Category Archives: JSA/Workfare/Work Programme

Shameful: Scottish Charity Journal Publishes Terrorism Allegations Aimed At Boycott Workfare

glasgow-bwAn astonishing piece of gutter journalism has been published by charity journal Third Force News which accuses Boycott Workfare of terrorism and says that charities have been blackmailed into pulling out of unpaid work schemes.

According to Robert Armour, the journalist behind the piece, three Scottish charities including Glasgow the Caring City, have been “blackmailed, intimidated and bullied by campaigners associated with Boycott Workfare”.  One charity goes even further saying anyone who challenges the campaign is “subjected to abuse and terrorism”.

The above picture is a message left on Boycott Workfare’s facebook page just two days before the article appeared and which shows that Glasgow the Caring City appear to take a very different view of Boycott Workfare to that presented by Third Force News.  They even encourage Boycott Workfare to communicate their positive message to others in the voluntary sector.  Which would be incitement to commit terrorism if Third Force News’ claims were anything other than sensationalist bollocks.

The charity who accuse Boycott Workfare of terrorism  along with an organisation who claim to have received a threat of arson are not named by Third Force News, so there is little way of checking the truth of these allegations.  What is certain however is that Boycott Workfare had nothing to do with this or any other violent threat.  To attempt to blame every single incident on one campaign group is as ludicrous as blaming the fucking RSPCA if an animal right’s group torches a slaughterhouse.

There should be no doubt.  Threatening workfare using charities or their staff with violence is a dickish way to behave.  The person you are threatening might be on workfare themselves for a start. But whilst there are laws against sending communications which are threatening, obscene or designed to cause anxiety there is nothing illigal about firmly telling a charity what you think by writing to them or posting on their social media pages.  Or holding a protest outside their premises.  That is not blackmail, it is legitimate protest.  And that is all Boycott Workfare, and hundreds of other claimants and supporters, have ever called on people to do.  In the case of Glasgow the Caring City they didn’t even do that.  They merely informed people that an offshoot of this charity were using workfare.

There are dozens of groups actively fighting workfare in the UK and possibly thousands of individuals.  Martin Himes, the CEO of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) who publish Third Sector News is one of them.  All are resisting in different ways.  Some have opted for civil disobedience.  Others have protested online.  Perhaps as Third Force News claim a few have grassed up charities to health & safety representatives or the local council.  This is not surprising given the appalling conditions some people on workfare have to endure.  It is hardly fucking terrorism though is it?

The truth is that many people are disgusted that charities are involved in forced labour schemes which are backed by punitive benefit sanctions that are leading to horrendous suffering.  These charities may claim that all their forced workers are happy fucking slaves, but they never see the impact on those sanctioned because they couldn’t or didn’t want to work for them without pay.  The homelessness that sanctions cause, or people queuing at foodbanks, ill health and poverty.  Workfare using charities are responsible for those consequences, no matter how they squirm and spin and try to blame everyone except themselves.  To pretend otherwise is shameful.  For Third Force News to smear those trying to bring this vile system to an end by publishing ludicrous claims of terrorism is beneath contempt.

Third Force News are on twitter @ThirdForceNews if you want to tell them what you think of this trash (in a non-threatening, non-obscene way of course).

Boycott Workfare are holding a week of action against workfare and sanctions this week, join in and spread the word.

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The 2.25 Million Hidden Unemployed People Reveals The Stark Truth: There’s No Fucking Jobs

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A senior DWP manager has a motivational meltdown on twitter.

According to the latest statistics there are currently 1.84 million unemployed people.  There are also 1.3 million people working part time because they cannot find a full time job.  Nearly half a million people who are officially employed work less than six hours a week.  Over 100,000 so-called employed people are actually on unpaid workfare.

But even this only tells half the truth about the number of under and unemployed people in the UK.  There are a staggering 2.25 million people who are ‘economically inactive’ and want a job but who are not included in the unemployment figures.  That means the true number of unemployed people, if unemployed is defined as not having a job and wanting one – which is how it should be fucking defined – is over four million.

The reason you never hear of the missing 2.25 million is because of an international definition of what unemployed means which has been agreed by statisticians to allow comparisons of employment rates between different countries.  As such unemployed, as far as the official figures are concerned,  means someone who is currently out of work, available to start work immediately and who has looked for a job in the last four weeks.  Clearly this does not include everyone who is really unemployed.  It doesn’t even include half of them.

The 2.25 million hidden unemployed include those who have simply stopped looking for a job in despair (40,000 people) along with those looking after the family home but who would rather be in work, people forced into early retirement against their will and sick and disabled people who want jobs.

There are currently just 743,000 vacancies, many of them part time or temporary.  If everybody who was unemployed found work tomorrow there would still be around 3.5 million people out of work who wanted a job.  There are not enough jobs for everybody.  Everybody knows this really, even Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank who said last year that “reducing unemployment to zero is neither feasible nor desirable”.

Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people but a lack of jobs.  So trying to ‘fix’ unemployed people with endless workfare, assessments and benefit sanctions will do nothing to fix unemployment.  Yet every major political party pretends to think it will.  The reason for this is that the public used to blame the government, or even capitalism, for unemployment.  Politicians however would rather they blame disabled people or lone parents.  Better that than governments having to admit to their own own ineptness –  or even worse acknowledge that the magical free market will not create a job for everyone.

The latest attempts to cure people of unemployment would be almost laughable if the impact on people’s lives were not so tragic.  Jobcentres are now being run like cults, with managers spouting mumbo jumbo motivational garbage like Sandra Lambert‘s now deleted twitter feed calling on staff to ‘pink up the pace’ and handing out sheriff stars to Jobcentres which meet benefit sanction targets.  Half-arsed online Cognitive Behavor Therapies are on the way, to cure unemployed people’s mental health problems.  Pull yourself together and get a job is the message from the DWP for those who are unable to work due to depression or other mental health conditions.  Forced treatment for some groups has been threatened should the Tories win the election.

That this flies in the face of what is considered good practice amongst psychologists no longer seems to matter.  Unemployed people are now fair game for almost any kind of treatment as long as it’s designed to punish and scapegoat.  Claimants have at best been abandoned and at worst openly attacked even by charities and institutions which claim to support those with a mental health condition.

Towards the end of last year the president elect of the British Psychological Society (BPS),  Jamie Hacker Hughes promised the body would carry out an enquiry into the use of pseudo-psychology, benefit sanctions and workfare.  Yet nothing has happened so far.  As part of the week of action against workfare and sanctions contact them and demand they speak out against the current regime which has driven some claimants to suicide.  Claimants do not have time to wait for them to get their act together, people are being pushed into desperate poverty and sometimes even their deaths now.  To not speak up is to be complicit in the actions of this Government and hands a licence to whoever wins next week’s election to carry on in the same way.

There are not enough jobs.  Unemployment is not caused by unemployed people.  The mistreatment of unemployed, sick and disabled people must stop.  That is what anyone with a conscience must now be saying, as loudly as fucking possible.

The British Psychological Society are on twitter @BPSOfficial  and have a facebook page.

For more contact details and information about the rise of pseudo-science being used to bully unemployed people visit Boycott Workfare’s website.

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Join The Week Of Action Against Workfare And Tell @bmstores What You Think

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If you exploit us we will shut you down.

From Boycott Workfare

Take action against persistent workfare exploiters B&M Stores as part of the Week of Action vs Workfare and Sanctions!

B&M Stores has won an award from the workfare industry for their support for forced unpaid labour. The harsh reality of their involvement is exploitation of claimants – people working for nothing under the constant threat of sanctions – and workfare being used to reduce overtime and replace paid staff.

“B&M stores started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the other workers.”

Boycott Workfare has had several reports of reduced hours for paid staff as well as the practice of employing paid staff on a trial basis, sacking them after 12 weeks, and replacing them with workfare placements.

“Just to let you know B&M Stores have taken on new staff under a workfare scheme. This was 1 month after staff hours were cut by 50%. This meant my hours were cut from 20 to 10.”

B&M Stores made over £100 million profit last year but still they use forced unpaid labour.

B&M Stores have over 400 stores from Perth in Scotland to Portsmouth in the South of England. They have expanded by using workfare grabs from any local JobCentrePlus. It has been reported that in one B&M Store “older or long term staff were sacked and a new wave of 20 workfare placements taken on.”

What you can do:

Thanks to your efforts, more and more businesses and charities are withdrawing from workfare.  Keep up the pressure and let B&M Stores know:  ’if they exploit us, we will close them down!’

Use twitter, facebook and direct action to expose B&M Stores and call for a boycott of their stores.  Workfare exploits claimants and means poorer pay and conditions for all workers.

Tweet them @bmstores

Email customer services

Phone: 0151 728 5400 (remember to speak politely)

Facebook

Visit their Corporate Website

You could also let workfare apologists ERSA know what you think about awards that celebrate companies that profit from exploiting claimants.

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Week Of Action Against Workfare And Sanctions Begins Tomorrow: Events Announced So Far

Boycott-Workfare-action No workfare. No sanctions. Whoever wins we will resist!

Latest details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4239

25th April, London – Sanction Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice Shops: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4298

25th April, Chingford – IDS – the Butcher of Benefits must go! DPAC action: https://www.facebook.com/events/630040803794662/

25 April, Leeds – Leeds Welfare Fightback will be out in Briggate throughout the week with stalls and leaflets.
https://www.facebook.com/events/695030883952537/

29th April, Edinburgh – Demonstrate at High Riggs Jobcentre, by Tollcross, Edinburgh: http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/165

1st May, Bristol – Bristol May day demo – Combat Workfare: https://www.facebook.com/events/1578782925705919/

2nd May, London – Sanction the Salvation Army: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=4281

Daily leafleting in Haringey, London: email info@haringey.org to get involved

Actions in the Netherlands: http://www.doorbraak.eu/25-april-to-2-may-international-week-of-action-against-workfare-and-sanctions-come-join-us/

Disabled People Against the Cuts have called for a “Revenge Tour” in the same week: https://www.facebook.com/events/726806607436136/

Please share, tweet, blog and help spread the word about all events!

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Labour And The Tories, Not Just Fucking Wankers But Fucking Idiots Too

idiots

Only a bunch of spivs and two-bit confidence tricksters like the current Tory front bench could have come up with a reckless get rich quick policy like extending right-to-buy to housing associaion properties.

Handing a small number of tenants a huge tax-payer funded give away whilst decimating the supply of desperately needed genuinely affordable housing is quite possibly the single most stupid fucking thing that any politicans could do in the midst of an escalating housing crisis.  And there is some stiff competition. Labour’s policies to build more homes no-one can afford or introduce regional benefit caps so no-one can pay their rent are equally fucking stupid.

A further cap on housing benefits will only lead to yet more homelessness and both parties want it.  The truth about the benefit cap that has already been introduced is that many people’s benefits haven’t been capped – their housing costs are simply being paid via the council and Discretionary Housing Payments.  It will only be after the election – whoever wins – that we will see the devastating impact of families with children socially cleansed from more affluent cities and forced into areas already scarred by poverty and unemployment.

On workfare both parties are proposing policies which are unworkable in practice – with Labour taking the lead in attacking the young who will lose benefits completely unless they undertake forced ‘training’ (stop laughing they mean workfare).  The Tories have said this will not happen until someone has been on benefits for six months, when they will then be bullied into workfare, or a shoddy unpaid Traineeship.  But they will stop their Housing Benefit.  Probably, in some cases.  Labour have not even bothered to say whether scrapping benefits for those under 21 means they will stop their Housing Benefit as well.

Where all these workfare placements will come from nobody knows.  Already there is a desperate shortage as growing numbers of charities reject forced unpaid work completely.  The amount of unpaid work experience on Traineeships was recently reduced after even businesses said it was unfair to make young people work too long without a wage. The only people who actually want workfare are fucking idiots like Cameron and Miliband who are both obesessed with the idea.  It’s hardly surprising, neither of them has ever done a real day’s work in their lives.  They want us to work for free whilst they do fuck all and earn a fortune.

Even Labour’s so-called Compulsory Jobs Guarantee isn’t a proper job.  Instead it will include ten hours a week unpaid workfare with the rest of the time on a tax-payer funded minimum wage. It’s just a huge subsidy so employers can get free workers, and looks a lot like Nick Cleggs disastrous subsidised employment scheme that was recently scrapped for being both shit and probably illegal.

It is hardly surprising that a Hamspstead clown like Miliband and a Chipping Norton toff like Cameron have policies so similar you could barely fit a fag paper between them.  They have far more in common with each other’s pampered lives than they do with most normal people.  Neither of them would last five minutes in a debate about politics in their local Wetherspoon. And when Cameron was given a well deserved kicking round the pub car park, Miliband would be chucking up in the bogs after one too many bacon sandwiches.

There are other, better, ways of being politically active then voting for some fucking idiot who hates you once every five years.  Across the UK people will be taking direct political action in the run up to the election.  Tomorrow (15th April) sees a March for the Homeless taking place in cities throughout the England and Scotland whilst a Day of Action for Fast Food Worker’s Rights will see protests outside McDonalds.  Later in the month Disabled People Against Cuts will be visiting the constituencies of both Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVey.  Boycott Workfare are holding a week of action against unpaid work and sanctions from the 25th April, the same day that an anti-gentrification protest will take place in Brixton.  And on May 1st Class War will be holding a fuck parade, complete with 12 volt soundsystems outside the notorious poor doors at 1 Commercial Street, London E1.

Change will not come from the ballot box, that is the point of them.  Whichever twat you vote for, if you can be bothered to vote at all, get out on the streets and let’s make sure the fucking lot of them know we don’t need or want their shit anymore.

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Welfare Reform Has Failed – And These Latest Statistics Prove It

ids-slug1Welfare reforms have barely made a dent in the number of long term benefit claimants figures quietly released last week revealed.  There are just 91,000 fewer people who have been on an out of work benefit for at least three of the last four years compared to 2010 despite grandiose claims that a million new jobs have been created during the period.

The figures are one of the Government’s ‘social justice outcome indicators’ and include everybody on sickness benefits, the dole and unemployed lone parents.  2.381 million of these groups had been on one, or a combination of, these benefits for three out of four years in 2014 compared to 2.472 million in the period following the recession in 2010.

Perhaps most significantly the slight fall in the figures coincides with a huge rise in benefit sanctions suggesting that people are just being stripped of  benefits, not finding jobs.  The statistics do also not include people hounded into low (or no) earning self-employment by their Work Programme provider and now claiming Working Tax Credits – a practice which has been well documented.  The most recent year’s figures do not even include people who had benefts stopped temporarily following a sickness benefit assessment but have since appealed and are now claiming again.  The truth is that when these factors are taken into account then welfare reforms may have had no impact at all on the number of long term claimants.

Billions of pounds has been squandered by Iain Duncan Smith to bully these 91,000 people out of the benefits system.  Longer term claimants are exactly the group that all of his reforms were aimed at and the dire results show beyond doubt that he has failed.  Economic growth may have returned, but the very poorest are poorer than ever and there are just as many of them.  The cost of these reforms to the tax payer has been astronomical – far more than if these 91,000 people had just kept claiming.  The impact on the lives of those affected by endless assessments, sanctions and benefit cuts has been devastating.

One million people were forced to depend on a foodbank in the last year.  The number of suicides linked to withdrawal of benefits grows ever higher.  Every measure of homelessness has risen steeply.  And it has all been for fuck all.  Billions of pounds spent on brutalising people for no reason and with no results should be the only remembered legacy of Iain Duncan Smith’s nasty little experiment at the Department of Work and Pensions.

Join Disabled People Against Cuts on April 25th when they will visit Iain Duncan Smith Chingford constituency.

You can view the latest statistics at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/duration-on-working-age-benefits-april-2010-to-march-2014

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From Tragedy To Farce, How Universal Credit’s Work Related Activity Is Beyond A Joke

zac-videogames

Someone buy Zac a pint.

The rules on what constitutes work related activity for those claiming Universal Credit would be laughable if they were not backed by sanctions that can plunge people into destitution for up to three years.

As part of Iain Duncan Smith’s obsession with forcing unemployed, sick and disabled people into ever more irksome and pointless activity, unemployed claimants are now expected to spend 35 hours a week looking for a job.  The guidance for Jobcentre decision makers gives an example of a typical day:

“Dave is in receipt of UC. His expected number of hours of work are 35 a week. “On a typical day, Dave spends
1. two hours on-line looking through recruitment sites
2. one hour reading the “situations vacant” pages in the press (local papers,
national papers and trade journals)
3. one hour and a half completing a job application and covering letter
4. half an hour reviewing and updating his CV
5. half an hour pursuing further information on suitable advertised vacancies
6. half an hour speaking to friends, family and former colleagues about possible employment opportunities
7. one hour researching the possibility of setting up in business as selfemployed.”

Under the rules Dave is supposed to do this every single day or face his benefits being stopped.  That means updating his CV – every day.  Looking at the same job vacancies in the press and on the internet, every day.  Boring his friends and family by asking them about employment opportunities.  Every day.

It is beyond a fucking joke.  You can imagine the conversations in Jobcentres:

“Well I spent an hour yesterday researching becoming a self-employed plumber”

“Very good, what did you find out”

“I can’t plumb”

“Oh.  Try researching becoming an electrician tomorrow”.

Of course ask them to send you on a training course to become a plumber and you’ll be cleaning the bogs on workfare somewhere before your Work Coach has had chance to stop laughing.

These ludicrous rules come with one vital caveat, and it’s one the Jobcentre doesn’t want you to know about.

“J3075 There will be times where a claimant has spent less time on work search than their expected hours of work. In such cases, where a claimant has taken all reasonable action to find paid work, then the work search requirement is satisfied1. What all reasonable action will be will depend on the claimant’s circumstances.”

There are more and every claimant should read the guidance on Work Related Activity which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409855/admj3.pdf

DWP rules change frequently, visit this page for the most up to date information.  Always try and speak to a welfare rights advisor such as Citizen’s Advice if you are having problems.  Claimants acting collectively has been used to successfully challenge Jobcentre decisions, contact your local claimant’s group and if there isn’t one think about starting something up.

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