Even charities are at it: Workfare Walk of Shame in London

From Boycott Workfare

Plans for a national day of action against charity involvement in workfare are brewing. Already Liverpool has announced an action with others in the pipeline in Edinburgh and Brighton. London also has plans for the day…

Camden High Street, 11.30am, Saturday 8th September.
Meet outside the Nat West opposite Camden Town station.

Workfare – forced unpaid work for people who need social security – can now be found on every high street. Charities – which really should know the difference between forced labour and volunteering – are helping the government roll out workfare on a massive scale: British Heart Foundation’s policy director has stated for the record that every one of their 700 stores has Work Programme placements. To their shame, many other charities are also involved.

In August, a new workfare scheme was announced which will compel people to work without pay for so-called “community benefit”. In other words, community service-style sentences are being meted out for the crime of being unemployed. This comes on top of the plan to put 1.06 million people onto six months’ workfare, mainly in charity and public sector organisations.

Our actions have pushed back the spread of workfare on the high street, now it’s time that charities respond to the call. Come along to this walk of shame to learn who’s in and who’s out and to step up the pressure on the charities which claim to help people but are pushing the unemployed into further poverty and exploitation.

Please help spread the word.

Before then don’t forget the Week of Action against poverty pimps Atos beginning on the 27th August.

3 responses to “Even charities are at it: Workfare Walk of Shame in London

  1. Thank you for writing this post. It’s great to hear that people are waking up to the fact that charities aren’t exempt from criticism just because they’re charities.

    I used to do some genuine volunteer work for the conservation charity BTCV, until I found out they were involved in this. They actually own a subsidiary company called BTCV Enterprises Ltd that runs the Work Programme in some parts of the country.

    You know what really upsets me even more is that when I wrote to them about it, they said they’d done nothing wrong and had nothing to be ashamed of! They also said I was the first person ever to have complained about it, which I find hard to believe. I will never volunteer for them ever again, and I believe other BTCV volunteers have the right to know what they’re up to. They seem to have got off lightly compared to a lot of the other charities.

  2. something survived...

    That’s weird. BTCV told me when I applied I was too sick and disabled to do their work which was out of doors. Mostly removing shrubs, hammering in fence posts and building paths. They said they’d keep my details on file if office work came up. Nothing did. Jobcentre PUS (!) advertised a job as a recruiter and fundraiser for BTCV. However when I looked into it I found out you need to be fit and healthy and basically ablebodied. Also you need a mobile and landline. And a driving licence and a car. And you are meant to cold call people to ask for money, and have to reach set targets and quotas to be paid or keep your job. If you don’t, you are fired; if you do, they set them higher. In this area most people are broke and there are no jobs. 33% are seasonal students. So how do you reach targets?

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