Tag Archives: Sue Ryder

20 Million Hours Of Forced Unpaid Labour: How Much Lower Can So-Called Charities Sink?

ymca-no-payThe DWP have finally released some information on the performance of Community Work Placements, the mass workfare scheme first announced by George Osborne way back at the 2013 Tory Party conference.

The placements were finally launched in 2014 and require unemployed people to carry out six month’s unpaid work under the threat of brutal benefit sanctions – benefit sanction that are known to kill.  This work must be with a charity or a company which offers a ‘community benefit’.  In reality this has meant many people working unpaid for private, profit making companies who can claim to be a bit green or environmentally friendly, such as recycling businesses.  Many others have been sent to work in charity shops.

Despite the scheme having been in operation for over 18 months, the DWP are not telling us whether anyone has successfully found real work as a result of their placement.  This is sadly unsurprising, this programme was never about getting people jobs but was simply intended as punishment for the long-term unemployed.  And the punishment is severe.  Participants carry out 780 hours of forced unpaid work – almost three times the maximum possible community service sentence that can be handed out by the courts.

According to last week’s figures, around 25,000 people have started a Community Work Placement since the scheme began.  That means that companies and charities prepared to take part in this grotesque exploitation have potentially benefitted from just under 20 million hours of unpaid work – saving up to £130 million in wages even if all these jobs had only been paid at minimum wage.  And they call benefit claimants scroungers.

What the statistics do show is that Community Work Placements have been yet another DWP shambles.  51,430 people have been referred to the companies running the scheme – G4S in most areas – yet less than half of those have actually started a placement.  In an economy where 4 million people are out of work and want a job the truth is there isn’t even enough workfare to go round, a problem which has dogged unpaid work schemes ever since Tony Blair launched the New Deal in 1998.

The ferocious resistance to workfare is another reason why the DWP is struggling to find enough work placements.  Even the most enthusiastic supporters of workfare such as the Salvation Army and the YMCA snubbed the placements as ‘too long’ and ‘not beneficial’.  Worryingly however, other DWP documents show that these so-called charities may be wobbling on this position.

In February and March this year (pdf) Esther McVey, the now unemployed former Employment Minister, met the Salvation Army, YMCA and the Sue Ryder Foundation to discuss Community Work Placements.  All three of these charities have told the public they are not involved with the scheme, and Sue Ryder claim to be out of workfare completely.  Which begs the fucking question why the cosy chat with McVey?  What is there to talk about?  What were they offered and did they accept?  Why not ask them @YMCA_England, @Sue_Ryder and @salvationarmyuk

To join the fight against forced unpaid work visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/

Usual apology for lack of posts, emails unanswered, slack moderation etc.  Been one thing after a fucking other this last few months.  Normal service will hopefully be resumed soon.

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Not Content With Mass Workfare, Now Sue Ryder Want to Take Over the NHS!

nhs-coffinBREAKING NEWS: Sue Ryder have said they will begin a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Government’s mandatory workfare schemes.

On the day that the Daily Mirror reported NHS privatisation is set to extend far beyond what was originally proposed, Sue Ryder Chief Executive Paul Woodward is littering the pages of The Guardian with a grubby attempt to take over parts of the NHS.

The charity’s call for more involvement in providing NHS care was first revealed in the comments of this blog, by the ever vigilant Bob Chewie.  In a truly impressive PR fail, Woodward’s piece confirming their intentions comes after hundreds of people contacted the charity over the weekend demanding they pull out of workfare.  Boycott Workfare have called for a Rolling Online Picket against the charity’s use of forced unpaid labour.

Last week Sue Ryder made the shocking announcement that they will use people on sickness or disability benefits as forced volunteers.  The charity remain one of the largest workfare exploiters as decent organisations across the UK have pulled out of the schemes.

This hasn’t phased Sue Ryder who have attempted to claim that people on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, and the compulsory Community Action Programme are somehow ‘volunteers’.

In truth these ‘volunteers’ can have benefits stopped, in some cases for up to three years, if they refuse to work unpaid.

Sue Ryder have been unrepentant about their use of mass workfare.  They seem equally proud of their desire to help dismantle the NHS.

Tell them what you think @Sue_Ryder (#shameonsue) and join the rolling picket with full details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=2121

Above pic found at: @blues525: http://twitpic.com/8rlqde

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Join The Sue Ryder Rolling Online Picket and Help Stop Workfare!

workfare-protestBREAKING NEWS: Sue Ryder have said they will begin a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Government’s mandatory workfare schemes.

via Boycott Workfare

Join an online, rolling picket of workfare exploiters Sue Ryder.

Starts: Now
Ends: When Sue Ryder pull out of all forms of workfare.

Since Sue Ryder became the first and only UK charity to admit they will use claimants on sickness and disability benefits as forced unpaid workers hundreds of people have contacted them to express disgust at their activities.

This followed the revelation that Sue Ryder are part of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme and also accepted free workers on the Community Action Programme. This is one of the nastiest workfare schemes which involves 720 hours forced unpaid work simply for being unemployed. This is over twice the maximum Community Service punishment which can be handed out by the Courts.

Sue Ryder are unrepentant about their use of mass workfare and have even boasted about how much money it makes them!  In a Question and Answer response to online criticism they sought to justify this by claiming people forced to work their shops under threat of poverty and destitution are ‘volunteers’.

We urgently need to keep up the pressure and ensure that Sue Ryder know exactly what the public think about forced unpaid work. Join the hundreds of people who have already said they will boycott the charity and send a message not just to Sue Ryder, but to any other charity considering the Government’s vile offer of forced free labour carried out by sick and disabled claimants.

Contact info

Telephone: 0845 050 1953 (they also have a freephone number for shopping online at: 0800 917 8123)

General contact form
There well staffed PR office can be reached on: alice.clements@suerydercare.org
To let them know you no longer wish to donate use: paul.martin@suerydercare.org
To find locations and contact details for individual shops visit

Sue Ryder have a youtube channel here
Join the facebook bombardment and tweet their main account @sue_ryder (people have been using the hashtag #shameonsue)

Sue Ryder shops with individual twitter accounts include: @SRReadingRetro, @SRHeadingley, @SueRyderVintage, @SueRyderKH, @SueRyderWinch, @suerydervandr@SueRyderSandbac, @Sueryderlitmoor, @SRHaworth1, @SRBrockworth, @SRyderDewsbury, @SueRyderLiscard, @SueRyderMond, @SueRyderFarrell, @SueRyderMoreton

SueRyder shops with active facebook pages include:
(search for “sue ryder” shop on facebook to find more)

Scott Arms Birmingham
South West
Bourton on the Water

We urge people not to contact hospices run by the charity or clinical/care staff. This is about ending workfare, not disrupting people’s care.

Whilst it’s well worth trying to speak to a manager or senior individual if possible please bear in mind most people taking calls/emails will be low paid retail/admin staff and could even be on workfare themselves. Be aware that is an offence to make telephone calls or send communications which are threatening, indecent or offensive.

Join the National Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1996

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Sue Ryder Admit They Will Force Sick and Disabled Claimants to Work Unpaid (and that workfare doesn’t work)

chain_gangBREAKING NEWS: Sue Ryder have said they will begin a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Government’s mandatory workfare schemes.

In the second astonishing statement in a week, Sue Ryder have admitted their workfare scheme is useless at helping people find work and they will be possibly the only UK charity to force sickness benefit claimants to work unpaid.

In an effort to excuse their shameful use of forced unpaid workers they have released a Q&A document in an attempt to justify their appalling activities.   The first question asks:

“Why continue involvement when government statistics show that workfare schemes are not helping more people find paid jobs?”

Sue Ryder had already answered this in their earlier statement when they boasted that they make millions from unpaid workers in their shit charity shops.  According to their own “internal research” the charity claims that just 1 in 4 of their forced workers eventually find a real paid job,  This is a somewhat suspicious boast given that in their first statement, just a few days ago, the figure was one in five.  Even this merely suggests that 75% of people are so traumatised by their time at Sue Ryder that they never work again.

It is the third question in their statement however which is likely to shock even the most hardened benefit bashers.  Sue Ryder now have the horrific distinction of being the only charity so far in the UK to admit to being happy to force claimants on sickness and disability benefits to work unpaid.

The charity states:

“Since December 2012, people who have been assessed by the government and found unfit to work, but potentially able to work in the future with support, may be referred onto a work placement.

“Our volunteer recruitment process ensures we have honest and open conversations with individuals about any conditions they have that could impact on their ability to take on a volunteering role. We don’t put volunteers into roles they are not able to carry out, and we regularly review volunteers already in roles in case of changes in ability, physical or mental, as well as changes in their interests, availability and training needs.”

Note that in the first paragraph Sue Ryder admit that even Atos and the Government consider this group to be too unwell to work at present.  These claimants have also all been signed off work by their own GP.  This matters not to greedy Sue Ryder bosses, who after a quick chat – no doubt with a charity shop manager – will now force people with serious health conditions into unpaid physical labour.

This defiant statement, which praises forced labour even for those whose own doctors have said they should not work, comes after the charity’s twitter and facebook pages were bombarded with people demanding an end to their cruel and exploitative practices.

That Sue Ryder have chosen to come out fighting shows utter contempt for the hundreds of former customers and donors who have complained about their use of unpaid work.

It is clear that all this charity cares about is money so boycott them, keep up the pressure and tell them what you think on twitter @sue_ryder and facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SueRyderNational

Join the National Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1996

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

We Make Millions From Forcing Sick and Disabled to Work Unpaid Boast Sue Ryder

BREAKING NEWS: Sue Ryder have said they will begin a ‘phased withdrawal’ from the Government’s mandatory workfare schemes.

An astonishing statement has been produced by so called charity Sue Ryder in which they boast of making millions from forced, unpaid work.

Despite most ethical charities distancing themselves from workfare, Sue Ryder claim that they earn a whopping half a million pounds a week (pdf)  from people forced to work in their shops for meagre benefits.

It also appears that Sue Ryder have no qualms about forcing sick and disabled claimants to work for nothing, saying:  “To honour our duty of care to Sue Ryder staff and volunteers we ensure people living with conditions that impact on their physical and mental abilities can safely and competently take on roles. We do this by talking honestly about a person’s capabilities and ensuring skills match roles.”

Last year the Government announced that many people on the sickness or disability benefit Employment Support Allowance can now be forced to work unpaid or face being plunged into immediate poverty and possible homelessness by benefit sanctions.  Under the regulations, unpaid placements could last as long as two years.

Up until now it had seemed that no organisation was unpleasant enough to take up the Government’s vile offer of free workers on sickness benefits.  Even the mass workfare using The Conservation Volunteers (@tcvtweets) amended their workfare policies and pleaded they would not use sick or disabled claimants as forced labour – unless of course they had been fount ‘fit for work’ by Atos, in which case off to the fields with them.

Sue Ryder also participated in the (currently missing, possibly dead) Community Action Programme, under which claimants are sentenced to 720 hours of unpaid work just for the crime of being unable to find a job.  As pointed out by Boycott Workfare, this is over twice the highest possible Community Service punishment that can be handed out by the Courts.

Despite Sue Ryder’s claims that their forced workers can leave any time they choose, the reality is that should they do so they will have benefits stopped, possibly for up to three years.

It seems that Sue Ryder are keen to establish themselves as one of the least ethical charities in the UK – an interesting branding strategy, particularly as Marie Curie Cancer Care, who carry out similar work, were one of the first major charities to pull out of workfare.

The only justification Sue Ryder offer for this mass exploitation is that it helps make them lots of money, a significant chunk of which no doubt goes to their highly paid executives.

Yet Scope, MIND, Shelter, Oxfam, Marie Curie, Sense, Age UK, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and countless other charities which depend on income from shops have all made statements claiming they will no longer use people forced to work for free.

If all these charities can live without forced labour then so can Sue Ryder.  They will only have themselves to blame when customers and donors abandon them in disgust at their boasts of gross exploitation.

Tell Sue Ryder what you think on twitter @sue_ryder or on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SueRyderNational

Join the National Week of Action Against Workfare beginning on March 18th: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1996

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid