Over 200 charities and voluntary organisations have now signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement in response to the Government’s launch of mass workfare.
As pointed out by Boycott Workfare, this vastly outnumbers the 70 organisations that the DWP claim have backed the new Community Work Placements, which involve 780 hours forced work under the threat of meagre benefits being stopped.
Many more charities have confirmed they will not be involved in the scheme on twitter, including household names such as British Red Cross, Scope and Friends of the Earth. This is a disaster for the DWP as they attempt to find tens of thousands of workfare placements in the voluntary sector.
It could also spell trouble for Mandatory Work Activity (MWA), the shorter workfare scheme which used to punish claimants when Jobcentre busy-bodies decide they aren’t trying hard enough to find work. The Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement does not just apply to the new six month workfare scheme, but all mandatory unpaid work for benefits. Visit the Keep Volunteering Voluntary website for a handy guide to current workfare schemes.
Mandatory Work Activity suffered another blow this week after St Werburgh’s City Farm in Bristol suspended their involvement with workfare following a protest by Bristol Anarchist Federation. With many of the larger charities now publicly distancing themselves from forced work, actions like these, to pick off the smaller users of workfare, will be vital. If you know of an organisation near you who uses forced unpaid work then contact Boycott Workfare to have them named and shamed.
Boycott Workfare are also calling for everyone opposed to workfare to contact local voluntary groups and charities and ask them to sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary: “If you’re part of a voluntary organisation, or you know one that hasn’t signed the agreement yet, then please ask them to sign the pledge. Any kind of voluntary group can sign up: from a union branch to a major charity to a local housing action group.”
Organisations can sign up at: http://www.keepvolunteeringvoluntary.net/signup
Please help spread the word, follow @keepvolvol on twitter and let’s make workfare unworkable.
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