Friday, 9 November 2012

Week of Action Against Workfare Charities

From Boycott Workfare:

Take action 8th December onwards

A wave of pickets and direct actions against employers using the government’s exploiting workfare schemes has pressured many charities and companies to pull out of the schemes.

But charities like British Heart Foundation, Scope and Barnardos and many companies like Poundland, Argos and Superdrug continue to exploit unemployed people through the “work-for-your-dole” schemes. That’s why Boycott Workfare network are calling A Week of Action against Workfare, focusing especially on the charities involved. Action kicks off on Saturday 8th December.

We call on all unemployed people and claimants to stand up against this exploitation – we won’t work for nothing to profit the rich! We call on all workers in jobs to resist workfare – it attacks all workers’ wages and conditions. We call on all people who care about human rights and dignity to join us. We know our anti workfare actions are part of the global resistance to the austerity being imposed everywhere.

Why are we against workfare in Charities? We know first-hand what it really means.

A long-term volunteer at British Heart Foundation told us how he and many other veteran volunteers left in disgust as BHF charity shops were swamped with unwilling conscripts. Workfare totally contradicts the voluntary ethos charities are supposed to uphold.

A claimant told us how his benefits were threatened after he left a Work Programme placement at BHF – where he was treated appallingly – and declined a placement at Barnardos. Only the intervention of Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty prevented him being left penniless.

Many charities are losing skilled volunteers – as they are being forced to instead do meaningless workfare at companies and even other charities! The unemployed lose real skill-learning opportunities to be compelled to stack shelves.

Read our blog on what’s wrong with charity workfare for more and check back as the week approaches for leaflets, and online action to take as well!

Enough is enough! If you exploit us, we will shut you down!

Update: Due to pressure from Boycott Workfare campaigners, The British Heart Foundation have begun a withdrawal from workfare, saying:
"Currently, we are moving away from involvementin the mandatory work activity programme towards schemes whichprovide longer term voluntary placements."
This is a success for campaigners and shows that pickets and direct action is making a difference in the fight against workfare. The charity is still working in "partnership with Jobcentre Plus" and therefore pressure must be placed upon them to steer clear from current and future government workfare schemes.

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