Groundwork UK and The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) are believed to be two of the biggest workfare exploiters in the UK.
These two charities do not just force people to work without pay on their environmental chain gangs but also have lucrative DWP contracts to bully people into unpaid work.
Both organisations are providers of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme on which unemployed people can be sent to work without pay for four weeks at a time seemingly on the whims of Jobcentre advisors. Sources have even suggested that TCV have referred unpaid workers on this scheme onto their own environmental projects. This means they not only get a free tax-payer funded workers but are paid again by the tax-payer for the privilege!
Groundwork are planning to go one step further and are currently bidding to run the upcoming Community Work Placements. TCV are also expected to bid. This scheme will involve thousands of people being sentenced to carry out six months forced full time work – that’s 780 hours – over two and a half times the maximum community service punishment which can be handed out by the courts. If successful Groundwork will be paid for everyone they bully into forced labour on the scheme. Whether some of these workers end up working unpaid for Groundwork remains to be seen – but there is nothing in the rules to prevent this.
There is no pretence by the DWP that these schemes actually help people find jobs. Appallingly organisations running the Community Work Placements will be paid more to force someone into workfare than they will if they find them a job. Under new rules even claimants currently serving a sanction – meaning they have no money at all – could be forced into unpaid work or may never be entitled to benefits again. These schemes purely exist to make life on benefits as unbearable as possible due to the warped belief that most people choose to be out of work and that unemployment is caused by unemployed people.
A recent report by Citizens Advice warned that people who have had benefits sanctioned have been driven to attempt suicide, have become homeless or been forced to beg or go through bins to find food. This is what happens to someone who refuses, or is unable to work full time without pay for Groundwork or TCV.
There have recently been questions raised over why so many people are currently going hungry in the UK. This follows a report written by doctors warning that food poverty is now a ‘public health emergency’. It is no secret what is going on however.
The benefit sanctioning activities of charities like TCV, YMCA, Groundwork and the Salvation Army are one of reasons for this suffering. Foodbanks repeatedly report that many people they help have had benefits sanctioned. These organisations cannot wash their hands of their own responsibility for causing hunger in the UK by attempting, as many do, to shift the blame for sanctions onto the DWP. Especially when they don’t just benefit from free workers but also run lucrative Government contracts to manage forced labour schemes which are backed by sanctions.
As part of the week of action against workfare and sanctions it’s time to say enough is enough and hold these shameless bastards to account for their grotesque profiteering. And don’t let them try claim that they aren’t doing it for the money. Workfare and workfare contracts are two of the reasons they can afford to pay their bosses so much after all. These so-called charities are the real benefit scroungers and the suffering they are causing is obscene.
TCV are on twitter @TCVtweets and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers
And don’t forget another so-called charity involved in mass workfare, The Shaw Trust, on twitter @Shaw_Trust and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaw-Trust/221553131217597
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid