Take Action: Bring Down @GroundworkUK’s Community Work Placements in the North East

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

From Boycott Workfare

Community Work Placements would collapse without support from major charities. Today, as part of our week of action, we are contacting the major charities who provide CWP placements for Groundwork in the North East of England (six months’ workfare for 30 hours per week). We’re asking them to commit to not taking part in any of the government’s workfare schemes.

Yesterday, the website of Groundwork North East listed all the charities providing them with placements. These include Cheshire Homes, British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s and Scope, as well as over 15 more local voluntary agencies in Redcar or who are part of Redcar Voluntary & Community Sector. As Groundwork also say, as well as having a ‘fantastic working relationship with the local job centres’, they work in close partnership with Christians against Poverty and local food banks.

What they don’t say is that workfare is a major cause of poverty and a major reason why people end up depending on food banks for food. We know how Community Work Placements are being marketed to employers as a way of replacing paid jobs.

Groundwork have since removed the webpage – but we’ve got a screenshot (click on the image above to enlarge it).

The involvement of well known national charities is disappointing. BHF have previously stated “We are not involved in the Help to Work scheme. Barnardo’s have said “Barnardo’s does not take part in any mandatory work activity. We have been clear that we are against the principle of benefits sanctions”. Scope are signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement, which commits them to not taking part in any government workfare scheme.

So what’s going on? It looks like the culture of secrecy surrounding workfare (e.g. the refusal of Freedom of Information requests, redaction of placement providers from contracts on the grounds of ‘commercial sensitivity) is enabling placement brokers like Groundwork to mis-sell forced labour as volunteering.

We have to ask: is this secrecy compatible with the duty of charities to be open and honest about their activities? To ensure that the public, who donate to charities, are fully aware of whether they do, or do not, support forced unpaid labour in any guise?

We understand that because all aspects of workfare are cloaked in secrets and lies, some charities providing placements may well have been misinformed. It can be especially difficult for small, local charities to avoid being deceived. But if an organisation gets a letter that refers to the same group of people as ‘unpaid employees’, ‘volunteers’, and ‘unemployed people’ – and emphasises that the organisation won’t have to pay anything for them (even travel costs) – then alarm bells should start ringing. And when well known workfare fixers like Groundwork get in touch, it’s more than likely it’s for placements for JSA claimants who’ve already been unpaid on the work programme and are now being sent on CWP for up to six months more unpaid labour.

As for British Heart Foundation, Barnado’s and Scope: you can let them know that the public expect them to honour their commitments not to take part in workfare. And expect them to remember that they have a duty of care towards those on current placements: these organisations must ensure that they do not face sanctions or suffer as a result of the organisation withdrawing.

You can send a message to BHF via their website or phone their head office on 020 7554 0000. You can tweet at them @TheBHF

You can phone Barnado’s North East regional office on 0191 240 4800, contact them on Facebook and tweet at them @Barnados

You can get in touch with Scope’s media and PR via email pasca.lane@scope.org.uk and tweet at them too @scope

Groundwork North East can be reached on the phone (01388 662 666), on Facebook, and on Twitter @GroundworkNE

And Groundwork UK are on Facebook and Twitter aa @GroundworkUK . Or you could contact them through their website, or on the phone (0121 236 8565). They have other local branches throughout the UK. To find contact details for the nearest one to you, look here.

Please feel free to contact the other placement hosts listed on the Groundwork North East website as well. There’s not many, and if half pulled out, Groundwork’s CWP contract would be ruined.

I missed yesterday’s online action, but you can still tweet using hashtag #HospiceCareWeek and ask hospices not to be involved in government workfare schemes.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

33 responses to “Take Action: Bring Down @GroundworkUK’s Community Work Placements in the North East

  1. Groundwork are exploitative pieces of shit! They are so cowardly they won’t allow any comments pointing out the reality of workfare on their Facebook page. Anything the prats don’t want to hear, they block the person who’s said them.

  2. “The Community Work Programme is designed for ex-Work Programme JSA claimants whose key barrier(s) to work is a lack of work experience, lack of motivation, or both.”

    Nope. Companys just use it as slave labour that destroys jobs and wages for EVERYONE, complete with sentences that are LONGER than criminal sentences.

  3. just lucky i guess

    well my CWP has forgotten all about me haven’t heard from them since august when i told them i’m going to an job interview they nether sent me a MAN so i’m unable to go there office without one so f**k them

  4. yeah but if he appeals he will win like i have done over and over again 😉

  5. i had every single sanctioned placed on me overturned and a groveling apology hahaha wankers

  6. The sad fact is that if they do sanction someone that person has to struggle on until the sanction is overturned. It would be fairer if a claimant received some kind of compensation on top of the lost benefits during the sanction period if they get the sanction overturned.

    • Landless Peasant

      Yes indeed. The Claimant ought to be compensated for the alarm, stress and inconvenience caused, say a double JSA payment each time.

      • Michele Witchy Eve

        Ah, a penalty payment for for shoddy work by the DWP et al. Excellent idea Landless Peasant. It should also include extra payment to cover the extra expense caused by sanctions (eg. bank charges for direct debit defaults, interest on loans, etc.).

  7. Landless Peasant

    Not everyone does appeal though, or win, so many do get sanctioned and end up on Hardship.

    • …………..tell me about it, disabled and made to exist on £32 per week since last july………………….

      • The eighteen weeks was just an estimate the Courts and Tribunals Service sent me. I WROTE BACK TELLING THEM I WAS DISABLED AND EXISTING ON LESS THAN HALF OF WHAT AN ABLE BODIED RECEIVES.


        Human rights, forget it, the judges and magistrates have been instructed to ignore them completely.

      • Article 10 – Right to life

        States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others

  8. Rosemarie Harris

    If people don’t donate good working clean items then they will have nothing worth buying. Tell your friends, family what these rich charity’s are doing to the unemployed.Ask before you buy if they have any slaves and go from there. Give all your items to real charity’s or better still volunteer at these charity’s and say why you are doing it there …and not with the slave machine corps.
    fight back .. words are mightier than the sword!

    • I used to quite regularly donate items to local Age UK and RSPCA charity shops. Not any more since their involvement in workfare.

  9. Down with Neo Nazism and Neo Liberalism

    Yes to Human Dignity No to a World of Zombiebots

    Britons are so Flipping Slavish it Defies Belief

  10. It is Sickening how some People have been Brainwashed to Accept

  11. I want there to be Now and Forever a Britain Free from Tyranny
    Degrading Poverty and Oppression but when One Look’s at the
    Ignorant Mentality of Townie Scum Boneheads Oblivious to what
    Poverty and Deprivation is then Britain Need’s Sorting Out

    Instead of Every Man For Himself All For One and One For All

  12. A Country Full of Care Compassion and Help For the Poor

    Increased Welfare Benefits No Slavery Cards No Degrading ILL Treatment

    Social Justice Not Slavery

  13. Common Sense and Compassion Basis For Good Policy

  14. Common Sense and Compassion Basis For Good Policy
    is Better than the Ignorant and Out of Touch Boneheads out There

  15. Townie Scum Bastards with their Nihilism and Nastiness their
    Obliviousness to Oppression and Suffering are Ignorant and
    Thick and the Bastards make Me Sick like the Scatty State of

  16. The Mayhem of the Con Dems Needs to be Opposed wherever it is
    Slavery Cards or Universal Credit and it Requires the too Many to
    Get their Heads Out of their Arses and show some Common Sense
    and Compassion For the Poor

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