Sunday, 16 September 2012

Workfare Profiteers to Crash Bolton Jobs Fair

Workfare profiteers

This coming Thursday Bolton College is hosting a Jobs and Skills Fair on their Dean Road campus and, lo-and-behold, they’ve allowed a trio of workfare profiteers to exhibit at the fair. SERCO, Holiday Inn and workfare charity Barnardo's will be touting their wares to job-hungry Boltonians with a wink and a smile, no doubt making great effort to keep schtum about their complicity in the exploitation of the unemployed.

SERCO not only profit from lucrative Work Programme contracts, but have also been involved in numerous human rights abuses of detainees in their Immigration Removal Centres (IRC’s). In 2010, 84 women went on hunger strike in protest at their mistreatment by Serco security guards:

“70 women were locked in a corridor for up to eight hours without access to food, water, toilet or medical care. Many collapsed and about 20, who tried to climb out of the windows, were beaten up and taken into isolation cells.”

In 2012, Serco security guards in detention centres in Australia were trained to:

“…kick, punch and jab their fingers into detainee limbs and ‘pressure points’ to render them motionless.”

Detainees at Villawood Dention Centre, Australia, protesting over conditions

Considering Serco’s appalling abuse of asylum seekers —more accounts can be viewed here— you would’ve thought Bolton College had the wherewithal to check what companies they’re allowing onto their campus?

Barnardo's, as part of their involvement in the failing Work Programme, have been forcing their unemployed cohort (DWP slang for reserve army of labour) into KFC restaurants in order to gain “vital skills for the workplace.” Barnardo's argue they're only involved in voluntary work experience, but as Boycott Workfare points out Barnardo's “deliver the mandatory Work Programme and are complicit in the sanctions process.”

Security firm SERCO and do-gooder charity Barnardo's have another thing in common: they’re both in cahoots with the UK Border Agency. SERCO assist the UK government with its racist immigration policy —see London NoBorders for more info— and Barnardo's provide suspect ‘welfare provisions’ to children harmfully detained.

As Open Democracy explains:

“Given that medical evidence has demonstrated that even short periods of detention can cause significant harm to children—the fact that a leading children’s charity [Barnardo's] is complicit in keeping children detained at Pease Pottage for up to a week is an absolutely disgrace, and vindicates all the warnings that End Child Detention Now and fellow campaign groups have made about the collaboration of charities with the UK Border Agency.”

Not only do we have highly questionable companies trying to recruit workers into shit jobs, but these same companies, specifically SERCO and Barnardo's, are exploiting unemployed workers whilst committing human rights abuses against migrant families.

Holiday Inn, due to direct action by Boycott Workfare in March, publicly announced their withdrawal from workfare, but there are suggestions that they’re still using forced unpaid workers in their hotels, according to Boycott Workfare’s list of workfare providers.

It’s not just Bolton College who should be taking a serious look at who they’re rubbing shoulders with: Bolton Council, Bolton at Home and the University of Bolton are all partners of the Bolton Jobs and Skills Fair.

And last but not least, what kind of jobs fair would this be if we didn’t have our good friends Jobcentre Plus to cast a watchful eye over proceedings. Yes, Jobcentre Plus, tendril of the Department for Work and Pensions, are also partnering the event and, hysterically, in their partner introduction describe themselves as an organisation that “aim[s] to tackle poverty”.

Bolton Jobs and Skills Fair 2012 takes place this Thursday, 20th September, at Bolton College, Dean Road Campus. If you're in or from Bolton and free on Thursday, it's highly recommended you pay this trio of scumbags a visit and give them some hella grief. 

Why not drop them a tweet at:


or leave a comment on their Facebook pages: 

Bolton College
For more more information on the Boycott Workfare Campaign visit:

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