There’s Still No Pay At The Y.M.C.A – Boycott Workfare Target Forced Labour Charity

ymca-protestA lively protest was held both inside and outside the head offices of so-called charity the YMCA today as part of the week of action against workfare.

Several demonstrators from Boycott Workfare carried out a short occupation of the charity’s offices before holding a protest outside where a sound system played and protesters sang the familiar ‘There’s no pay at the Y.M.C.A.”.

Lots of leaflets were handed out and many people expressed shock that a charity claiming to help the homeless would be involved in not just workfare, but also administering benefit sanctions.  The YMCA themselves have said that sanctions, which can leave people with nothing to live on at all, can have a ‘devastating impact’ on the lives of young people.

This hasn’t stopped them being part of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme and the Work Programme – both of which are backed by the same sanctions that the YMCA claim are of such concern to them.

In a major victory for all those who have campaigned against the charity it is believed that they have now decided not to be involved in Community Work Placements – the latest six month long workfare scheme being launched at the end of this month.  They are however involved in Traineeships which can involve up to six months unpaid work for private companies.  In his Autumn Statement George Osborne announced that people under the age of 21 who refuse an unpaid Traineeship will face being sent on a Community Work Placement instead.

An online action has also been called against the charity so you can tell them what you think of their use of workfare on twitter @YMCA_England or facebook at:

For more details and the latest news on the week of action visit:

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

29 responses to “There’s Still No Pay At The Y.M.C.A – Boycott Workfare Target Forced Labour Charity

  1. this has cost the ymca heavly.

  2. It’s great that these protests are happening, but why are the numbers attending so low?, There are a million young people unemployed now at least, have they bought into or internalised the mass media ‘scroungers’ meme. or are they scared of demonstrating? During the JSA protests of the early 90’s we would have at least 25/30 people on a local daytime protest.

    • most of them are probely to skint to get there.

      • And also those people not attending themselves who could do, wondering and asking of others something they are not doing themselves.

      • Quite simple John; they don’t know any better as have had no experience of a UK where jobs were readily available for all. The greater majority of those currently unemployed are little more than kids therefore they’ve got no knowledge of protesting and just accept the current cobblers as “the norm”. You only really kick off if you are used to one thing which is then taken away; they’ve never known any different therefore there is no urge to fight the power.

        On another note has anyone actually been informed of being required to attend a community placement; we keep hearing about it but nothing appears to be happening. From what I gather at the local DWP office a lot of staff are being shifted around and last week’s signing was heaving with punter and carrot dangler alike whereas in the past it’s been fairly empty at least in the Reading office of an afternoon. The timing seems to indicate the April Osborne jazz is coming into play…

    • overburdenddonkey

      thanks for posting the vid…
      the ymca already know what they are doing is wrong, there reaction to the protest says it all, as they attempted to take the heat out of the protest….with their prebriefed nonplussed casual dismissive attitude….who us?

  3. Rosemarie Harris

    Brilliant news but we do need to get the information out by perhaps handing out leaflets at public places. what are the students doing nowadays? There are a few protests happening on the right of this website so if any one available please take part.
    May 12th British Gas demo organised by DPAC.
    Lets start to fight back!

  4. and the village people are lying its not fun to stay there

    • Off topic but just seen Osborne on ch 4 news wanting full employment. Methinks he is planning to do it by workfare??! (And no I don’t agree with workfare! )

      • That is how he’s planning to do it Kat. With the changes being implemented regarding community sentences, er “placements?” i mean, he’s hoping that and more draconian sanctioning will force people into taking these dead end jobs that are on offer with the worst possible conditions and he’ll threaten that if they don’t take them then all their benefits will be withdrawn and they’ll have nothing to eat, no roof over their heads etc.

        It’s all about threatening penury on people and beating them with a stick until they cave in and then that’s another one off the list.

        Revolting shower they really are.

        • Kat and Raining: agreed. The same thought occurred to me (after I’d finished laughing) when I heard him claim that one. Just don’t expect to get paid. Then it’ll be a race to the bottom in wage terms. Expect moves to scrap the minimum wage (not the increase Osborne floated recently, which was only to scupper a similar move Miliband was about to make). Then we’ll see that Chinese investment come rolling in. Still, full “employment”, though. I mean, if Pol Pot can do it, why not Gideon? Anyone remember the Dead Kennedys song Holiday In Cambodia? “You’ll work harder with a gun in your back/For a bowl of rice a day”, etc

  5. The “charity” is a disgrace and I can only hope that a lot of their sponsors around the world ask that they stop being involved with this mandatory work activity scheme (slave labour), or that they stop supporting them.
    The only way to hit any of these so called charities and workfare places is in their pockets.

  6. Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    This “charity” ought to be ashamed of themselves!

  7. Fuck the YMCA and fuck the Village People as well. You are FUCKING SCUM if you take on anyone for no wage and I believe in Karma. So all these cunts WILL have an unhappy ending. That’s the way the world works.

  8. I noticed in today’s Daily Heil that Osborne is saying that Help to Work will force long-term unemployed people to do tasks to claim their dole from next month. They’re no longer crowing about forcing the unemployed to do six months Workfare. Are the wheels already coming off this one (?).

  9. Boycott Workfare are looking for people to talk on film about their experiences of unpaid work for a new campaign website called ‘keep volunteering voluntary’, aimed specifically at the charity sector and due to be launched next month. If, for example, you were forced to take part in a government work scheme to keep your benefits, or had to give up a voluntary job to attend the Work Programme etc., we’d be interested in hearing from you. If you’d like to take part please send an email to, with your contact details and a brief description of what happened. Many thanks.

  10. @ john r maybe the reason that not many were there is they have no £££ to get there maybe they have been sanctioned or whatever. For me it dont matter how many were there at least some were there FIGHTING

    • perhaps worth pointing out this was a surprise visit, so wasn’t advertised anywhere which makes it harder to pull in large numbers. There’s plenty more happening this week, and online actions for anyone who wants to get involved but can’t make it to a protest.

  11. Aywhere in Glasgow mate

  12. Last year some lady from the UN came over and did research about the Bedroom Tax and it’s impact on the poor and was going to go back to debate this, was it not about now it was going to be debated.

  13. Reblogged this on Mentally Wealthy and commented:
    What ‘real’ hope does workfare offer the disadvantaged? NONE,’s merely punishment and number massaging

  14. Pingback: There's Still No Pay At The Y.M.C.A - Boycott W...

  15. Pingback: There’s Still No Pay At The Y.M.C.A – Boycott Workfare Target Forced Labour Charity | stewilko's Blog

  16. I found this on the YMCA facebook page
    “Bridgwater YMCA Volunteer, Tash Wilson-Richardson (19), has taken on a catering apprenticeship as her ultimate goal is to own her own restaurant. She says “If it wasn’t for the YMCA I don’t know if I would be here today. I was sleeping at my best friend’s place after a relationship ended. Then I got involved in the YMCA and it saved me from myself.”

    What does this apprenticeship involve? Being shouted at by some jumped up soux chef? Being paid fuck all because the experience of working under some egomaniac is its own reward?

    How many other people get catering apprenticeships? How many go on to be successful chefs or even run businesses.

    If she’s willing to work for nothing then, with all the best will in the world, she’s unwillingly perpetuating the problem and the YMCA are encouraging this.

    • overburdenddonkey

      g w
      all i can say if the ymca saved her from her self, her self esteem must have been at rock bottom….

  17. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog.

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