Today, claimants & anarchists targeted workfare racketeers A4e at their Liverpool fraud shop, conveniently housed in the same building as scumbags Avanta, Working Links and the JHP Group. The picket stood its ground, handing out hundreds of consent.me.uk JSA & Liverpool Claimant Network leaflets to claimants and passers-by as part of a continuing series of actions —not just against high-street profiteers of workfare, but also the State-funded implementers of the failing Work Programme— that ties in with the Boycott Workfare National Week of Action.
As A4e staff piled-out every 15 minutes for a smoke, some of them were throwing daggers towards the picket; in particular one A4e adviser who had the gall to shout at the picket, “I work with kids with learning disabilities”, as if this would somehow instantaneously dissolve the reason the picket was there, whilst simultaneously justifying A4e’s exploitation of claimants on the Work Programme. Solidarity is of key importance in the fight against workfare, but there are some staff who seem beyond worker-claimant solidarity. With that said, binary opposites will not help build solidarity over top-down divisions, and we must work to foster working class unity, whether employed or unemployed; waged or unwaged.
As with previous pickets, the owner of the building eventually appeared and started making stuff up to get us to move on: this time it was smoking in the vicinity of the entrance; last time, he announced that he “owned” the pavement and we were trespassing. The building owner and his tactical machinations are way beyond the reach of working class solidarity.
The picket of A4e Liverpool was once more accompanied by a national communications blockade, which was still gathering pace by late afternoon. The comm-bloc involved people phoning, faxing & emailing their workfare grievances to A4e Liverpool and A4e head office. This form of action is particularly effective in disrupting the exploitative flow of A4e’s operations, and at the time of writing this, A4e’s www.mya4e.com was ‘unavailable’, further disrupting the operations of a company who’s motto is, gut-wrenchingly, “improving people’s lives.”
There is now a growing catalogue of grievances against A4e being accumulated through connecting with claimants outside Jobcentres & work provider premises. By picketing, we are encouraging claimants to share stories about their experiences, and time and again they revolve around the fact that the Work Programme is exploitative and isn’t helping claimants find jobs. We must keep up these actions to reveal the on-the-ground accounts of bullying & coercion that A4e flippantly sweep under the carpet along with a growing public recognition that these companies are acting fraudulently, despite what A4e spin says.
This all contributes to a message being sent to A4e and implementers of the Work Programme:
If you exploit us, we will shut you down!
The next A4e Liverpool Communications Blockade is on Friday 13th July: https://www.facebook.com/events/158475660955208/