Both are involved the the Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) scheme – 4 weeks full time workfare used as punishment by Jobcentres for those deemed not trying hard enough to find work.
120 hours unpaid work is similar to a mid-level Community Payback sentence – the kind of punishment which might be handed out by the courts for burglary, or even a violent assault. Yet The Conservation Volunteers and Groundwork are happy to team up with Jobcentres to impose this punishment on people just for being unemployed!
Those who refuse, or are unable to work for Groundwork or TCV can now have benefits stopped for up to three years. As the name suggests, there is nothing voluntary about Mandatory Work Activity at all – in fact under current rules you can’t volunteer for the scheme.
When Universal Credit is rolled out nationally it won’t just be unemployed people who may face being sentenced to the scheme, but single parents and part time workers. Sick or disabled people on Employment Support Allowance can now also be forced to work unpaid on the Work Programme.
TCV have said they will not force sick or disabled people to work in the fields for no money, yet many disabled people are on mainstream unemployment benefits and therefore eligible to be sent on MWA. DWP figures state that over 12,000 disabled people have been forced into Mandatory Work Activity.
Astonishingly these so-called charities not only bully people into outdoor physical work under threat of destitution, but are contracted to run the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. This means that along with hundreds of free workers they are paid by the tax payer for arranging workfare placements.
As part of the Week of Action Against Workfare contact them today and let them know what you think of their shabby exploitation.
TCV are on twitter @TCVTweets and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers
For more details of these charities involvement with workfare and further contact information visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=2752
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid