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Workfare not Fair

This Monday (2nd) the 'welfare-to-work' industry had a conference discussing how to screw more forced labour out of benefit claimants next year. They were met with a raucous noise demo from Boycott Workfare and friends beginning a whole week of action against workfare.

Banners declaring 'if you exploit us we will shut you down' have been stopping off at various companies and charities that use labour from benefit claimants forced to work for nothing. There's also been online campaigning against companies such as Subway, Kwikfit, Asda and M&S using twitter and a petition. Charities involved include the Salvation Army, YMCA,The Conservation Volunteers and the Shaw Trust. This list is not exhaustive at all and it is well worth asking companies and charities before you give them your cash as quite a few do use workfare or might consider it in the future, unless they think they'll get bad press for it.

The Monday was focussed on the sponsors of the conference, then Tuesday was about Traineeships, where 16-24 year-olds are forced to work long hours without pay or even travel expenses for 6 months. The veneer of training is even thinner than with Apprenticeships for jobs you can learn in a week. The only thing Traineeships are really meant to teach you is to do as you're told. Wednesday was against companies using forced labour and Thursday was the day to point out the hypocrisy to charities involved.

When you've been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance the Jobcentre can decide to put you onto a scheme where you work for no pay for 6 months. Of course this doesn't help you find a job as you're too busy working, going mad and surviving on peanuts. (You might also already have your plate full with a serious health problem too). There will also be less jobs available because companies are getting their work done for free instead. And why do they qualify for free help, while you qualify for forced labour? Well they're already rich, see?

Since a new sanctions regime was introduced in October 2012, cuts to benefits have been used on a massive scale to bully and intimidate claimants but a huge proportion of these decisions are overturned on appeal.

For example: “Between December 2012 – June 2013 45,000 ESA sanction decisions were made with 11,000 of these being applied. For JSA between October 2012 – June 2013, 1.35 million sanction decisions were made of which 0.58 million were applied. This shows the high rate of successful challenges that claimants have made to a sanction decision.”

There are some handy hints on this link to keep yourself out of workfare and challenge it if you are unlucky.

There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Mog - 17th December 2013 @ 7:58 AM

The companies are not just getting free help.

They are /paid/ to take people on workfare!

So you have a couple of perverse incentives there unfortunately.

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