Tag Archives: BTCV

The Conservation ‘Volunteers’ Who Are Forced To Work Unpaid

combat-workfareThe continued exodus of charity shops from the Government’s workfare schemes leaves the Mandatory Work Activity scheme looking perilously close to collapse.

Oxfam, Marie Curie and Shelter, who all refused workfare in their stores, have now been joined by others. Scope say they are ending mandatory work schemes as have Age UK (though not necessarily in their independent stores). Cancer Research UK have said they are pulling out of mandatory work activity placements. Meanwhile British Heart Foundation have said they are ‘moving away’ from mandated work, though have continued to take placements in their stores.

It now seems that the largest providers of mandated workfare are likely to be conservation and environmental charities such as The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), a misnamed charity who have been quietly building an army of unpaid workers.

TCV (formally known as BTCV) , have previously boasted of employing 20,000 unpaid workers on various government schemes since the 1980s. They currently hold lucrative contracts with the DWP to deliver Mandatory Work Activity. The so-called charity have forced 589 people into unpaid work, often for private companies on this scheme alone.

This is on top of the countless people who have been forced to work without pay on their conservation projects.

Sue Pearson, a spokesperson for the charity, even boasts of how they have attempted to get round DWP rules which state placements must have a ‘community benefit’.  Speaking to the Guardian, Pearson explains how claimants forced to work in a food preparation factory had been required to “gather up recycling materials” in order to meet DWP criteria.

TCV are the worst kind of workfare exploiters. As well as bullying people into working for no pay, they also put jobs and working conditions at risk by sending claimants to work for free in profit making companies.

With such an eager attitude towards exploiting benefit claimants, it seems likely that TVC will be quite happy to make use of new rules which mean that sick and disabled claimants can now be forced into unpaid work. A statement concerning the organisation’s use of workfare was updated on December 3rd, the day that workfare for sick and disabled claimants began.

It suggests they are already salivating at the thought of thousands more people to exploit, stating that they will merely undertake a health assessment of those they intend to force to work. Everybody on out of work sickness or disability benefits has been signed off as unfit to work by their own GP.

As part of the Week of Action Against Workfare Charities contact TCV this Friday 14th December and help expose the charity’s dirty little workfare secrets to anyone who thought they might be an ethical organisation.

TCV are on twitter @tcvtweets.
Find them on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers
You can contact them directly to tell them what you think on 01302 388 883 or email: information@tcv.org.uk
To find your local TCV Branch visit: http://www.btcv.org.uk/volunteer/index.html

Please share, tweet, blog and spread the word!

First published on Boycott Workfare


Charities Abandon Workfare Schemes – Cancer Research and British Heart Foundation Both Out!

Boycott-workfare-holiday-innThere’s little good news in this week’s diktat from the DWP that sick and disabled people can now be sent on unlimited workfare or face being forced into near starvation and possible homelessness.

However yesterday’s Guardian report contains one chink of hope which may yet prove the unraveling of this vicious and inept welfare regime.  Earlier reports that British Heart Foundation are pulling out of workfare appear to now be confirmed.  This is despite the floundering welfare-to-work companies who run the scheme offering them bribes to continue using forced unpaid labour.

Cancer Research UK are also set to abandon exploiting people on the  Mandatory Work Activity scheme in their charity shops.  Whether this also applies to Work Programme participants forced into unpaid work is unclear.  Let’s hope so.  If not those on sickness benefits diagnosed with cancer could soon find themselves working unpaid for the UK’s largest cancer charity.

Disability charity Scope – who from Monday will have powers to send sick and disabled people on endless workfare themselves as Work Programme providers – are also reviewing their involvement in workfare and may pull out.

Many in the so called third sector have been shamefully slow to wake up to the realities of workfare, no doubt because so many of them have lucrative Work Programme sub-contracts themselves.

These announcements, by three major UK charities, are important however.  British Heart Foundation are believed to have been one of the biggest workfare placement providers.  Cancer Research were probably not far behind.  This leaves a big hole in the number of organisations who are prepared to abandon decency and their charitable credentials and force unemployed, unwell or disabled people into forced labour.

The ‘voluntary work’ option of Tony Blair’s New Deal, the first mass workfare scheme, largely collapsed due to providers not being able to find enough work placements.

Some charities are unrepentant.  The Conservation Volunteers boast of how they have quietly and ruthlessly exploited 20,000 workfare workers since the 1980s.  It is these types of charities, which need a lot of physical work doing and are not in the public eye, who are likely to make use of the Government’s plans to force disabled and in some cases terminally ill people onto workfare.

It has been public pressure, from demonstrations outside their premises to an onslaught of anger online, which has forced these charities out of workfare.  With a huge escalation of workfare underway, it is down to all of us to make workfare unworkable.

Join the Week of Action Against Workfare Charities beginning on December 8th for starters.

Never Trust A Hippy – The Green Charity With 20,000 Workfare Slaves

ChainGangPhotoThe Conservation Trust for Volunteers (formally BCTV) have been exposed as one of the largest exploiters of unpaid labour.

According to the charity, 20,ooo people unemployed people have been forced to work digging ditches and other physical tasks without pay since 1980 (PDF).  The charity even boast about their relationship with the DWP on their website along with their use of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA).

Mandatory Work Activity is four weeks full time work used as punishment for unemployed people judged not trying hard enough to find work by Jobcentre officials.  CTV claims these people are ‘volunteers’ and they are providing a ‘route into paid employment’.  The evidence shows however that this scheme is useless at actually helping people get a job.

Claimants can only be sentenced to Mandatory Work Activity, it is not possible to volunteer for the scheme.

All those in the green movement who are committed to both environmental sustainability and social justice should immediately boycott these fake fluffy bastards.  And tell them what you think on twitter @tcvtweets and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers

With workfare for sick and disabled claimants to begin on December 3rd – International Disabled People’s Day – many have wondered where all these new placements are set to come from.  The Conservation Volunteers may well be one of the largest users of unpaid forced labour in the UK.  Make it cost them.

Thanks to StokeBloke1972 for pointing this out in the comments