BREAKING NEWS: Sue Ryder have said they will begin a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Government’s mandatory workfare schemes.
An astonishing statement has been produced by so called charity Sue Ryder in which they boast of making millions from forced, unpaid work.
Despite most ethical charities distancing themselves from workfare, Sue Ryder claim that they earn a whopping half a million pounds a week (pdf) from people forced to work in their shops for meagre benefits.
It also appears that Sue Ryder have no qualms about forcing sick and disabled claimants to work for nothing, saying: “To honour our duty of care to Sue Ryder staff and volunteers we ensure people living with conditions that impact on their physical and mental abilities can safely and competently take on roles. We do this by talking honestly about a person’s capabilities and ensuring skills match roles.”
Last year the Government announced that many people on the sickness or disability benefit Employment Support Allowance can now be forced to work unpaid or face being plunged into immediate poverty and possible homelessness by benefit sanctions. Under the regulations, unpaid placements could last as long as two years.
Up until now it had seemed that no organisation was unpleasant enough to take up the Government’s vile offer of free workers on sickness benefits. Even the mass workfare using The Conservation Volunteers (@tcvtweets) amended their workfare policies and pleaded they would not use sick or disabled claimants as forced labour – unless of course they had been fount ‘fit for work’ by Atos, in which case off to the fields with them.
Sue Ryder also participated in the (currently missing, possibly dead) Community Action Programme, under which claimants are sentenced to 720 hours of unpaid work just for the crime of being unable to find a job. As pointed out by Boycott Workfare, this is over twice the highest possible Community Service punishment that can be handed out by the Courts.
Despite Sue Ryder’s claims that their forced workers can leave any time they choose, the reality is that should they do so they will have benefits stopped, possibly for up to three years.
It seems that Sue Ryder are keen to establish themselves as one of the least ethical charities in the UK – an interesting branding strategy, particularly as Marie Curie Cancer Care, who carry out similar work, were one of the first major charities to pull out of workfare.
The only justification Sue Ryder offer for this mass exploitation is that it helps make them lots of money, a significant chunk of which no doubt goes to their highly paid executives.
Yet Scope, MIND, Shelter, Oxfam, Marie Curie, Sense, Age UK, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and countless other charities which depend on income from shops have all made statements claiming they will no longer use people forced to work for free.
If all these charities can live without forced labour then so can Sue Ryder. They will only have themselves to blame when customers and donors abandon them in disgust at their boasts of gross exploitation.
Tell Sue Ryder what you think on twitter @sue_ryder or on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SueRyderNational
Join the National Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1996
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid