Weekend of Online Action Against Workfare – Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th March
Protests against workfare will be taking place in 35 (and counting) locations tomorrow as part of a National Day of Action called by Boycott Workfare. For the latest details of protests visit their website at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=359
Despite Chris Grayling’s humiliating climbdown on workfare this week, the battle is far from over. The government have not scrapped workfare sanctions. They have removed some sanctions from one of the five schemes.
Just like before, we need to show that companies profiting from forced labour that is not acceptable. Under the Work Programme claimants can be forced to work in private companies for up to six months or face the poverty and possible homelessness that benefit sanctions bring.
We need to stop this now. Please contact the companies concerned, flood their facebook pages and twitter feeds, email them and make sure they know that we are just as angry as ever about their used of forced labour.
The government refuses to tell us which companies are profiting from unpaid labour on the Work Programme, and has removed any information from the DWP’s website. How, due a now ‘disappeared’ Freedom of Information Act request, we know for sure that the companies and charities below have taken on workfare staff under the Work Programme scheme.
Remember to tell them if are are planning to boycott them or withdraw donations unless they pull out of workfare immediately.
ASDA – on twitter @asda and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/Asda Their facebook wall is locked down but you can leave comments. Or you can contact them direct (Freephone no) at: http://your.asda.com/contact-us
Savers – on twitter (but not very active) @saversstore or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Savers-Health-and-Beauty/102022502083? Contact them direct at: http://www.savers.co.uk/contact-us_19.html
Barnados – on twitter @Barnados They have said they will not take young people on work experience who face sanctions but have remained silent on the workfare staff in their shops. On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/barnardos#!/barnardos?sk=wall Contact page at: http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/who_we_are/contact_us.htm
Holiday Inn – on twitter @holidayinn on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/HolidayInnUKIreland#!/HolidayInnUKIreland?sk=wall
Pizza Hut – on twitter @pizzahut There UK page is @pizzahut_uk but is barely active. They are busy on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/PizzaHutUK?sk=wall Contact page at: http://www.pizzahut.co.uk/restaurants/faqs.aspx
Poundstretcher – on twitter @poundstretcher1 (barely active) and not active on facebook email them at: email@example.com – website at: http://www.poundstretcher.co.uk/
Wilkinson – Barely active on twitter. On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/WilkinsonPlus#!/WilkinsonPlus?sk=wall Their wall is locked down but you can leave comments or contact them at: http://www.wilkinsonplus.com/page/contact_index/
99p Stores – Can’t find them on twitter. On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/99p-Stores/49590173920 or contact them at: http://www.99pstoresltd.com/contactus.asp
Salvation Army – believed to be involved in Mandatory Work Activity and the Work Programme. On twitter @salvationarmyuk or facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyuk Contact page at: http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/contactus
Jamie Oliver – Jamie has been whinging this week that he hasn’t been sent a workfare slave yet even though he signed up to the Work Programme months ago. Why not tell this multi-millionaire what you think of him using forced labour on twitter @jamieoliver
It is unclear whether the following companies will remain involved in the Work Experience scheme or the far more draconian Work Programme. Ask them and demand they do not profit from forced labour.
Argos – on twitter @argos_online and facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/argos Contact page at: http://www.argos.co.uk/static/StaticDisplay/includeName/ContactUs.htm
McDonalds – very busy international page on twitter @mcdonalds On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/McDonaldsUK Contact page at: http://www.mcdonalds.co.uk/ukhome/Aboutus/Contact-us.html
Primark – on twitter @primarkjobs Seemingly impossible to get in touch with any other way. Visit your local store instead!
Holland & Barrett – inactive twitter page @holland_barrett Contact page at: http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/pages/contactus.asp
Cancer Research UK – on twitter @CR_UK On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/cancerresearchuk Contact page at: https://aboutus.cancerresearchuk.org/contact-us/?secure=true
Many other companies and charities are using workfare. Very little has changed despite Chris Grayling’s announcement. According to the trade industry for workfare providers, only Boots have told them they are pulling out so far. Oxfam and Shelter have made clear statements distancing themselves from workfare and the Work Programme. Sainsburys, Tesco and Waterstones have all said they are not involved in the scheme. Poundland has pulled out of Work Programme but will continue to take work experience placements as long as they are not subject to benefit sanctions.
Please list contact details of all known workfare exploiters in the comments.
The following charities are part sub-contractors for Work Programme as part of the Disability Works consortium. Several of them have also used workfare in their charity shops. Contact them and demand they pull out of workfare. More importantly, with government plans revealed to force sick and disabled people into permanent work for no pay we urgently need a statement from all these charities that will they not play any part in such a crueland abusive scheme.
Leonard Chesire Disability – on twitter @LCDisability On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Leonard-Cheshire-Disability/77071765498 Contact page at: http://www.lcdisability.org/?lid=108
Action for Blind People – on twitter @action4blind On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/actionforblindpeople Contact page at: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/other-pages/contact-us/
Advance – not active on twitter or facebook. Contact page at: http://www.advanceuk.org/index.asp?m=6&t=Contact+Us
United Response – on twitter @unitedresponse On facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/UnitedResponse?ref=ts Contact page at: http://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/get-support/contact-us/
And if you’ve still got time after all that then why not give disability deniers Atos a kick, the company responsible for the flawed health and disability benefit eligibility tests testing which have driven some people to suicide. They’ll only feel left out otherwise. On twitter @atos Not allowed on facebook. Contact page at: http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php?option=com_enquiries&Itemid=226
If you ring companies please remember you are probably speaking to a low paid receptionist, and just as importantly that communications can be easily traced. It is an offence to make malicious or abusive phone calls.