Boycott Workfare in Brum, Brighton, Leeds and Kilburn

Resistance to unpaid labour continues around the UK with at least four anti-workfare protests taking place over the next fortnight.

This Saturday 3rd November North London Solidarity Federation will be meeting outside Poundland in Kilburn High Road from noon.

All welcome, more info on facebook at:

On the same day in Brighton a picket of Superdrug has been called by Brighton Benefits Campaign.  Meet at the Clock Tower from noon on Saturday 3rd November:

The Leeds Unemployment Action Group will also be taking action on 3rd November with Argos, Superdrug and Poundland in their sights.  Meet at 2pm outside Argos on Headrow:

On the 10th November Boycott Workfare West Midlands will be holding a demonstration at so called charity British Heart Foundation on Harborne High Street.  British Heart Foundation are one of the largest charities making use of forced labour under the Mandatory Work Scheme.  Join in from 11.30 am at British Heart Foundation, 159 High Street Harborne, Birmingham, West Midlands B17 9QE.  More info at:

If you can’t make Birmingham then don’t forget to tweet British Heart Foundation to demand they pay their workers and pull out of all workfare schemes @thebhf

Please help share, tweet and help spread the word about all events.  Feel free to post details of any other anti-workfare action taking place in the comments.

13 responses to “Boycott Workfare in Brum, Brighton, Leeds and Kilburn

  1. Outraged TV Viewer

    Auntie Beeb gives free advertising to George Fucking Osborne and Little; they could at least try and be a bit more subtle

    Osborne & Little for all your chipboard wallpaper needs

    Fast forward to 2:14

    • lol, love, they don’t “do” chipboard lol the posh fuckers

    • Another Outraged TV Viewer

      And the bloke with “British Airways” under his name is obviously from some advertising/PR agency. And I thought the BBC was supposed to be advertisement-free – isn’t that what we pay our TV licence for 🙂

  2. North London Solidarity Federation need to get their act together. “You need to log-in to Fakebook to view this page”. Yeah, only if you want a visit from the plod. Fuck fucking track n trace spy tool Fakebook.

  3. Pingback: Weekly round-up blog: 2 November | Red Pepper blog | Red Pepper

  4. something survived...

    did you mean the poor are to be turned into chipboard? like the foodstuff soylent green?

  5. something survived...

    I didn’t know Poundland was using Workfare
    till now. Normally you assume shop staff are paid; that charity shop staff are volunteers. This is creating a new category: Workfare slaves who are unpaid, unwilling to be there, forced to be there. But if in the same uniform you won’t know which is which.

    The locals here that might be sent to Poundland, include people who shoplift in Poundland! How’s that for irony! Will shops be forced to accept Workfare slaves who they know/suspect to be thieves, or who in their civilian lives are actually banned from the store? (for being caught stealing or doing something else)

    This is not just conjecture. A man in my city
    who has mental health problems and is a compulsive shoplifter (at Poundland), just got told to go and work in Poundstretcher, not an official workfare scheme but actually a placement. The funny thing is, he is not meant normally to enter Poundstretcher or much of the area around it. (As a customer)
    He has episodes as in, very bad ones, he has schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder and other issues including paranoia and the compulsive stealing. When he is in a really bad state the authorities have to come.
    Poundstretcher aren’t happy about it either but were told they must take whoever they got sent, and they were sent him. It doesn’t help that he is constantly on drink and drugs making the episodes, hallucinations, delusions, and generalised paranoia even worse.

    On the side of the poor for a minute: It doesn’t take a genius to work out that you have to be pretty desperate if you resort to stealing in Poundland.

    It can’t boost the footfall, people would be more likely to stop going to Poundstretcher if this man was there. Because of his mental health he was officially classed for years as too unstable and unsafe to work, that is to say a risk to himself and others. Now the miracle workers at DWP/Atos, without a medical degree between them, have ‘cured’ him by reclassifying him as ablebodied. Ignoring the evidence of his doctors, they have called him fit for work.
    (I was never his official carer – I met him when I was in the wrong place and wrong time and had to help him. At first I didn’t notice, until he started doing and saying very strange things – then he took me to Poundland where he proceeded to shoplift until I stopped him and made him put it all back. Later somebody told me his medical history.)

    Somebody else, though I don’t know what became of him: He has multiple severe mental health problems, including beliefs that he is with the CIA/FBI and also a liaison with extraterrestrials. Also that he is several thousand years old, immortal, and so on. I thought he was just a bit crazy; but one day he beat me up and another day he was ranting about the Heavens Gate suicide/aliens cult, shaved his head, and tried to shave my head too! He was living in the city’s cheapest block of social housing available to students. Then one day (this is quite a number of years ago) he got thrown out of that accommodation (there are no proper locks on the doors) AND thrown out of university, sectioned in a mental ward and finally released to the care of his parents hundreds of miles away. For a year I’d been saying to the uni I was worried about his behaviour. They ignored me even the time he beat me up AND the time he nearly pushed me off a cliff because his voices told him I was an alien lifeform from his aliens’ enemy planet. Well, his tutor told me what happened to get him evicted, ‘sent down’, and sectioned: Believing himself to be an all-powerful alien, he broke into a female student’s room in his accommodation, and raped her. Why it was not treated as a criminal case, was because the psychiatrists said he’s insane so not responsible for what he does. (I can talk about him as I never called him a friend anyway) No justice for the young woman though!
    That is the background and I only included it to make the point, a) How bad things can actually get, b) Why certain ‘not in employment or education or training’ type people CANNOT safely work.
    As a man they would not send him to work at a women’s refuge (!), but they might send him (or someone like him) to work in a charity with vulnerable people, possibly elderly or disabled people.
    On this guy’s better days you could have an almost normal conversation with him and then suddenly he would say something like he was a Pharaoh and the pyramids were his signalling beacons to bring the Aliens. Or he’d take out a tuning fork and bang it on your head. (Never really got what THAT was about)

    Back to the real world today: The stores in question, Poundland and Argos and Superdrug, are all ones the Jobcentre have forced me to repeatedly apply to, mindlessly on their part, knowing they say
    ‘Previous Applicants Need Not Reapply’.
    All 3 of these stores have told me to my face they will not hire me, as ‘You are too disabled to work for us’. This happens each time I apply, and each time they get angrier with me for still applying as a previous applicant. I explain I was made to apply.

    Now there is Workfare, it’s possible I could be sent as a slave to one or more of these shops, and they’d have to take me, though
    a) They wouldn’t be happy taking me
    b) I wouldn’t be happy
    c) I wouldn’t be able to do the work.

    Another man locally, who can hardly move or talk (and is impossible to understand when he does), is in a powered wheelchair. Now let’s just look at his commute if forced to work at these shops in our city.

    Superdrug: possibly the easiest to get to. A mile or so down the street. But then if you can’t move, how do you reach any shelf let alone the higher ones, how do you serve customers? He wouldn’t even be able to price goods.

    Poundland: A really busy store with all sorts of things in the aisles to obstruct the progress of a wheelchair. To get there you have to go down a steep slope you can’t get back up on your own even if more mobile in a manual wheelchair. There are of course some STEPS… impossible for wheelchairs so you must go round them. And you have to go on the same steep slope. In the opposite direction it’s flatter but only leads to ledges and steps no wheelchair could get past. Also if your wheelchair goes out of control on the main slope down, nothing to stop you going into the main road straight under a bus!

    Argos: Not in town. Several miles away. Argos wages aren’t enough to afford 2 taxis a day every day every week every year! There are very infrequent buses to get there. And his chair can’t actually GET ON a bus. So there are two ways to get there ‘on foot’. One is at least 2 miles on the pavement but a wheelchair couldn’t do all the uneven bits, gaps, traffic, kerbs… The other is to go several more miles along the motorway. It’s not legal to walk there, I’ve done it only when forced by buses that refused to let me on or abandoned me in the middle of nowhere. I was able to mostly use the grass verge in each time. Not possible in a wheelchair. So the wheelchair would have to go in the actual motorway, totally illegally, on the hard shoulder all the way. It’s a really slow chair; in several places you need to cross sliproads or other roads, with very fast traffic all the time. I’m a top disability sprinter and just managed it.
    So this looks like the ‘proposed route’ if he was forced to go to work in this shop. Assuming the battery of the chair doesn’t run out halfway down the motorway, that the chair doesn’t get a puncture or break on the uneven road, that he’s not arrested, that he’s not run over… Are they trying to kill disabled people off? Looks like YES.
    When you reach the industrial estate Argos is still over kerbs a chair can’t get onto, across more roads, and up steep slopes. And inside, the job is never JUST sitting at a till. You have to go and fetch goods from high shelves. There’s no way he could even operate tills. I’m mobile and they said I was not able to get heavy things and/or things high up, so they refused me a job. So hang on, how can I be ‘unfit for work’ when they are looking at me/my application; ‘fit for work’ according to DWP and Work Programme, ‘unfit for work three times over’ (45 points) when I took the Atos test online, and ‘fit for work’ for Workfare, but unfit according to doctors (and eligible to compete in disabled sport)?

    One guy in a major store the other month was (employee I think, with actual pay) walking along picking his nose and eating it, not only in front of co-workers and customers, but right before serving food to the customers. Another store, I saw the bakery guy scratching his dick/balls (hand down pants!) then with bare hands moments later picking up bread rolls and giving them to customers. Testicle Sesame Bun, anyone??? Quite often staff at various stores eating gum or crisps while working. Probably they were all paid staff.

    So what if they were replaced by workfare staff who did not need paying, none of whom wanted to be there? Will staff be spitting in food, or worse? You can’t fire slaves so have to have them there no matter what they do.

    This will happen, some people are this way if paid or not paid. Not a comment on the poor in general, the rich may well do the same if they could get away with it. Some will just put up with it but some will rebel and possibly the customer will bear the brunt of it. If you can currently have PAID staff who (on checkouts) throw your shopping haphazardly into the bag so much of it breaks etc, what would staff do if forced to be there and not paid at all?

    Current Status: On Work Programme. Disabled, sick. Meant to be on Workfare, but all they have ‘on offer’ (NOT an offer, as an offer can be refused) is (now back up and running) working as a builder on a construction site. The site are happily taking people with no training so long as they are tall ablebodied males, able to fit the work boots and clothes, strong enough, etc. The asbestos moving has stopped, now they are building. The Workfare, unlike the paid staff, don’t need training or experience, or qualifications or the CSCS card. So, the laws are being breached, but Workfare are ‘not real people’ so don’t count as employees.
    However. The site bosses have at least some sense: they have categorically told the workfare scheme that they must NOT send me, as there is no way they would ever employ me on a building site. So the WP people are not sending me. But the JCP keeps saying I have to be sent there.
    Tiny, disabled, epilepsy, unable to lift things, can’t do ladders or heights, bad lungs, etc, need constant access to disabled bathroom… Since they don’t give money or food I’d be working in my regular state of starvation which is against health and safety. Also if I see someone doing something wrong, like building something that would fall down, I’d report it, so nobody likes people who tell the truth. Also need lots of time off for clinics. And multiple allergic so would react to lots of substances on building sites. Also don’t tolerate low temperatures and have no body fat or muscle bulk. Often go numb so would drop things carried.

    This building site (they tell kids not to play there for a reason!) has big pits of deep muddy water, and deep mud on the ‘land’. So the next ‘candidate’ to try to bully into a ‘job’ there, would logically be… the man in the powered wheelchair!

    Ian Duncan Smith: Insane Deranged Skeleton. I’ve Died Several (years ago).
    Institutionalised Depressed Sludge.
    Incoming Despair Squid!
    Inbreeding Demonstrated Simply.
    Inferior to Donkey Shit.
    Ill? Disabled? Starve!

    • Cheese n Onion Pastie

      You think the guy scratching his cock/balls was bad, something surivived. I was in Greggs the other day and the woman behind her counter put her hand down her arse and had a good scratch then went on to serve the pasties. Enough to make you puke. Maybe she was on workfare lol

  6. could folk try keep comments to a reasonable length, ta.

  7. Johnny I think you are being a bit harsh on people like something survived, whose comments I personally found truly enlightening despite the length of their article – some people also find it difficult to be concise or to express themselves without using expletatives yet have every right to freedom of speech and expression not that I am saying you are trying to curtail this).

  8. fair point, its not a moderation policy (ie comments wont be deleted for being too long), just an attempt to try and keep debate freeflowing – expletives are also – usually – fine

  9. Pingback: Welfare News Round-Up, 01/11/2012 - Welfare News Service

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