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Workfare Can Be Broken – Join the Week of Action and help make it happen

February 5, 2013

From Boycott Workfare

Take part in the week of action against workfare 18-24 March

The Government is pushing ahead with increasingly savage workfare policies despite the fierce resistance to the scheme causing many high street names and national charities to pull out.

Unemployed people can now be sentenced to six months compulsory unpaid work as part of the Community Action Programme. On December 3rd last year – International Disabled People’s Day – the DWP introduced forced work for sick and disabled claimants.

Companies such as Superdrug, Argos and McDonalds, who have all been quick to take on unpaid workers on government schemes, have seen a year of boycotts, pickets, demonstrations and occupations due to their involvement in the scheme. Many national charities have pulled out as a result of protests, but some, such as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Salvation Army and Sue Ryder Foundation are unrepentent about their army of government subsidised unpaid workers. Many of the new workfare programmes depend on charities like these to provide placements.

Workfare can be broken by showing these organisations that the public have clearly rejected unpaid work. Evidence has shown that mandatory work has no impact in actually helping someone find a job, the stated aim of the scheme. Instead workfare is used to replace real jobs, with some companies even caught taking on unpaid workers to fill temporary Christmas positions.

Join Boycott Workfare on 18-24 March for a week of action against workfare exploiters everywhere. Take action in a town or city near you, join in online and show all those who profit from forced labour that we mean it when we say “if you exploit us, we will shut you down”.

Organise now and contact Boycott Workfare on Facebook or info[at]boycottworkfare.org to be added to the national list of actions.

Please share, tweet and spread the word!

Week of Action against workfare – Charities stop exploiting the unemployed!

November 15, 2012

From Boycott Workfare

Take action 8th December onwards

Many companies and charities have pulled out of the government’s workfare schemes when met with pickets and direct action that put these exploitative schemes in the spotlight.

But charities including British Heart Foundation, Scope and Barnardos and many companies like Poundland, Argos and Superdrug still subscribe to schemes which force the unemployed to “work for their benefits”. That’s why Boycott Workfare network are calling A Week of Action against Workfare, focusing especially on the charities involved.

You are urged to join the action which starts on Saturday, December 8th!

http://www.facebook.com/events/552862001405891/

You’re unemployed? Stand up against this exploitation: we won’t work for nothing to profit the rich! In work? Workfare attacks your wages and conditions, you could be sacked and replaced by workfare conscripts. If you care about human rights and dignity – join us. 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.

Workfare helps hide swingeing cuts to support for charities by central government.

Real jobs that charity donors have paid to have carried out are forced onto the unemployed.

Many veteran volunteers have left British Heart Foundation in disgust as charity shops are swamped with unwilling conscripts. Workfare 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.

Since our latest actions were announced British Heart Foundation have announced they are “moving away” from the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. This is encouraging – but we need an assurance they have actually WITHDRAWN from ALL workfare schemes.

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!

Our message is simple: If you exploit us, we will shut you down!

Please tweet, share, blog, spread the word!

Liverpool action already confirmed: http://www.facebook.com/events/535148439846906/

UK Uncut are also a day of action against tax dodging bastards Starbucks on the 8th December: http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/call-out-8-dec-refuge-from-the-cuts

Workfare Shutdown! Oxford Circus, October 20th

October 10, 2012

From Boycott Workfare

The fight back against workfare continues on Oct 20th when tens of thousands are expected to march on London against austerity. As people march for a future that works, Boycott Workfare will be taking action for a future without forced unpaid labour.

The growing resistance against exploitative government work schemes is rattling the arrogance of workfare’s architects and profiteers. Retailers have withdrawn from workfare due to pressure from campaigners; warnings of “imminent contract failures” are being made by Work Programme charities. Neither Workfare nor the Work Programme is working.

Any of us could be subjected to forced unpaid work through the government’s back to work schemes, so it’s in the interest of all of us that we fight back. At the end of the day, workfare is an attack on the work and welfare of the unemployed and employed. It not only provides a source of cheap labour to profit-making companies but it also undermines the pay and conditions of those already in paid work.

Join Boycott Workfare in London on Oct 20th and let’s shut down the profiteers exploiting the unemployed.

Meet at 2.30pm at Oxford Circus.

Bring game face, banners, noise and fight back!

Join the facebook event and invite your friends.

Ruin the Lib Dem’s Conference Weekend: Shut Down Workfare in Brighton

September 20, 2012

For the latest info visit the facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/events/451566338217041/

Saturday 22nd September – Brighton – Noon

The Liberal Democrat conference is being held in Brighton on Saturday 22nd September 2012 – there will be a large demonstration organised by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition and Brighton Trades Council.

To coincide with this, Brighton Solidarity Federation, Brighton Benefits Campaign and Brighton Uncut are calling for a day of action in Brighton against workfare – instead of ineffectually “having our say” and being ignored by the junior coalition partner, we should physically shut down a high profile coalition policy.

We are aiming to use a diversity of tactics on the day – from static or roving pickets outside shops, to UK Uncut style occupations, to whatever anyone else fancies getting up to.

We will distribute a list of workfare targets and their locations – when the march ends we will head into town and try and shut down as many of them as we can for as long as we can.

National day of action against charities involved in workfare

September 4, 2012

From Boycott Workfare

Boycott Workfare is calling on anti-workfare groups up and down the country to take action against charities who are profiting from workfare on Saturday 8th September. Thousands of us have taken action against the corporate workfare exploiters, so it’s important that we don’t let charities off the hook.

Charities are using workfare on a massive scale.

Numerous high profile charities have replaced staff and volunteers with forced unpaid workers. One British Heart Foundation manager boasted that her shop was run mostly on the constant supply of workfare that she received from the local provider. British Heart Foundation’s policy director told the Guardian that everyone of their 700 stores had work programme placements ‘some mandatory, some [read – none] voluntary’

Workfare is clearly happening in the charity sector big time.

Workfare pushes people into destitution

How can charities claim to make the world a better place when they are directly responsible for driving people into poverty and destitution through sanctions? The disturbing reality is that unemployed disabled people could be forced to work in the Scope, Cancer Research UK or British Heart Foundation charity shops that claim to support them. Salvation Army and Barnardos claim to fight poverty but claimants face the loss of subsistence benefits if they do not take part in workfare in their stores. Meanwhile, the heads of BHF and Barnardos receive £153,000 a year and £166,000 a year respectively.

The government wants to massively expand charity involvement

Never has it been more urgent for the voluntary sector to make a stand against workfare exploitation. The government has plans to put a further 1.06 million unemployed people on workfare for “community benefit”. Thousands of people freely volunteer their time for charities they feel passionate about. Forcing people to work without pay on risk of destitution couldn’t be further from this tradition.

Our actions are already having an impact

Public pressure has already resulted in numerous charities pulling out. Oxfam put their reason for doing so simply: workfare is “incompatible with our goal of reducing poverty in the UK”.

Take action to end charity involvement in workfare

On 8th September, take to the streets or join the online wave of action to end charity involvement in workfare.

Get involved with an action near you or organise one yourself! Workfare walks of shame, pickets, and occupations are some fun actions you can do on your local high street. Or go online to let these charities know what you think of workfare using twitter and facebook.

Post your actions on the facebook event or in the comments and we’ll add them to the list!

 

Which charities are involved?

Barnardo’s – work experience scheme and Work Programme (personal testimony)

British Heart Foundation – Work Programme and Mandatory Work Activity (sleuthing and personal testimony)

Cancer Research MWA placement (personal testimony)

Community Service Volunteers – MWA placement (personal testimony)

RSPCA – Mandatory Work Activity

Salvation Army – Work Programme

Scope – Mandatory Work Activity (DWP press release link no longer working)

Sue Ryder – Mandatory Work Activity (personal testimony)

Protests Planned in Over 20 Towns and Cities as Part of the Atos Games

August 28, 2012

Over 20 towns and cities will be holding protests aimed at disability denying poverty pimps Atos.  Timed to coincide with the Paralympic Games, of which Atos shamefully are a sponsor, disabled people, benefit claimants and supporters are holding a series of protests around the UK.

The Atos Games will be formally opened tomorrow (Monday 27th August), near City Hall in Central London by Disabled People Against Cuts.  Meet outside City Hall at 5.30pm, more details at: http://www.dpac.uk.net/2012/08/atos-games-opening-ceremony-monday-august-27th/

Then on Tuesday actions and protests will take place around the country targeting Atos, the company which has been happy to profit from Government contracts designed to strip disability and sickness benefits from hundreds of thousands of people.  The full list of actions announced so far is below.

On Wednesday 29th August a Memorial Service will be held in Triton Square outside the company’s London HQ.  Meet at Triton Square, London, at 3:30pm.

Thursday 30th August will see a day of action online and on the phone – Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore.

Finally on Friday 31st August Disabled People Against Cuts will be teaming up with UK Uncut for ‘an audacious, daring and disruptive action’.  Head to Atos HQ,  Triton Square, London at 12.45pm,  More info at: http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/blog/the-closing-atos-ceremony

List of other actions and events around the UK:

Birmingham – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest at Five Ways House. Islington Row. Edgbaston. Birmingham. B15 1SL

Bournemouth – Tuesday 28th, 12:05 – protest at ATOS Centre, 1st floor Tamarisk House, c/o Job Centre Plus, 1, Cotlands Road, BH1 3BG (assemble outside the JobCentre Plus building)

Bristol – Thursday 30th August, 15:00 – picket/protest outside ATOS offices, Government Buildings, Flowers Hill, Bristol, BS4 6LA .

Cardiff – Wednesday 29th August,17:00 – mass ‘die-in’ to commemorate lives lost. Aneuren Bevan Statue, Queen Street

Derby – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS office. More details from Derby Mental Health Action Group mhactiongroup[at]yahoo.co.uk

Edinburgh – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS offices, 44 York Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JW

Exeter – Tuesday 28th, 12:30 – protest outside ATOS office Killerton Road, Park Five, Harrier Way EX2 7HU (with Exeter Anti-Cuts Alliance)

Hull – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration outside the ATOS medical assessment centre on Stanley Street, Spring Bank, Hull, HU3 1JP

Lancaster – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest at Mitre House, Church Street, Lancaster LA1 1EQ. In conjunction with Lancaster and Morecambe against the Cuts ; local Trades Union congress; occupy Lancaster UK; and led by local disabled people

Leeds – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – Meet in City Square, LS1 2ES. Bring banners. We will have leaflets.

Liverpool – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – demonstration outside ATOS offices, Mann Island, Port of Liverpool building, L3 1LT

London – Monday 27th, 17:30 – meet at City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London SE1 2AA. Opening ceremony and medal awards
and
Wednesday 29th, 15:30 – Meet near Starbucks/Pret-a-Manger on Triton Square, Regents Place, London NW1 3HG – Delivery of a coffin with messages to ATOS and a memorial of their victims, many of whom have have died.
and
Friday 31st, 12:45 – Grand Finale with UK Uncut. Direct action and protest at ATOS HQ, 4 Triton Square, Regents Place, London NW1 3HG

Manchester – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – protest outside ATOS Manchester, Albert Bridge House Bridge Street, Manchester M60 9DA

Medway – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – Atos Medical Assessment Centre in Batchelor St Chatham ME4 4BJ (just off the High St next to the Jolly Caulkers) – Medway Against the Cuts are organising a picket/protest.

Newcastle – Tuesday 28th, 13:00 – protest outside ATOS offices Arden House, Regent Centre, Regent Farm Road, Gosforth, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE3 3LZ (opposite Gosforth library).

Northampton – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration at ATOS offices, Gladstone Road, Dallington, Northampton, NN5 7QA

Plymouth – Tuesday 28th, 11:00 – demonstration at ATOS offices, Argosy House (next to McDonald’s) , Marsh Mills, Plympton, Plymouth, PL6 8LS
For lifts from the City Centre and Mutley, please contact PCU at: plymouthclaimantsunion[at]yahoo.co.uk

Reading – Tuesday 28th, 11:30 – Eaton Place (off the Oxford Rd), Reading, RG1 7LP. Join us there for solidarity, songs and fun, fun fun. Bring banners with appropriate messages. Banners and leaflets will be available (can also be downloaded and printed) for distribution to curious and info-hungry passers-by. Songsheets will be provided for the tunefully inclined.

Sheffield – Tuesday 28th, 12:30 – demonstration at Hartshead Square, S1 2FD

Southampton – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – meet at Queens Park, Southampton SO14 3BQ.

Stroud – Wednesday 29th, 12:00 – Flyering the public about ATOS – meet outside Stroud JobCentre, Unicorn House, Cornhill Shopping Centre (Union Street), GL5 2JT.
and
Saturday 1st September, 11:00 – same location.

Swansea – Tuesday 28th, 12:00 – static protest outside Grove House, Grove Place, Swansea SA1 5DF . (This is a big building across the road from the police station).

Our ATOS Games

August 7, 2012

Join The Atos Games!

On your marks, get set…
for a week of Paralympic fun and games against Atos!

From Monday 27th to Friday 31st of August, join Disabled People Against Cuts for The Atos Games – five days of action against a company that’s sponsoring the Paralympics but wrecking disabled people’s lives.

We are calling on disabled people, disabled activists, families, colleagues, friends and supporters to come together and fight back against Atos’s attacks. Atos represents as dangerous an opponent as any government, law or barrier the disability movement has faced in its long history. It’s not just welfare, but our very identity and our place within society that is under attack.

And we are asking the whole of the anti-cuts movement to join us in our opposition to the company most responsible for driving through the government’s brutal cuts agenda. Let’s make it Games over for Atos!

We’re not against the Paralympics or the people taking part in it. We’re highlighting the hypocrisy of Atos, a company that soon may be taking disability benefits from the people winning medals for Team GB.

Ever since George Osborne announced he was slashing £18 billion from the welfare budget, the government has paid Atos £100 million a year to test 11,000sick and disabled people every week, then decide whether they’re ‘fit for work’.

Atos uses an inhumane computer programme to do the testing, and trains its staff to push people off benefits. The government has admitted the tests are flawed, and the British Medical Association wants them to end immediately.

But Atos continues to devastate people’s lives. Many have committed suicide because of its testing programme, and over 1,000 people have died of their illnesses soon after being found ‘fit for work’.

We won’t let them get away with murder, so join in The Atos Games however you can – online, on the phone, or on the streets!

·         Monday 27th: A coffin full of your messages about Atos will be delivered to its doorstep.
·         Tuesday 28th: Pay a visit to your local Atos office – and maybe even take your protest inside!
·         Wednesday 29th: We’ll hold a spoof Paralympic awards ceremony, hopefully with some very special guests…
·         Thursday 30th: Phone jam! Let’s flood Atos with calls, and generate a Twitter-storm they can’t ignore!
·         Then on Friday 31st, join us in London where we’re teaming up with UK Uncut for the Grand Finale – an audacious, daring and disruptive action. Last time we shut down Oxford Circus, this time we will be performing miracles…!
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