Sue Ryder Claim They Will Undertake a Phased Withdrawal From Workfare

endunpaidwork1In a humiliating blow to Iain Duncan Smith’s mass workfare schemes, charity Sue Ryder have said they will  issue a “phased withdrawal” from mandatory DWP workfare programmes.

This announcement came late today after hundreds of people contacted them over the weekend threatening to boycott the charity unless they ended workfare.  The charity state:

“Recent online lobbying using strong and emotive language and making misleading claims about our volunteering practices has presented a risk to our critical work. Equally we need to protect our service users, their families, our supporters and Sue Ryder staff and volunteers from any further distress.

Therefore, we have taken the decision to withdraw from the DWP’s mandatory back-to-work schemes. We do this with a heavy heart as our volunteers, including those on placements, regularly tell us how much they have benefited from their time with us and we are immensely grateful to them for their time and dedication. We will undertake a phased withdrawal from the scheme so as not to financially disadvantage any of our volunteers on this type of placement.”

In truth outrage about Sue Ryder’s activities exploded when the charity tried to misrepresent their unpaid workers by referring to them as ‘volunteers’.  Many people forced to work at the charity were on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.  Under DWP rules claimants cannot volunteer for this scheme.  Sue Ryder also had participants on the Community Action Programme, six months workfare which is anything but ‘voluntary’.

Sue Ryder were the only charity so far to admit they would use sick and disabled workfare staff.  In a major blow for the Government’s plans to force sick and disabled claimants to work unpaid, it now seems that no charity is prepared publicly take free workers under this scheme.

Many charities have been less than honest about their use of unpaid workers and Sue Ryder will need monitoring carefully to ensure they don’t sneak workfare back in.  It is also unclear what is meant by mandatory schemes.  Mass sanctioning is taking place throughout Jobcentres, and claimants live in fear of being plunged into poverty should they fail to carry out the endless DWP diktats.  This means even the so called voluntary workfare schemes such as Work Experience often come with an implicit, or sometimes openly expressed threat of sanctions.

But today’s announcement represents a major victory as one of the last remaining large charities involved in #workfare pull out of at least some of the schemes.

Sadly @salvationarmyuk, @tcvtweets, @ymca_england and @RSPCA_official are some of the charities still involved.

As are many High Street names including Poundland, Superdrug, Shoezone and Argos, who all expect young people to carry out unpaid work with only the vaguest chance of a job at the end.

Join the Week of Action Against Workfare beginning March 18th and help bring an end to forced labour for charities and unpaid work for profit making companies:

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid


81 responses to “Sue Ryder Claim They Will Undertake a Phased Withdrawal From Workfare

  1. Pingback: Join The Sue Ryder Rolling Online Picket and Help Stop Workfare! | the void

  2. Pingback: Not Content With Mass Workfare, Now Sue Ryder Want to Take Over the NHS! | the void

  3. Pingback: Sue Ryder Admit They Will Force Sick and Disabled Claimants to Work Unpaid (and that workfare doesn’t work) | the void

  4. Pingback: We Make Millions From Forcing Sick and Disabled to Work Unpaid Boast Sue Ryder | the void

  5. Well that’s a start anyway. Posting complaints on Facebook may have helped but the thing is Johnny if it is the case that they have been sacking employees then re hiring them back as unpaid volunteers which is what it looks like they have been doing then what ?
    Ok so how do we tackle the NHS outsourcing to them then? The fight with sue ryder ain’t over yet

  6. Brilliant result! But let’s hope they really do withdraw.

  7. Well, that’s one battle apparently won, but the war isn’t over yet, far from it.

  8. I think we should go back on Facebook and Twitter and give sue ryder a telling off about this NHS thing after all anything to do with NHS privatisation is a hot topic and after grudgingly caving in on the workfare thing you never know it might help . Surely they couldn’t cope with two pr disasters

  9. I’ll still be boycotting Sue Ryder and any other workfare abusers.
    And as to the antagonistic gobshites who posted on here whinging we are all internet keyboard warriors wasting our time on hot air and expletives…
    Well, the evidence is plain to see what communication via these groups is capable of

  10. ‘ We do this with a heavy heart as our volunteers, including those on placements, regularly tell us how much they have benefited from their time with us and we are immensely grateful to them for their time and dedication.’

    There is nothing stopping you from taking on volunteers the old fashioned way ie without fear of punishment/sanction. That these scams have the word ‘mandatory’ in them suggests that these people aren’t there voluntarily.

  11. Dont they even Know what the word MANDATORY means?

  12. Great news about Sur Ryder.

    Has anyone seen the rules and regulations about the new Poundland/DWP workfare scheme? Aparently it’s totally voluntary and no sanctions can be given out for giving them up.

    • Maybe, but it probably won’t stop the Jobcentre mandating you to another workfare placement for not taking up a “skilling” opportunity.

  13. clearly not they are scum… right who is next salvation army or rspca?

  14. Pingback: Sue Ryder Claim They Will Undertake a Phased Withdrawal From Workfare | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's |

  15. I always thought the Salvation army were a bunch of fucking weirdos anyway but seeing the RSPCA involved in this is disgusting. They are meant to love animals but the fuckers clearly hate fellow humans, I hope the PDSA are not similarly involved.

  16. A very unapologetic withdrawal. I think we should watch Sue Ryder carefully – just in case!!!

  17. The PDSA have been terrible with animals of people I know, myself included. No confidence in them at all.Misdiagnosed illnesses leading to death amongst others. I appreciate they are good for many things. Glad to see they pulled out but annoyed they were ever in.

  18. ” ….we are immensely grateful to them for their time and dedication.” Does that mean they will be offering some sort of financial remuneration at the minimum legal wage for the hours that they have been forced to do? They STILL do not appear to think they have done anything wrong or show any remorse for their exploitation of the most vulnerable members of OUR society. No, Sue Ryder, this will NOT be forgotten.

  19. “Recent online lobbying using strong and emotive language and making misleading claims about our volunteering practices has presented a risk to our critical work.”

    Misleading! People who are forced to work for free or else lose their benefit are not volunteers. Only the wilfully blind could interpret matters as Sue Ryder do.

    “We will undertake a phased withdrawal from the scheme so as not to financially disadvantage any of our volunteers on this type of placement.”

    Curious. Is this really saying: “so as not to financially disadvantage Sue Ryder?” How long can a “phased withdrawal” of “the” scheme last?

  20. I will not ever give any of these dirty charities a single penny or a single item to sell unless it’s useless you cannot treat people like cash cows and then say we will be pulling out in our own time. The worst bit is i suspect that a few of these “slaves ” would have given their time for nothing anyway and now they can go and crawl back under the stone they came from.
    Next step the other so called charity’s one at a time,
    Who say’s no one listens ,hit them in the pocket that’s the only language they know!.

  21. I think we should thank sue rider for listening to the people and urge them to listen some more

  22. Tory MP who called British workers lazy calls for workfare protestors to be arrested and BBC bias in league with ‘hard left militants ‘

    • Is this fascism which I see before me?

    • IDS can go kiss my ass – peaceful protests are NOT against the law and by requesting that Workfare protestors be arrested shows that IDS now thinks he can tell the law what to do – what a fucking idiot.

  23. Company : sue ryder
    Position: retail assistant
    Salary: n/a voluntary work

  24. bobchewie (6:42 am), Patel was, is and will always be an idiot. Has she done a single day’s useful work in her life? The answer is no. And of course, SR’s “phased withdrawal” means they will hang on to the scheme as long as possible.

  25. We really need to celebrate success more, after all it proves that popular opinion DOES matter

  26. On the universal job match using the drop down menu for job types there is weather forecaster and weapons technician and weapons specialist
    What fun eh?
    But i came across this discrepency

    Catalogue Distributor/Collector
    Job description
    Self-employed opportunity. Delivering/collecting home shopping catalogues in your locality. Includes ordering/delivering merchandise.

    More available to ambitious individuals including leadership opportunities. Enquire on-line and the info will be sent to you via email.
    The company has given an assurance that this vacancy enables workers to achieve a wage equivalent to the National Minimum Wage rate. Self-employed people are responsible for paying their own National Insurance contributions and Tax. For information on how benefits are affected and whether entitlement may be lost, speak to a Jobcentre Plus Adviser.

    So self employed which pays minimum wage.. so I pay myself nmw do I?
    Thats good of me.

    • Probably Betterware or kleeneze. Did one of those, can’t remember which, about 10 years ago, after a month of being out in all weathers (it seemed to do nothing but rain) I made in commission the princely sum of £7.50. And the DWP now class this as a job!

    • More opportunities to get bitten by man’s best friend, when you go into people’s yards to deliver and collect the catalogues is more like it.

  27. Students [and jobseekers, particularly those using the jobcentres’ Universal Jobmatch] warned not to get involved in money laundering

    Fraud experts are warning that hundreds of thousands of people are in danger of being duped into laundering money for fraudsters.

    They are being recruited as unwitting “money mules” who allow their own bank accounts to be used to disguise the proceeds of crime.

    The study was carried out by Financial Fraud Action, which tackles fraud on behalf of banks.

    It said that students and jobseekers could be especially vulnerable.

    Some 19% of students who had been approached had agreed to become money mules.

    “It’s a very serious problem,” warns DCI Dave Carter, an investigator from Financial Fraud Action.

    “Almost every single criminal transaction that goes on depends on money mules, to turn the money from crime into something the criminals can spend themselves.”

    How it works

    The fraudsters contact likely targets by sending out mass emails offering employment, or after sifting through CVs posted by job seekers on employment websites and in particular the jobcentre’s Universal Jobmatch Site.

    Then they offer jobs as “money transfer agents”, “payment processing agents” or “administration assistants” for salaries of hundreds of pounds a week.

    It looks like a proper job offer, but the real purpose is to channel cash from criminal activity through a person’s own bank account, making them the fraudster’s money mule.

    Kayleigh Rance has been hunting for work for a year. She was taken in and even signed a contract. Then, luckily, she pulled out.

    “It just makes you feel a bit sick,” she complains, “I feel like I’ve got to go through all the websites now [ in particular the jobcentres’s Universal Jobmatch site that my jobcentre “adviser” tricked me into signing up to because I strongly suspect this is where I was targeted as this site is known to be riddled with fake jobs, bogus employers, and scams ] and take my CV off because I don’t want it to happen again.”

    The dirty cash comes from credit card fraud, money stolen from bank accounts and other rip-offs.

    Paying it into the money mule’s account disguises where it comes from. The mule transfers it to an account in an overseas bank, controlled by the fraudster. It is classic money laundering.

    Some money mules are paid by a straightforward cut of the cash being handled. A typical share would be 8%.


    The first mules tended to be new entrants to the UK, processing funds generated by crime within their own communities in London and other major cities.

    But the power of the internet has allowed the perpetrators to start targeting other groups, including students desperate to earn some extra cash.

    Financial Fraud Action commissioned ICM to question 2,000 adults along with separate groups exclusively made up of students, jobseekers and new entrants to the UK.

    Around 15% had received the suspect job offers. Overall 6% of those who had been approached accepted the offers, rising to 13% of the unemployed, 19% of students and 20% of new entrants.

    Crimestoppers is running a campaign in universities across the UK to warn students not to be fooled into becoming involved, telling them: “Don’t be a mule!”.

    ‘Colossal Risk’ [in using the jobcentre’s Universal Jobmatch Site]

    Megan Owen, who is studying criminology, volunteered to help at one recent event in Birmingham City University.

    “Lots of students we approached said they’d been affected or their friends had been affected,” she said.

    Extrapolating from its survey, Financial Fraud Action concludes that 380,000 people could have become unwitting money mules.

    The figure is a stab in the dark, but it’s clear that the problem is becoming worse and that few of those who become involved understand the risks they are running.

    Their bank accounts could be frozen. If prosecuted, they could be sent to prison for up to 10 years.

    “It’s a colossal risk,” warns DCI Carter, “In fact you are taking almost all the risk on behalf of the criminal. That’s why they ask – the money mules are the ones most likely to be caught.”

  28. Hey, we say Basta to austerity, a great big fuck off to austerity from you friends in Italy!

  29. Didn’t Sue Ryder resign from her own charity and set up a new one claiming that SR had been hijacked by the Trustees?

  30. A phased withdrawal from workfare so as not to financially disadvantage volunteers? How can they be financially disadvantaged when they don’t receive any financial advantage in the first place?

    Rather she’s advocating a phased withdrawal so as to not financially disadvantage the company itself when they have to start paying people again to work there.

  31. Using the UJM you can find interesting jobs like this.

    Seetec Group
    Employment Consultant
    Job description
    With over 25 years experience, Seetec are one of the UK’s largest and most experienced providers of Government funded welfare to work and skills training programmes. We are passionately committed to empowering individuals and organisations to release their potential through our employment and training programmes and our software solutions. Seetec help thousands of people each year to achieve and sustain their aspirations for lasting employment, due to the passion and motivation of our employees. In return, our employees are rewarded with a competitive salary and benefits package, along with the satisfaction that their work has made a difference to our clients lives.

  32. this whole Workfare program reminds me of the film Shindlers List
    the Nazis let Shindler have workers for his factory to work for bed and board otherwise the Nazis would have killed those Jews
    is that what is happening today in Britain if the citizen is no longer of use to the state they are turned into slaves working for their food and board or they are cut off from the system of support and left to fend for themselves and eventually die, the Nazis had the Warsaw ghetto we just have the whole of Britain, there is no escape.
    comments welcome.

    • Latest developments: – reductions in Council Tax Benefit; Housing Benefit (via Bedroom Tax) = people forcibly moved away from their communities/families = ghettoising coming soon to a city near you.

  33. Pingback: The Workfare Army | the void

  34. I’ve just called Sue Ryder and told them that we still object to the use of any unpaid workers who are on benefits because of the pressure they’re under, and because of the trend to replacing paid jobs with unpaid placements. They say they have pulled out of any schemes where individuals could face sanctions, but are continuing with Work Experience placements, only ‘making sure that it is genuinely voluntary’. Yeah, right.

    Not at all good enough. What we can conclude from these various grudging and partial pull-outs is that the companies feel under pressure. But without making a strong political impact on the practice of any unpaid work under any name, companies will be able to go on with it on a massive scale, simply because of the difficulty of monitoring and targeting the numerous schemes used by numerous companies.

    Of course, this monitoring and targeting must go on, but accompanied by a broader ideological battle against the creeping acclimatization of the public to unpaid work, which threatens eventually to become the norm at the lower levels of employment.

  35. All people who work at Sue Ryder ARE volunteers. Do your research idiots.

    • Yeah, we know MANDATORY “volunteers” … 🙂

    • @ A volunteer FUCK OFF! CUNT!

    • Also, I say this all of this as a volunteer in the shop, including several other places. I volunteer because I don’t have full time work. I’m not a daily mail reader, I’m one of these legions of people you’re supposedly defending. Boycott the corporations not the charities.

      • Prefer The Sun do you?

      • A volunteer,
        Will you volunteer to come and do my cleaning, washing, gardening, ps the front of my house needs painting to, oops forgot a few slates have come loose on the roof as well, (do you get the picture now) ps dont forget volunteers DONT get paid

      • Volunteer, you’re a mug, charities ARE big corporations you idiot. Where do you think the vast majority of donations go? Into the pockets of the CEOs so they run can run around in the latest 4x4s & have leisurely lunches charged to expenses, bit like MPs actually.
        Do you honestly think those in charge of what ever charity you’re giving your own precious time to is any different?
        Now run off back to your ivory tower & remember “charity begins at home” & if you’ve got any sense at all you won’t give another second of your time to any so-called “charity”

  36. When are we going to target the PCS members who actually enable this immoral activity?
    Or aren’t we allowed to mention that?

  37. A response by Sue Ryder to a comment made on Facebook.

    “We are indeed withdrawing from Workfare; it needs to be a phased, properly managed process to ensure that individuals do not face benefit sanctions as a result of our actions. We take our responsibility to everybody who works for us – whether paid or unpaid – very seriously.”

    How would the forced unpaid workers face sanctions if they were told today that forced unpaid workers would no longer be working for Sue Ryder?

  38. Another response:

    “Apologies if there is any confusion here, it’s not our intent to avoid any questions. In the case of those individuals that do not wish to continue their placements with us, we will be speaking with the placement providers to begin the transition process. We don’t anticipate this taking any longer than a week.”

    Are placement providers the best people to speak to? A clear and emphatic statement on the Sue Ryder website that you want nothing more to do with workfare from today would be welcome. Placement providers will get the message. If anyone wishes to volunteer for Sue Ryder they will get in touch. I use the word “volunteer” in its traditional sense i.e. someone who freely chooses to do something; not someone who is forced to work for free.

  39. I agree with all the other posters that Sue Ryder seem anything but contrite at what they have been doing and the only thing that has stopped them is the backlash from the public. Their use of weasel words that try to give the impression they are being treated unfairly makes it clear they would go back to what they were doing without any scruples at the first opportunity.

    It’s also good to note that the Banks are worried about fraud – not their own but those that Job Seekers and students might get involved in:

  40. Sue Ryder Appeal

    “Just £20 a month will help us to provide a bowl of cold soup and a stale roll for “Carol” who has been made homeless and hungry due to receiving a three year benefit sanction inflicted by a DWP “decision maker” for “failing to attend” her Mandatory Work Activity placement in one of our sweatshops. We done all we could to “help and support” “Carol” but rules are rules. Please give generously!! Thank you!!”

  41. Jeff

    When I refused to do voluntary work they phrased to look like I was not doing enough to find work and sanctioned me anyway.

  42. Workfare should be scrapped period, it’s not fit for purpose and quite frankly has been a disaster from the start. Nothing this government has put in place is conducive to finding employment for those mentally and physically able to work and have a desire to do so. Typical of the coalition to create problems and then put in place a substandard option to try and tackle the problem.

    When all this comes to pass it will undoubtedly be a scandal as to how many problems they created where none existed, how many botched solutions at massive expense to the taxpayers they put in place that create further problems that again cost more to the taxpayer in trying to fix those self-induced problems.

    It will make grown men and women weep how much money they throw down the toilet whilst never practicing what they preach, in my opinion it’s as if the coalition are standing in the middle of a minefield and nobody has a metal-detector yet they lurch randomly in one direction and then the other
    in ungainly fashion thinking up insane ideas as the explosions ring out and each explosion costing more and more to the taxpayer.

    It’s hardly surprising really of their failure mainly because they are out of touch and were never in touch with the average men and women in society who watch their pence and pounds.. how could they ever succeed? it’s irrational to even think the Tory party alone.. regardless of the Lib-Dems could understand enough to make the right decisions without throwing a spanner in the works and destroying the whole machine. They cannot Fix, they cannot Improve, they can only destroy and privatise by stealth, it’s in their DNA, as it is in those who support them, if in any doubt just look at what is slowly happening to the NHS.

  43. not going off subject

    After being unemployed for three months, the job centre has now stated that i am being placed on this work fare, mandatory work experience, or whatever it is. Well then if its compulsory, i will attend. On my day off i will be standing outside the shop with a placard stating they are using workfare to exploit.


  44. While volunteers are being exploited they cannot look for non existent jobs!! If any genuine full time proper remunerated jobs existed on their website, why ever would anyone tolerate being used and abused when they would have the dignity of a proper income, not reliant on benefits such as tax credits, truly self supporting? Why would they deprive themselves and family of clothes adequate food holidays activities for the children? Boycott all these sponging charities, no legacies, no donated goods. Each shop you go into ask the staff if they are a forced dwp volunteer. Name and shame every branch using forced labour.

  45. I really like what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

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