Claimants on Mandatory Work Activity are forced to carry out 120 hours of unpaid labour over a period of four weeks. The scheme is used by Jobcentres to punish people they decide aren’t trying hard enough to find work. Those receiving Jobseekers Allowance can be sent on this type of workfare from the first day they are unemployed or face benefits being stopped completely. 17,090 of these forced to work unpaid were recorded by the Jobcentre as being disabled people.
Many of the claimants are sent to work in charity shops such as those run by @salvationarmyuk and @YMCA_England. Others are sent to work outside on chain gangs for environmental charities such as @TCVtweets and @Groundworkuk.
Many of these so-called charities have claimed that they do not benefit from unpaid workers and have bought into Iain Duncan Smith’s warped ‘work makes you free’ ideology. Yet according to the figures, this scheme has meant a total of 8,888400 hours of forced unpaid work has been carried out by unemployed people for the ‘voluntary’ sector.
If charities had been required to pay even minimum wage for these workers it would have cost them over £56 million pounds. And this is far from the only workfare scheme that grasping charities can make use of. Anyone who’s ever visited the Salvation Army’s gleaming international headquarters knows these organisations are not short of money. The Salvation Army’s UK boss is estimated to be paid around £150,000 a year.
Christmas is a busy time for charities and often their most lucrative time of year. There has never been a better time to join Boycott Workfare’s week of action and hold these organisations to account for this gross exploitation. Actions will take place on and offline from next week beginning with a noise demonstration outside the annual workfare conference on Monday 2nd December.
With the number of people on workfare increasing despite many high profile charities pulling out of the scheme, it seems that many organisations are trying to conceal their use of forced labour from the public. Help track them down and then make sure they are named and shamed on the Boycott Workfare website.
And please sign/share/tweet the petition to bring an end to benefit sanctions without exception.
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