Join the physical or online blockade of the Salvation Army!

jesus-workfare-salvationFrom Boycott Workfare

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty will be holding another of their regular and extremely successful blockades of the Salvation Army on Saturday morning from 11am onwards.

Join in with an online blockade of the Salvation Army’s social media and let them know what you think of their prolific and unashamed use of forced unpaid labour.

Make your feelings known and you may even get to join the prestigious ‘Banned by the Salvation Army over workfare related comments’ facebook group.

Although the Salvation Army are steering clear of the government’s latest workfare programme, the 6 month long Community Work Placements, they are still major users of workfare, taking part in Mandatory Work Activity and the Work Programme. The Salvation Army have expressed their support for workfare for sick and disabled people using the disturbing phrase “emancipation through employment”. Their enthusiastic support of workfare has won them praise from the government last year that they were ‘holding the line’ as other organisations were dropping out of the schemes due to public outrage.

We will keep the pressure on until they fully withdraw from all workfare schemes which threaten people with benefit sanctions of up to 3 years, causing hunger and homelessness.

Contact the Salvation Army UK on Facebook and on Twitter: @salvationarmyuk

They can be telephoned on (020) 7367 4500 or emailed at: info@salvationarmy.org.uk

Please spread the word!

The Salvation Army’s youth section are on facebook here.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Meet The Green Workfare Charity Boss Who Also Runs A Biotech Firm And Builds On Greenbelt Land

bob-lawsonThere are few things more contemptible than those who claim in public to care about poverty or the environment, yet show no such scruples when it comes to making a buck.

Bob Lawson is the Chairman of the Groundwork Federation, an organisation currently the target of anti-workfare protests.  Groundwork are a ‘green’ charity, who boast on their website of ‘helping people create healthier, safer and greener places’.

Like so many of the idle rich, Lawson doesn’t just have one non-job, he has three.  When not prancing around pretending to be some kind of eco-warrior, Bob Lawson is also the Chairman of Barratt Developments PLC.  This organisation have a very different approach to creating healthier and greener places, which mostly involves the use of a bull-dozer.  There have been countless protests against the company who are currently littering the countryside with houses for posh people.  Barratt would rather build on greenbelt land than create green spaces.  They have also been the target of anger for attempting to water down social housing provision. 

Lawson’s third job is as the Chairman of Genus plc.  Mostly this company genetically modifies cows and pigs to sell to the factory farm industry.  Never trust a hippy.

Bob Lawson is not the only hypocrite at the Groundwork Federation.  Their CEO Graham Duxbury wrote in a piece for the Huffington Post last year that we should “hang our heads in shame” about people finding themselves forced to choose between heating or eating.  Yet some of those people will have been sanctioned for failing to attend workfare organised by Groundwork.  Benefit sanctions are one of the biggest causes of people forced to depend on foodbanks, and facing what Duxbury calls “real agonies”.  It is not us who should hang our heads in shame.  It is Graham Duxbury and his planet-fucking Chairman.

As part of the week of action against workfare tell Groundwork what you think of their use of forced labour on twitter @groundworkuk and facebook them here 

For the latest news on the week of action against workfare visit:  http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Take Action Against The Green Charities Profiteering From Workfare

groundworkuk-ruining-livesFrom Boycott Workfare

Environmental charities The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) and Groundwork UK are two of the biggest workfare exploiters in the UK.  Both accept forced labour placements, often to carry out hard, outdoor, physical work, and both have lucrative contracts to manage workfare schemes

Both charities have been invited by the DWP to help run Community Work Placements – the upcoming mass workfare scheme which involves a shocking 780 hours of unpaid work.  As some more enlightened charities have stated these placements are not volunteering.  Anyone who refuses one of these unpaid positions will face brutal benefit sanctions.

Groundwork receive huge amounts of tax payer’s money already from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the National Lottery.  Unlike other organisations they have remained silent about their use of forced labour despite repeated criticism on social media.  With the Government paying their bills, they are more like a workfare Quango than a real charity.

Both charities however do not just rely on the government funding to survive, but also the goodwill of genuine volunteers, community groups and partners.  As part of the week of action, let’s make sure everyone knows about their dirty little workfare secrets.

Groundwork are on twitter @groundworkuk and facebook them here You can email them at: info@groundwork.org.uk
Tel: 0121 236 8565

Groundwork have local branches throughout the UK.  To find contact details for the nearest visit: http://www.groundwork.org.uk/Page/map

The Conservation Volunteers are on twitter @TCVtweets and facebook them here

Email them at: information@tcv.org.uk
Tel: 01302 388 883

To find your local TCV office visit this website

But please note: Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls/emails will be low paid retail/admin staff and could even be on workfare themselves. Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls or send communications which are threatening, indecent or offensive

For the latest news on the week of action against workfare visit:  http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

Sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exception

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Trade Unions Unite For Militant And Sustained General Strike Len McClusky Announces

"Fuck the law ... I'll go to jail if I have to" said McClusky

“Fuck the law … I’ll go to jail if I have to” said McCluskey

In a genuinely historic move, every trade union in the UK has signed up to a sustained general strike against austerity which could begin in the next few days Unite leader Len McCluskey has confirmed.

The shock announcement comes after months of secret meetings by union bosses in which agreement was reached to take decisive action to fight back against the demolition of the welfare state and NHS.  In a statement released early this morning McCluskey said:  “We are tearing up the rule book.  Fuck the law, I’ll go to jail if I have to.  It’s time to take a decisive stand and we call on everybody, in or out of work, to join  a sustained militant campaign  to support the strikes.”

Every union is believed to have agreed to take part and to adopt old style tactics, such as squads of flying pickets, to strengthen the strike.  They have called on non-union members to help them blockade workplaces and picket the homes of scabs.  Only those staff involved in essential services, such as emergency healthcare and processing pensions and benefit payments will remain at work.

McCluskey confirms that unions will ballot on a strike within two weeks, however walk-outs could start to take place in the next few days: “We will not wait.  This Government would make all trade union activity illegal if they had their way.  It’s time to show them that no matter what laws they introduce we will resist them and we are millions strong.  The fightback starts now and it stops only when we win,  We will bring this country to a standstill.”

He was joined in the announcement by Mark Serwotka of the PCS Union which counts thousands of Jobcentre staff amongst their members.  In a surprise move Serwotka apologised to claimants for the union’s inaction to date:  “We got it wrong,” he said “we should have acted much earlier.  The leadership of the PCS Union can only issue a sincere apology to all who have suffered under this regime and we are desperate to make amends.  From today we are instructing our members to refuse to impose benefit sanctions or administer the Work Capability Assessment.  We hope to  have a full strike in place, with every Jobcentre and DWP office closed, by the end of the week.”

McCluskey continued: “All of us took our eyes off the ball, there is no doubt about that and it is time to rectify that situation.  We cannot stand another five years of neo-liberal reforms”

On the subject of the Labour Party, McCluskey continued: “The modern Labour Party is pathetic and the party political system is broken.  Unless they stand behind this strike in both word and deed then the Labour Party will not see another penny from any trade union”.  Senior Labour Party figures were said to be reeling from the news.  Owen Jones, for once, was unavailable for comment.

Instead unions are set to pour millions into grassroots campaigns which are committed to using direct action tactics to fight back against austerity policies.  “Close motorways, occupy public buildings, be creative and most of all cost the bastards money” said McCluskey, “whatever you need, we will pay, details of how to apply for funding will be available on our website from tomorrow.”

Unions are believed to have taken action to protect cash reserves to protect against government attempts to sequester or block funds.  Detailed secret contingency plans are in place should union leaders be jailed.

The move comes as over 100 anti-poverty and disability charities signed a statement pledging non-cooperation with this, or any government until every single welfare reform introduced by Iain Duncan Smith is revoked.  Some of the biggest organisations in the country are even set to give up charitable status to allow them to campaign more vigorously against government policy.  A spokesperson for the Leonard Cheshire Foundation confirmed the news: “Enough is enough, it’s time to fight back, by any and all means necessary.”.

Senior Tories have yet to comment on the move, but McCluskey is unrepentant.  Revealing his personal motivation for the strikes he explained: “I did not come into trade unionism to see everything that working class people have fought for over the years destroyed whilst we stand on the sidelines.  History will not forgive us if we do not act now.  We will not go back to work until a radical new settlement is reached or until the whole rotten neo-liberal charade comes crashing down.  I’m proud to be part of this great initiative which will place trade unions right back where they should be – at the heart of working class struggle.”

(do not hold your fucking breath, sadly this could only ever be an April Fool)

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

There’s Still No Pay At The Y.M.C.A – Boycott Workfare Target Forced Labour Charity

ymca-protestA lively protest was held both inside and outside the head offices of so-called charity the YMCA today as part of the week of action against workfare.

Several demonstrators from Boycott Workfare carried out a short occupation of the charity’s offices before holding a protest outside where a sound system played and protesters sang the familiar ‘There’s no pay at the Y.M.C.A.”.

Lots of leaflets were handed out and many people expressed shock that a charity claiming to help the homeless would be involved in not just workfare, but also administering benefit sanctions.  The YMCA themselves have said that sanctions, which can leave people with nothing to live on at all, can have a ‘devastating impact’ on the lives of young people.

This hasn’t stopped them being part of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme and the Work Programme – both of which are backed by the same sanctions that the YMCA claim are of such concern to them.

In a major victory for all those who have campaigned against the charity it is believed that they have now decided not to be involved in Community Work Placements – the latest six month long workfare scheme being launched at the end of this month.  They are however involved in Traineeships which can involve up to six months unpaid work for private companies.  In his Autumn Statement George Osborne announced that people under the age of 21 who refuse an unpaid Traineeship will face being sent on a Community Work Placement instead.

An online action has also been called against the charity so you can tell them what you think of their use of workfare on twitter @YMCA_England or facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/YMCA.England

For more details and the latest news on the week of action visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Iain Duncan Smith Should Be Put On Trial Over The Work Capability Assessment Deaths

atos_kills_bannerThe tragic death of severely unwell Mark Wood, who died of malnutrition just five months after he was found ‘fit for work’ by Atos and the DWP, was not just ‘wrong’ as the Government have today admitted – it was grossly negligent.  Whether this negligence was criminal must be urgently investigated.

Morally, and almost certainly legally, the DWP have a duty of care when making decisions which can potentially devastate the lives of those called  ‘vulnerable adults’ by care professionals.  The Work Capability Assessment, which led to the death of Mark Wood, has already been found unfair for people with mental health conditions in the courts.  Instead of halting the assessments based on this judgement, Iain Duncan Smith has brushed it aside – convinced he knows better than the courts, the medical establishment and the thousands of sick and disabled people themselves driven to despair by the current system.

Mark Wood’s death is far from the first linked to welfare reforms.  A recent report by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (PDF) highlighted another suicide which they found was directly linked to the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).  In a damning report, the charity surveyed 56 psychiatrists who had treated patients facing one of these crude, computer based assessments.  Their findings are both horrifying and desperately sad:

“85% of the 52 respondents to this question told us about an increased frequency of appointments. 65% had at least one patient who required an increased dose of medication and 35% reported at least one patient who had changed medication. 40% had at least one patient who had self-harmed after the WCA. 13% of respondents reported that a patient had attempted suicide and 4% (two RMOs) stated that a patient had taken his/her own life. 35% said that at least one of their patients had been admitted to hospital as a consequence of the WCA and 4% told us about a patient being detained under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003.”

The Work Capability Assessment must be brought to an immediate halt.  Even the company in charge, the notorious Atos, finally seem to have realised this, confirming this week they will pull out of the contract early.  This is the only way to stop any more deaths, and it needs to happen now, as in this week.  Otherwise more people will die.

It is no longer enough however to call just for the Government to scrap every aspect of the bungled and brutal welfare reforms that are destroying so many lives.  People are dying in one of the richest countries in the world as a direct result of this horrifying attack on the very poorest people.  The politicians in charge know this, but are happy to let these deaths continue as part of the ideologically driven obsession with proving that people on benefits are scroungers or fakes and that unemployment is caused by unemployed people.

According to the Daily Mail, David Cameron has backed an urgent review into the Work Capability Assessment.  This review should not just look into the failures in the process but assess whether negligence has taken place and if so who is culpable and whether criminal charges can be brought.  If Iain Duncan Smith. Atos or the DWP, can be put on trial over these shameful deaths it will not bring anyone back.  But at the very least it will send a message to every politician, today and long into the future, that the UK’s legal system will not tolerate reckless cost-cutting experiments that put human lives at risk.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Week Of Action Against Workfare Begins: Please Spread The Word!

boycott-workfare-week-of-actionJoin the online action today against workfare exploiters @SUBWAYUKIreland in solidarity with #fastfoodrights. Tell them what you think on facebook, or for more info go to: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

The Week of Action Against Workfare begins today with actions across the UK and online scheduled over the next seven days.

The week has been called in response to mass unpaid work schemes such as Traineeships and comes in the month that Community Work Placements are set to be launched.  These mandatory placements will mean unemployed people forced to work in at charities and in so-called community organisations for a period of six months.

In a huge embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, workfare’s biggest supporters The Salvation Army have already announced that this scheme is too exploitative even for them to stomach.  The charity had been invited by the DWP to bid for a lucrative sub-contract to administer the placements.  Other charities are also rumoured to be pulling out of the scheme – watch this space or keep an eye on Boycott Workfare’s website and twitter feed @boycottworkfare.

Protests and actions are already planned this week in Cardiff (tomorrow and on Friday April 4th) , Edinburgh, Liverpool, Brighton, Swansea and Glasgow.  Feel free to post details of additional events in the comments.

Online events will also be taking place throughout the week, I’ll try post them here but visit Boycott Workfare’s website for the latest news and join the facebook page for the week of events.

Please share, blog and tweet details of all events.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid