.
This event takes place during the National Week of Action Against Atos called by Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), to coincide with the London Paralympic Games.  Events are scheduled to take place in towns and cities around around the UK and in London disabled people and supporters will be back at Triton Square on Friday 31st August for the Closing Atos Ceremony.