WORKFARE WALK OF SHAME
On July 13th we held a Workfare Walk of Shame as part of the day of action called by Boycott Workfare.
Over twenty people took part, beginning with a picket of Marks & Spencer – blatant exploiters of young people through their Make Your Mark scheme. M&S have boasted that they would replace 2% of their workforce with unemployed people paid out of public funds. Large numbers of people expressed their disgust at this example of corporate welfare and decided to shop elsewhere. M&S bosses take note!
We then split into two groups to picket the Poundland shops in North Street and London Road. Again there was a lot of interest and positive reactions. Finally some of us visited the Chestnut Tree House shop in London Road. We had been informed by several people that this charity was using workfare in its shops, and even that comments had been overheard which suggested paid staff were happy to see ‘volunteers’ on workfare have their benefits sanctioned.
Two of us went in to speak with the manager, who tried to make out that the people they take on workfare – supplied by private provider Pinnacle People – weren’t in fear of losing their benefits. Patently this isn’t true. We will be back!
* 2-8-13 We have heard that Chestnut Tree House will be withdrawing from workfare – more info to come
(thanks to Truthferret films for video)
BENEFIT JUSTICE ACTION
Our Benefit Justice action on July 26th targeted Pinnacle People themselves at their offices in North Street (next to Specsavers). Despite being on a weekday 10 people took part, handing out over 200 leaflets, and finding a lot of interest from passers by.
This company is subcontracted by G4S, the disgraced security company, to deliver the Work Programme. The Work Programme’s success rate at getting people into paid jobs is truly abysmal. In fact it has been shown that if you’re unemployed, you are far more likely to find a job by being left to do it for yourself! Yet the money still rolls in for the hundreds of companies contracted and subcontracted to deliver this worse than useless service. Companies like Pinnacle People are paid to coerce large numbers of unemployed people into ‘volunteering’ for unpaid work or face losing their benefits.
Recently the DWP slapped the wrists of major Work Programme vampires Avanta and G4S for not getting enough sick and disabled people into work. The answer? DWP advice is to push the sick harder and to repress any natural feelings of sympathy that might lead to staff treating them kindly rather than bullying them (including those with a 12 month prognosis ie. terminal illness.
- NO to bulling the sick and dying to get any job just so private companies can make a profit from state handouts
- END the parasitic culture of corporate welfare using public money to bankroll the private sector
- STOP pretending that unemployment is the fault of the unemployed and not the fault of the system
- Benefits should be paid according to need as they were intended – they MUST NOT become conditional