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

 

Dec 042013
 

Reposted from Boycott Workfare

Workfare hands companies free labour which means fewer jobs and paid hours for everyone. But direct action and online pressure mean tens of brands now steer clear of it. Let’s step up the pressure on companies who still think they can profit from unpaid work!

Take action today to shame these companies and make them realise that exploiting unemployed people might just mean fewer customers this Christmas. There’s new online action every day this week so please keep checking back!

Marks & Spencer

 

M&S: rolling out workfare in their stores. Unless we stop them!

Marks & Spencer’s use of workfare hit public awareness when they announced 1400 new placements in their stores and a benchmark of 2% of the workforce to be unpaid. But this isn’t the brand’s first encounter with workfare. Despite their CEOearning over £2 million a year, they are also profiting from unpaid work throughanother workfare scheme in Scotland, which targets single parents. It’s likely their involvement is much more widespread – we also heard from someone sent on a 4 week placement at one of their outlet stores.

Last time we took action, M&S was forced to disable comments on their Facebook Page. Several pickets and walks of shame will pay a visit to their stores this week. Please feel free to contact them with your thoughts as well:

By email: Using their online form
By phone: See this useful list of numbers
Facebook: Marks and Spencer
Twitter: @marksandspencer

B&M Stores

In May, B&M won an award from the workfare industry for its involvement. But the reality of this involvement is harsh. One person has reported: “B&M stores have started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the employees!” Boycott Workfare has had reports of workfare at B&M stores in Bangor, Glasgow, Manchester, Southend and Northern Ireland. Show them they can’t keep cutting their wages bill with unpaid work!

By email: enquiries@bmstores.co.uk or customerservices@bmstores.co.uk
By phone: 0151 728 5400 or more numbers here.
Facebook: B&M Stores
Twitter: @bmstores 

 

Leeds Unemployed Action Group exposed the workfare providers in their area

Asda

Asda has been at the heart of workfare in the UK, helping the government relaunch its “Work Experience” scheme last year. We have had reports that one of their stores in Manchester uses disabled people on workfare on the night shift. They are frank about their involvement here.

Asda contact form: Click here
Facebook: Asda
Twitter: @asda 

 

Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions.

 

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

 

Jun 052012
 

JUBILEE: It has been exposed that the Queen’s Jubilee was staffed by
security and stewarding staff on workfare in the worst imaginable
conditions: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1039

You might like to write to the CEO of the security firm involved and
circulate the email address here: molly@close-protectionuk.com

ARGOS: We’ve also heard from someone made to work at Argos without pay
that his store was taking workfare on a massive scale. Read his story
here: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1049

And join the people giving Argos a really hard time on their Facebook
page: http://www.facebook.com/argos

IT WORKS! Last week we exposed Body Shop as profiting from workfare and by
the end of the week they had pulled out!
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1025

Help uncover more workfare exploiters on your high street! Top tips here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1017

GROWING A UK-WIDE NETWORK: On Saturday 26th May, Brighton Benefits
Campaign hosted a meeting to bring together all those actively fighting
workfare. Lots of action plans came out of the day including:

A regular online forum for groups and individuals to share ideas and
co-ordinate. The first meeting is this Thursday 7th June at 7.30pm on
Skype. Download instructions for how to take part here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Setting-up-a-Skype-account.doc

A week of action on 7-14 July kicking off with a day of action against
Holland & Barrett. More to follow as plans develop but put the date in
your diary!

ALSO COMING UP THIS WEEK:

* Combat Workfare action in Liverpool this Saturday 9th June, 12.30pm:
http://www.facebook.com/events/241340275974402/

* Come along to the London Boycott Workfare meeting on Wednesday, 7pm, 11
Goodwin St, Finsbury Park, N4 3HQ.

Our campaign is growing and gaining support – congratulations everyone!

Boycott Workfare

P.S. Don’t forget you’re welcome to take part in the UK-wide skype
discussion this Thursday evening. It’s easy to set up skype if you don’t
already have it. Details here:
http://www.boycottworkfare.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Setting-up-a-Skype-account.doc

May 272012
 

While there always seems to be plenty of money for some from disability sadly, the trickle-down effect never seems to reach as far as disabled people themselves. We still seem to be being exploited as cash cows for others. Below tells how charities are exploiting disabled people through the evidence of a whistleblower from one of the charities.

 Scandal of charities that bully people off benefits

by Dave Sewell

Charities and voluntary organisations that claim to be helping vulnerable people are instead enforcing government plans to throw them off benefits, Socialist Worker can reveal.

Over 270 voluntary organisations signed up to the government’s Work Programme, which pays contractors to bully unemployed people off benefits.

Sometimes this involves “workfare” schemes—herding unemployed workers into mandatory unpaid work at supermarkets, fast food restaurants and even NHS hospitals (see below).

An “employment advisor” at one of the charities spoke to Socialist Worker anonymously about the practice. “It’s disgusting,” they said. “We get letters from people who are really ill asking why their benefits have been taken away.

“I remember one client with severe psychosis. He didn’t know what day of the week it was—but he was about to lose his benefits because he had missed his appointments.”

The charities claim they are providing a service to help vulnerable people into jobs. But the jobs simply aren’t there.

Last week St Mungo’s became the latest charity to pull out of the Work Programme. It hadn’t made the revenue it expected. And it failed to put a single homeless person into work.

“Charities signed up naively,” the advisor told Socialist Worker. “They thought—we already work with vulnerable people, so why shouldn’t we do the same for a contract?”

Factories

In practice this has meant charities turning into factories designed to process unemployed claimants. And if claimants can’t jump through the government’s impossible hoops, their benefits can be removed.

“There is so much pressure to get results—either by getting people into work, or by getting their benefits sanctioned,” the advisor said.

Around one in ten of those that the charity recommends to be stripped of their benefits are later found to have been sanctioned wrongly, the advisor added.

Their caseload includes people who are claiming Employment Support Allowance and are not obliged to seek jobs, as they are not considered fit for work.

But the advisors are not trained to tell them this. Nor are they trained to help claimants who miss appointments for health reasons—and then find they have lost their benefits as a result.

The voluntary organisations involved in the Work Programme are subcontractors of private sector training firm Seetec. They include charities that work with disabled people, homeless people, single parents, young people and ex-offenders.

But the Work Programme is in a mess over its use of contractors. One prominent firm, A4e, is so mired in fraud allegations that it has had to be axed from the scheme.

And last week the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee called for payments to Work Programme contractors to be frozen. The advisor welcomed this move, saying, “It’s an obscene system. Let’s hope it falls apart soon.”

Originally posted at http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28575 nice pic of DPAC protesters there too blocking the road

 see also: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/shame-of-the-third-sector-how-charities-got-it-wrong-on-workfare/

http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/workfare-isnt-working-so-grayling-plans-more-workfare-this-time-its-for-charity/

 According to DWP charities involved are set out in the following table by area: find your charity here-we’ve kindly highlighted the disability ones for you- let us know if we missed any-for full excell sheet email us at mail@dpac.net.uk

 Btw Disability Works UK includes SCOPE, Leonard Cheshire, Mind, MENCAP, Action for Blind People (or RNIB) Disability Works UK has a turnover value of £654.4 million and a surplus of £15.6 million Recession? What recession?

Work Programme Supply Chains

 
The information contained in the table below reflects updates and changes to the Work Programme supply chains and is correct as at 30 January 2012.
It is published in the interests of transparency. It is limited to those in supply chains delivering to prime providers as part of their tier 1 and 2 chains. Definitions of what these tiers incorporate vary from prime provider to prime provider. There are additional suppliers beyond these tiers who are largely to be called on to deliver one off, unique interventions in response to a particular participants needs and circumstances.
The Department for Work and Pensions fully anticipate that supply chains will be dynamic, with scope to flex and evolve to reflect change within the labour market and participant needs.
The Department intends to update this information at regular intervals dependant on time and resources available.
In addition to the Merlin standard, a robust process is in place for the Department to approve any supply chain changes and to ensure that the service on offer is not compromised or reduced.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
Comparison between the August 2011 stock take and the January 2012 figures shows a small net increase in the overall number of organisations in the supply chains. Both the public and private sector shows slight increases, while the voluntary and community sector shows a small net decrease.
The table below illustrates these changes
 
 
 
 
   
Sector Number of organisations in the supply chain    
Private As at 30 January 2012 – 306 / As at 12 August 2011 – 295*  
Public As at 30 January 2012 – 137 / As at 12 August 2011 – 133*  
Voluntary or Community (VCS) As at 30 January 2012 – 412 / As at 12 August 2011 – 420*  
Totals As at 30 january 2012 – 855 / As at 12 August 2011 – 848*  
   
*Note  These figure have been amended due to organisations being incorrectly recorded in the earlier stock take, which has now been rectified. This included two strategic partners being listed as a tier 2 sub contractor when no contractual relationship was in place; one organisation being incorrectly categorised as voluntary sector when they were in fact from the private sector, and a voluntary sector organisation being recorded under two different names, thus decreasing the voluntary sector count and increasing the private sector.

East of England              
Papworth Trust              
Action for Blind People              
Royal Mencap Society               
East Midlands              
Disability Works (UK)              
Disability Alliance              
Action for Blind People               
Royal Mencap Society              
West London              
Acton for Blind People              
Hammersmith & Fulham MIND              
MENCAP              
Disability Works UK              
East London              
Disability Works UK              
Mencap              
North East              
Action for Blind People              
North West – Merseyside, Halton, Cumbria and Lancashire              
Disability Works UK              
Eden Mencap              
Action for Blind People              
Royal Mencap Society              
North West – Greater Manchester, Cheshire & Warrington              
Disability Information Bureau              
Action for Blind People              
Leonard Cheshire Disability              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
Scotland              
Action for Blind People              
Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)              
Scottish Mental Health Co-operative              
South East – Thames Valley and Hampshire and Isle of Wight              
Disability Works UK              
MENCAP              
South East – Surrey, Sussex and Kent              
Disability Works              
Action for Blind People              
Disability Works UK              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
South West – Devon and Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset              
NIL              
South West – Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and West of England              
Shaw Trust               
Swindon Mind              
Action for Blind People              
Wales              
Action for Blind People ( RNIB )              
West Midlands – Birmingham, Solihull and Black Country              
Action for Blind People              
Disability Works UK              
Birmingham Disability Consortium              
West Midlands – Coventry and Warwickshire, Staffordshire and the Marches              
Mencap               
Shaw Trust              
West Yorkshire              
Action for Blind People              
South Yorkshire              
Disability Works UK              
Disability Works UK              
North East Yorkshire and the Humber              
Leonard Cheshire Disability              
RNIB              
Royal Mencap Society ( Mencap )              
The Mind Consortium              
               
 
 
 
 
   
Mar 032012
 


Disability Works UK is a not-for-profit consortium of eight national disability charities that have come together to provide tailored employment support to disabled people. Disability Works UK is not involved in the delivery of the government’s Workfare scheme.

Disability Works UK has secured a number of sub-contracts to delivery the Work Programme; the government’s employment initiative aimed at supporting long-term unemployed and disabled people into work. This programme is not related in any way to the Workfare scheme.

Through the Work Programme, Disability Works UK provides tailored support and training, including interview practice, skills development, help with job applications, CV writing and in-work support. We also work with employers to ensure that people are well supported in their roles.

Given the combined expertise of our members, we feel that we are ideally and uniquely placed to be able to offer disabled people high quality support that meets their individual needs. We are engaging with the Work Programme to ensure that people receive this tailored support, which we know works; and to give disabled people the best possible chance of success of securing a job.

DWUK believes that sanctions do not incentivise disabled people to look for work, nor do they give them the confidence to do so. DWUK will not be directly involved in delivering sanctions. This will continue to be the role of the DWP via Job Centre Plus.

Disability Works UK includes: SCOPE, MIND, MENCAP, Leonard Cheshire, Action for Blind People (RNIB)

http://www.disabilityworksuk.org/

Mar 022012
 

Protests against workfare will be taking place in 35 (and counting) locations tomorrow as part of a National Day of Action called by Boycott Workfare.  For the latest details of protests visit their website at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359

Despite Chris Grayling’s humiliating climbdown on workfare this week, the battle is far from over.  The government have not scrapped workfare sanctions. They have removed some sanctions from one of the five schemes.

Just like before, we need to show that companies profiting from forced labour that is not acceptable.  Under the Work Programme claimants can be forced to work in private companies for up to six months or face the poverty and possible homelessness that benefit sanctions bring.

We need to stop this now.  Please contact the companies concerned, flood their facebook pages and twitter feeds, email them and make sure they know that we are just as angry as ever about their used of forced labour.

The government refuses to tell us which companies are profiting from unpaid labour on the Work Programme, and has removed any information from the DWP’s website.  How, due a now ‘disappeared’ Freedom of Information Act request, we know for sure that the companies and charities below have taken on workfare staff under the Work Programme scheme.

Remember to tell them if are are planning to boycott them or withdraw donations unless they pull out of workfare immediately.

ASDA – on twitter @asda and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Asda  Their facebook wall is locked down but you can leave comments.  Or you can contact them direct (Freephone no) at: http://your.asda.com/contact-us

Savers – on twitter (but not very active) @saversstore or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Savers-Health-and-Beauty/102022502083? Contact them direct at: http://www.savers.co.uk/contact-us_19.html

Barnados – on twitter @Barnados  They have said they will not take young people on work experience who face sanctions but have remained silent on the workfare staff in their shops.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/barnardos#!/barnardos?sk=wall  Contact page at: http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/who_we_are/contact_us.htm

Holiday Inn – on twitter @holidayinn on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/HolidayInnUKIreland#!/HolidayInnUKIreland?sk=wall

Pizza Hut – on twitter @pizzahut  There UK page is @pizzahut_uk but is barely active.  They are busy on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PizzaHutUK?sk=wall  Contact page at: http://www.pizzahut.co.uk/restaurants/faqs.aspx

Poundstretcher – on twitter @poundstretcher1 (barely active) and not active on facebook email them at: ed@poundstretcher.co.uk – website at: http://www.poundstretcher.co.uk/

British Heart Foundation – on twitter @thebhf on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/bhf   Contact page: http://www.bhf.org.uk/contact-us.aspx

Wilkinson – Barely active on twitter.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/WilkinsonPlus#!/WilkinsonPlus?sk=wall  Their wall is locked down but you can leave comments or contact them at: http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/page/contact_index/

99p Stores – Can’t find them on twitter.  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/99p-Stores/49590173920  or contact them at: http://www.99pstoresltd.com/contactus.asp

Salvation Army – believed to be involved in Mandatory Work Activity and the Work Programme.  On twitter @salvationarmyuk or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyuk Contact page at: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/contactus

Booker Wholesale – on twitter @bookerwholesale and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/BookerWholesale  Contact page at: https://www.booker.co.uk/help/contactus.aspx

Jamie Oliver – Jamie has been whinging this week that he hasn’t been sent a workfare slave yet even though he signed up to the Work Programme months ago.  Why not tell this multi-millionaire what you think of him using forced labour on twitter @jamieoliver

______________________________________________________________

It is unclear whether the following companies will remain involved in the Work Experience scheme or the far more draconian Work Programme.  Ask them and demand they do not profit from forced labour.

Argos – on twitter @argos_online and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/argos  Contact page at: http://www.argos.co.uk/static/StaticDisplay/includeName/ContactUs.htm

McDonalds – very busy international page on twitter @mcdonalds  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUK  Contact page at: http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Aboutus/Contact-us.html

Primark – on twitter @primarkjobs Seemingly impossible to get in touch with any other way.  Visit your local store instead!

Holland & Barrett – inactive twitter page @holland_barrett  Contact page at: http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/contactus.asp

Cancer Research UK – on twitter @CR_UK  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/cancerresearchuk  Contact page at: https://aboutus.cancerresearchuk.org/contact-us/?secure=true

Age UK – on twitter @age_uk   On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/ageuk  Contact page at: http://www.ageuk.org.uk/contact-us/

______________________________________________________________

Many other companies and charities are using workfare.  Very little has changed despite Chris Grayling’s announcement.  According to the trade industry for workfare providers,  only Boots have told them they are pulling out so far.  Oxfam and Shelter have made clear statements distancing themselves from workfare and the Work Programme.  Sainsburys, Tesco and Waterstones have all said they are not involved in the scheme.  Poundland has pulled out of Work Programme but will continue to take work experience placements as long as they are not subject to benefit sanctions.

Please list contact details of all known workfare exploiters in the comments.

The following charities are part sub-contractors for Work Programme as part of the Disability Works consortium.  Several of them have also used workfare in their charity shops.  Contact them and demand they pull out of workfare.  More importantly, with government plans revealed to force sick and disabled people into permanent work for no pay we urgently need a statement from all these charities that will they not play any part in such a crueland abusive scheme.

SCOPE – on twitter at @scope  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Scope  Contact page at: http://www.scope.org.uk/contact-us

Mencap – on twitter @mencap_charity  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/Mencap  Contact page at: http://www.mencap.org.uk/contact-us

MIND – on twitter @mindcharity  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth  Contact page at: http://www.mind.org.uk/contact

Leonard Chesire Disability – on twitter @LCDisability  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability/77071765498  Contact page at: http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=108

Action for Blind People – on twitter @action4blind  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/actionforblindpeople  Contact page at: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/other-pages/contact-us/

Advance – not active on twitter or facebook.  Contact page at: http://www.advanceuk.org/index.asp?m=6&t=Contact+Us

Pluss – on twitter  @plussaddtolife  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pluss/257795488431  Contact page: http://www.pluss.org.uk/contact

United Response – on twitter @unitedresponce  On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/UnitedResponse?ref=ts  Contact page at: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support/contact-us/

And if you’ve still got time after all that then why not give disability deniers Atos a kick, the company responsible for the flawed health and disability benefit eligibility tests testing which have driven some people to suicide.  They’ll only feel left out otherwise.  On twitter @atos  Not allowed on facebook.  Contact page at: http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php?option=com_enquiries&Itemid=226

If you ring companies please remember you are probably speaking to a low paid receptionist, and just as importantly that communications can be easily traced.  It is an offence to make malicious or abusive phone calls.

Feb 182012
 
Many thanks to Johnny Void for this repost

Several major UK charities now found themselves being in the unfortunate position of being less ethical organisations than corporate bastards Tesco due to their continued participation in the government’s workfare schemes.

Hot on the heels of Tesco announcing they  “will not be taking part in any mandatory (workfare) scheme set by the Government”, Oxfam and Marie Curie have also said they will no longer use workfare workers.  Housing charity Shelter confirmed that they stopped using the scheme last year after concerns that it was not in the interests of potential volunteers.

However several major UK charities, including Age UK, Cancer Research, the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Barnados and the PDSA have so far remained quiet on their use of forced labour.  Chef Executive of the BHF, Peter Hollins, earned a whopping £153,000 in 2008, and the average salary of the top 100 charities Chef Execs is now over £166,000.  These vast sums don’t appear to have trickled down though and the chances are that the person serving you in a British Heart Foundation shop is a workfare slave, paid nothing other than the pittance available on Job Seekers Allowance.

Charities have always used volunteers, and no-one has objected to that.  What the hundreds, if not thousands of people, who have contacted Tesco this work are concerned about is the punitive measures now being used to recruit these so called ‘volunteers’.  Workfare staff, as well as being unpaid, have no workplace rights.  If they are dismissed for any reason they face having their benefits sanctioned, leaving them destitute and possibly homeless.  Increasingly people who are sick and disabled are being bullied onto workfare schemes, and plans revealed in the Guardian show that they could be forced into permanent unpaid positions with charities and businesses alike.

Many workfare workers have complained of no longer having the time to look for paid work properly due to workfare schemes.  Some, like Cait Reilly, who is currently taking legal action after being forced to work in Poundland, were already volunteering and on the way to gaining a career.  Benefit levels are so low that many workfare staff go without lunch.

This isn’t a few hours a week doing good deeds or helping organise a local church fete.  Charities are using workfare staff full time, in what were often previously paid positions. As many charities now have gained contracts to carry out public services, something Cameron claims to want more of, then this could depress wages across the public sector.

And whilst charities are feeling the pinch just as much as every else, with Chief Execs living lives of luxury, then any justification charities need to use slave labour to survive ring somewhat hollow.

Unfortunately, for some charities, their involvement with this scheme goes even deeper than merely exploiting workfare staff.  Over 300 voluntary organisations have been listed as sub-contracters to administer the government’s Work Programme scheme including household names such as Mencap and the Prince’s Trust.  Many of them, some who already use workfare staff themselves, will be some of the key organisations responsible for helping to implement the scheme.  In other words they may be directly responsible for pushing vulnerable people into workfare whilst the DWP hovers in the background threatening benefit sanctions for non-compliance.  Under Work Programme claimants can be forced to work 30 hours a week with no pay for up to six months, something far more draconian than the Tesco workfare position which caused public outrage.  Astonishingly these charities have signed contracts which gag them from even being critical of the DWP and the workfare scheme.

So far it hasn’t quite been plain sailing however and many charities are already raising concerns that workfare isn’t turning out to be quite the gravy train they hoped for.

That charities should be quite happy to be actively involved in press-ganging vulnerable people into forced labour, and only really raise concerns that they aren’t making enough money out of it, reveals an astonishing gulf between charity bosses and the people they claim to be there to help.

At the forefront of this has been the Disability Works Consortium, an alliance of charities working together to maximise income from workfare,  and which includes MIND, SCOPE (who’s shops are riddled with workfare staff), The Leonard Chesire  Foundation, Action for Blind People and Mencap.

It’s not that these organisations have been unaware of the problems of the workfare schemes and the distress they have brought to some people’s live.  Disabled People’s Organisations, claimants groups, and perhaps most importantly their own users, have told them time and time again that workfare is exploitative, demeaning and damaging to wages and conditions for everyone.  But these charities have chosen not to listen, instead jumping through ever more complex moral and intellectual hoops in order to justify the hundreds of thousands of pounds they’ve been raking in.  Just like free market ideologues and bankers, charities have taken the position that what ever makes them the most cash just happens to also be the morally correct thing to do.

Everyone agrees that disabled people should have the right to work, and access to  support and training.  No-one disputes that for young people volunteering can be a way to gain valuable experience.  The problem is that consent has been removed from the system and  the threat of starvation and homelessness has been used to bully people into unpaid labour.  It’s really not a difficult concept and now the public have been made fully aware of what’s going on they have rightly shown their contempt for the whole shoddy operation.

Participating charities should hang their heads in shame for colluding in (and profiting from) this abuse of the most vulnerable in society.

The road the charities have taken has given soft cover to some of the most brutal welfare policies in the Western world.  Policies that have failed everywhere they have been implemented.  Policies which are now leading to a situation where someone with terminal cancer could be forced to work night-shifts stacking shelves at Tesco, or day shifts stacking shelves in a charity shop, all for no pay.

These charities are just as vulnerable to commercial pressures as the likes of Tesco, Matalan, Sainsbury’s and TK Maxx who have all now pulled out of mandatory workfare.  A threat to withdraw donations and boycott the  shops of MIND (@mindcharity), SCOPE (@scope), and Mencap (@mencap_charity) may well help focus their minds.  As resistance to workfare spreads, not for the first time, the likes of SCOPE could see angry mobs of disabled people and claimants outside their shops and offices.  It’s time they pull out of these schemes completely, tear up the contracts and issue a clear condemnation of any scheme that uses threats of benefit sanctions to force people to work for no pay.

The collapse of workfare is near complete as the corporate sector runs for the hills in the face of public fury.  All that’s left propping it up now is these charities, who depend so much on the support of the public for their very existence.  We should not be squeamish in holding them to account for their actions every bit as fiercely as we have done to the likes of Tesco and Poundland.

UPDATE!!! SCOPE have just announced on Twitter that they are ending their involvement with workfare with immediate effect.  Whether this just applies to workfare staff in SCOPE’s shops or whether they will be pulling out as workfare sub-contracters remains to be seen.  They say a statement is coming on their website: http://www.scope.org.uk/

Dec 282011
 

JOIN US TO PROTEST AGAINST CUTS TO DISABLED PEOPLE’S BENEFITS AND SERVICES AND THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR NHS ON WHICH ALL OF US WHO ARE NOT MILLIONAIRE POLITICIANS RELY.

 SAY “NO” TO THE WELFARE REFORM BILL,THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR WELFARE STATE AND “NO” TO WORKFARE

What Cuts do Disabled People Face?

▼Closure of the Independent Living Fund supporting those with high support needs, proving that the government’s rhetoric of supporting disabled people is as empty as their souls

▼Movement from Incapacity Benefit to Employment Support Allowance through punitive and unfair compulsory Work Capability Assessments carried out by Atos, a private for-profit company who are declaring those who need 24-hour support and those with terminal cancer ‘fit for work’ in order to meet government targets and reduce disabled peoples’ income drastically

▼VAT increases and benefit rates linked to CPI not RPI which is likely to cost disabled people an extra £800 per annum.

▼Cuts to social care budgets, cuts to housing support, cuts to Access to Work programme (helping disabled people with any equipment they might need to compete on an equal basis with non disabled employees), constant attacks on disabled peoples’ integrity by the Tories and others suggesting we’re not really disabled but ‘just pretending’ to get meagre benefits which they’re going to abolish anyway

Where – LEAMINGTON SPA, WARWICKSHIRE

 

At CHRIS WHITE, MP’s office, 43a CLEMENS STREET, OLD TOWN,  CV31 2DP, not far from railway station.

 

When – Friday, JANUARY 20th, meet outside constituency office at 1pm.

 

www.dpac.uk.net,   mail@dpac.uk.net, http://twitter.com/Dis_PPL_Protest