Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England

ymca-photo-joelsp-199x300via Boycott Workfare

YMCA England have come out fighting in the name of workfare with a new statement defending their use of forced unpaid workers on the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme. This follows their slur aimed at anti-workfare campaigners in which they claimed that just a handful of people are opposed to workfare.

Whilst most ethical charities have pulled out or tried to distance themselves from workfare, the YMCA, along with the Salvation Army have happily adopted roles as Iain Duncan Smith’s cheerleaders for unpaid work.

This is despite the YMCA’s own president, the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, saying last year:

“By all means, pay companies incentives to employ young people, but do not take advantage of the vulnerable by using them as free labour.”

The YMCA are justifying their use of forced unpaid workers by claiming that some workfare participants have had a good experience with the charity and they have heard of ‘several’ cases where someone even got a job after attending the scheme.

What they are choosing to ignore is the brutal reality for those sanctioned. Those who refuse forced labour at the YMCA are plunged into immediate poverty with benefits stopped, sometimes for up to three years. Whilst they continue their involvement in this scheme, YMCA England are directly culpable for the poverty, desperation and homelessness of those who refuse to, or are unable to serve as free workers in YMCA charity shops. It is often those who face the greatest difficulties, people who may have a mental health condition, or face other difficulties such as homelessness or substance misuse problems, who find themselves sanctioned for being unable to attend workfare – the very people the YMCA would claim to support.

The evidence shows that the Mandatory Work Activity scheme does not improve people’s chances of finding work. Despite the YMCA’s claims that the scheme is supposed to be beneficial, the Social Security Advisory Committee who scrutinise welfare reform noted (PDF):

“We wonder why, given that the Department views mandatory work activity as a beneficial change, people will not be permitted to volunteer to take part. This seems to us to signal that being mandated to mandatory work activity is regarded as a punishment rather than an opportunity to learn and develop new behaviours and skills.”

A rolling online picket against workfare exploiters in the charitable sector called in the run up to the Week of Action Against Workfare has already led to Sue Ryder pulling out when they realised the extent of public anger at forced unpaid work.

It’s time to show YMCA England that it is not just a handful of people who object to forced unpaid labour. Boycott them and let’s send a storm of online protest to show this charity just how many people are disgusted at their use of workfare.

Read about The Side Of Workfare That The YMCA Don’t Want You To See

YMCA England are on facebook at:

Contact the Bishop on twitter @JohnSentamu or the charity direct @YMCA_England

Phone them on 020 7186 9500 or their shops hotline on 0845 601 0728.

Email: or

They have a youtube channel at:

To find contact details of your nearest YMCA shop visit:

Contact YMCA International to tell the world what this organisation is doing in their name to the poorest and already destitute in the UK @ymcaint or on facebook:

YMCA have a range of fundraising arms including a Fitness Training company on twitter @ymcafit and facebook:

They also run a corporate conference centre called Dunford House 01730 812381

Join the Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th.

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.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

13 responses to “Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England

  1. Mandatory Work Activity is a “punishment” pure and simple; the objective of which is to impose a THREE YEAR benefit sanction for either “failing to attend” or “failing to participate”. A jobseeker sentenced to this brutal scheme is going to lose all means of support one way or the other. Referral to this scheme is a one-way ticket to destitution; it is beyond diabolical that so-called “charities” such as the YMCA and Salvation Army which purport to provide support for the destitute, destitution being the sole aim of MWA, are complicit in this outrage!

  2. I have emailed the YMCA. I will also post on their fb page. People have to fight back now. Enough is enough.

  3. Does any young person want an apprenticeship as a diamond driller? Apparently an employer named Julie something or other went on the daily politics on the BBC, saying she has apprenticeships going but cannot find suitable candidates because of the data protection act, which prompted a government lackey to go into promotion of ujm being just the thing if data protection was not in the way.

    The BBC have so many plants they should be renamed the flowerbed.

    • Let’s not forget the BBC’s IT department is managed by ATOS… say no more!.. it’s a miracle we get programmes like panorama looking undercover at ATOS and other such things as we have in the past.

  4. ps all she had to do was give the name and telephone number of the company and cut out the job centre and the work programme saving the country millions.

    • something survived...

      they wouldn’t be able to use their phones because applicants would be ringing for that job all day!

  5. Rosemarie Harris

    I have sent a letter to Dr John semutue, just boycott the Y.M.C.A.Do twitter, do these places have a letter box so more letters could be posted through (no horrible stuff) Just saying that you will not shop /give to them because of their policys.

  6. Pingback: Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England | Hastings Anarchists

  7. I commented on their facebook page too.
    I don’t understand these charities at all. They “stand by” how right and appropriate using these schemes are, but the second people start putting mention of them in a public setting they’re all “no, please don’t mention that.”
    If you’re proud of it, go do an IDS and brag to the nation about it.

  8. My daughter signed off the dole today. she has no work, everyday she sends her CV to companies looking for work. Wednesday she was told she would be sent on the work scheme, she will work 38 hours a week for 1.47 an hour. When the job centre plus person showed her the details she pointed out to him that it was termed ” WORK TREATMENT”…. treatment?.
    she said he just nodded and said ” yes, weird isn’t it “. My daughter signed off the dole today because i told her to. i’m not a huge earner and am a one parent but my daughter is not a slave to this government.She is MY daughter she doesn’t need TREATMENT by the government she needs to be given a chance to earn a living and not just an existence.

  9. rainbowwarriorlizzie

    Reblogged this on HUMAN RIGHTS & POLITICAL JOURNAL and commented:
    In Solidarity!!

  10. Pingback: Join the Rolling Online Picket of YMCA England | Human Rights & Political Journal |

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s