Tag Archives: Week of Action

Week Of Action Against Workfare Begins: Please Spread The Word!

boycott-workfare-week-of-actionJoin the online action today against workfare exploiters @SUBWAYUKIreland in solidarity with #fastfoodrights. Tell them what you think on facebook, or for more info go to: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

The Week of Action Against Workfare begins today with actions across the UK and online scheduled over the next seven days.

The week has been called in response to mass unpaid work schemes such as Traineeships and comes in the month that Community Work Placements are set to be launched.  These mandatory placements will mean unemployed people forced to work in at charities and in so-called community organisations for a period of six months.

In a huge embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, workfare’s biggest supporters The Salvation Army have already announced that this scheme is too exploitative even for them to stomach.  The charity had been invited by the DWP to bid for a lucrative sub-contract to administer the placements.  Other charities are also rumoured to be pulling out of the scheme – watch this space or keep an eye on Boycott Workfare’s website and twitter feed @boycottworkfare.

Protests and actions are already planned this week in Cardiff (tomorrow and on Friday April 4th) , Edinburgh, Liverpool, Brighton, Swansea and Glasgow.  Feel free to post details of additional events in the comments.

Online events will also be taking place throughout the week, I’ll try post them here but visit Boycott Workfare’s website for the latest news and join the facebook page for the week of events.

Please share, blog and tweet details of all events.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Stop Workfare In Its Tracks – Join The Week Of Action 29 March – 6 April 2014

salvation-army-workfareIn April George Osborne’s mass workfare scheme will begin.  Unemployed people will be sentenced to 780 hours community work simply for being unable to find a job. Not even lone parents with young children are to be exempt from the scheme which will see so-called charities like Groundwork UK and the Salvation Army paid by the tax payer to force people to work for free.  Part time workers and those currently genuinely volunteering will also face being sent on unpaid work.

Collective action can halt this forced labour scheme in its tracks.  A week of action against workfare has been called beginning on the 29th March.  An escalation in the campaign against unpaid work is vital and there is no better chance than this.  It only takes a few people to get the ball rolling, and protests against organisations using workfare have proved to be effective.  Boycott Workfare can offer support with publicity, leaflets and advice. Please help spread the word about the week of action and let’s make this the strongest stand against people being forced to work for free that has been seen so far.

From Boycott Workfare:

Tens of organisations have already quit workfare. The government will not reveal which organisations are still using it for fear the schemes will collapse. Its contractors complain that they have lost hundreds of placements due to public pressure.

But they’re trying it again with a new scheme – “Community Work Placements” – launching on 1 April 2014 which will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence. Workfare does not help people find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.

This new workfare scheme is part of a raft of draconian measures, misleadingly called “Help to Work”, which are designed to increase sanctions (benefit stoppages) and undermine wages still further.

For the workfare schemes to happen, they need places to send people, but tens of large charities have already quit. Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. Liverpool CVS has condemned the scheme in the strongest possible terms.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Target the charities:

  • Friendly local charity or Volunteer Service? Invite them to commit not to use forced unpaid work by signing our pledge.
  • Big workfare user like RSPCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos or Cancer Research? Write to them, organise a demo or encourage people you know not to donate until they stop using workfare!
  • Approach workers in the voluntary sector to ask them to pressure their employer not to participate in the scheme. There are often Union branches for voluntary sector workers you could contact.
  • Visit boycottworkfare.org daily during the week to take part in online action!

Target the councils:

  • Find out if we know about workfare in your local council on this spreadsheet.
  • If so, adapt our press release and expose them in your local paper.
  • Contact local Unison, GMB or Unite branches for council workers and encourage them to pass the motion to challenge workfare and to take it up with the council.
  • Find out if any sympathetic local councillors would take a motion to the council for it to boycott workfare. It has been done!

Support each other to get our rights:

  • Order know your rights leaflets to give out at the job centre or around your local community – email info[at]boycottworkfare.org with how many you would like!
  • Thinking about starting a mutual support group? Invite an existing group to help get it going with a workshop or talk.

Want to target the companies involved in workfare as well?
There are currently call outs to target Peacocks, and Grosvenor Casinos. Or there’s our crowd-sourced list of workfare exploiters to whom you may also like to pay a visit.

For more info visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3353 and follow @boycottworkfare for the latest news.

Please join and share the facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1548766378680842/

Read about the recent inspiring action by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty against workfare exploiters The Salvation Army.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Day 5: Online Action on workfare and sanctions – the finale

WorkFare-not-workingFrom Boycott Workfare

The week of action has seen a very loud noise demo at the workfare industry’s annual conference, hijacking its hashtag and actions in Cardiff, Wrexham, and even one in Germany! There’s loads more planned this weekend – with a new action just announced in Sheffield this Saturday too (and one coming up next week in Oxford!).

Thanks to everyone who’s been putting the pressure on online too. We’ve kept a lot of workfare exploiters’ Facebook Page moderators very busy this week and we’ve seen time and again how pressure from action on the streets plus online embarrassment can be enough to make a company or charity think twice!

Today, please help show all the companies and charities we’ve contacted this week that we won’t stop until they do. Scroll down our website front page for ways to contacts some of the worst offending charities, biggest workfare-using companies, those that make the workfare industry conference happen and those cutting wage bills using young people on traineeships.

The petition to end all welfare sanctions without exception is only 300 away from 10,000 – please take a few minutes to spread the word and help make it 10,000 by the end of the week of action!

And if you’ve still got a bit of time to spare, please feel free to contact any of the workfare exploiters listed here.

Thanks for being part of the week of action!

Groundwork are on twitter @groundworkuk and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groundworkuk

TCV are on twitter @TCVtweets and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TheConservationVolunteers

YMCA are on twitter @YMCA_England and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/YMCA.England

The Salvation Army are on twitter @salvationarmyuk and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/salvationarmyuk

Marks & Spencer

By email: Using their online form
By phone: See this useful list of numbers
Facebook: Marks and Spencer
Twitter: @marksandspencer

B&M Stores

By email: enquiries@bmstores.co.uk or customerservices@bmstores.co.uk
By phone: 0151 728 5400 or more numbers here.
Facebook: B&M Stores
Twitter: @bmstores


Asda contact form: Click here
Facebook: Asda
Twitter: @asda

Toywatch: let them know what you think on shop@toy-watch.com, comment on their Facebook page, give them a call on 020 3301 8744 or pay them a visit.  They are on twitter @ToyWatchWorld


Share your thoughts on Subway’s Facebook page or take a look at their contact details.  They are on twitter @SUBWAYUKIreland

Don’t forget to sign the petition calling for an end to all benefit sanctions without exceptions.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

DPAC Week of Action Events Announced – Please Organise And Spread The Word

DPAC-Protesters-in-the-West-En-007Latest details for the upcoming week of action beginning August 29th – please help spread the word!
Disabled People Against Cuts, Black Triangle, Mental Health Resistance Network and the WOW petition bring you:

*Reclaiming Our Futures*

From 29th August – 4th September DPAC and other campaigns will offer a range of activities you can get involved in. These events will bring together our anger at what is happening now, and celebrate our victories won, both in the past and to come.

The plan below is only half the story. We want YOU, your Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation, your campaign group, your community, your friends to put on events and get involved too. Can’t get to our exhibition? – then put on your own. Can’t get to our direct action? – then do your own or organise barbecues, debates, quiz nights, family days, picnics – whatever! ACT – in celebration or in anger! (PS don’t forget to let us know what you’re doing).

Thursday 29th August – YOU launch our 7 days  of action

A range of resources will be available for your use as we ask all supporters to start our week of action with an online blitz. You will be the ones creating the buzz and the hype sending letters and twitter messages to targets of your choice ranging from MPs to disability charities to the media. We will be producing twibbons and memes but make and circulate your own. If you haven’t got a Social Media account (such as Facebook & Twitter) set one up now, link to DPAC ( twitter: @Dis_PPL_Protest) and let’s create a cyber wave. #dpacrof

The launch will coincide with Transport for All’s Day of Action to make CrossRail accessible: http://dpac.us7.list-manage.com/track/click?u=4d6df6fd8405aff8805b464e6&id=7411f431ef&e=c62d97673f

Friday 30th August – Local Protests

Last year during the ATOS Games over 30 local actions took place around the UK Local actions mean you get to choose the target of your choice. You could take the Reclaiming Our Futures manifesto to present at your local MP’s constituency office, spread it through social media, protest on the streets against segregated education, the proposed ILF closure or show solidarity at your local Remploy site (for those few factories in their last weeks of operation). Alternatively, you might want to lobby your local Council on the Bedroom Tax and cuts to local services/support. Oh, and as we know  ATOS offices are still around too….we’re sure you have other great ideas to add… Remember to let us know what you are doing so we can promote your actions. We will be producing local action resource packs but any materials you develop please send us copies to share with other protests and online.

Saturday 31st – Disability, Art & Protest Exhibition and Fundraising Gig

An exhibition and sharing of work exploring disability, art and protest followed by a ticketed fundraising gig run in partnership with Madpride and Tottenham Chances. Come during the day and join in our banner making workshop to prepare for the big Freedom Drive on the 4th September. If you would like to nominate an artist, collective and/or piece of work please let us know (including any links) and we will try to get them involved. If you want to do a local, street or online art protest too-this could be the day to do it.

Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, London, N17 6QN
12 – 7pm Exhibition: disability, art and protest
1 – 3.30pm Banner and placard making workshop
4 – 6pm Sharing of Work
7.30pm til late Gig

Sunday 1st September – Reclaiming the Social Model: the social model in the 21st Century

Key speakers : Anne Rae: former UPIAS and current chair of the Greater
Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP), Colin Barnes: Professor of Disability Studies at Leeds Centre for Disability Studies

As government and the private sector increasingly use a so-called ‘modern understanding of disability’ to redefine who is and who isn’t disabled it is more important than ever that we understand, defend and promote the social model of disability. This isn’t helped when the social model is not fully supported within our movement. This event will be a chance to hear from a range of speakers and to discuss why the social model is still relevant today to our lives and our futures and to map out what we need to do to fight for it. The event will be live-streamed with the opportunity for people to participate in the discussion virtually. We will also be promoting a range of resources around the social model.

Venue (tbc): University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY
Time: 12.30 – 4.30pm

Monday 2nd September – Direct Action

Despite the huge efforts of thousands of disabled people throughout the country, it is increasingly difficult to find spaces where lies, inaccuracies and mis-use of statistics can be challenged. DPAC recently released a study into how the DWP uses all of these to vilify and demonise disabled people. But why is this down to us? People should be presented with both sides of the story and this isn’t happening. Disabled people are having to find ways to make sure our truths will be heard. Watch this space…

Tuesday 3rd September – ‘I Dare’ day

A day of online action to reinforce that we want Rights not Charity and a society where we are able to operate on our own terms as disabled people. Dare to ask for Rights not Charity. Dare to be an activist. Dare to ask more of ‘our’ organisations. We aren’t asking for Care, we want Power: Power to write the script for our own lives, and not to be written out or written off by others. A range of actions and captions will be available for you to capture in an image and circulate online.

Wednesday 4th September – FREEDOM DRIVE

A final-day march and events in and around Parliament. Four themed ‘blocks’ will meet at 4 Government departments, central to the lives of disabled people. After handing over our demands, blocks will then move towards Parliament for a lobby where we will formally launch the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto and present our demands to our elected representatives.

Choose your ‘block’ and meet at 12.45pm at one of:
•    Department for Education to oppose government attacks on inclusive education and a return to segregation (Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT)
•    Department of Energy and Climate Change if you’re angry about the numbers of disabled people living in fuel poverty while the energy companies rake in ever growing profits (3 Whitehall Pl, City of Westminster, SW1A 2AW)
•    Department for Transport to challenge inaccessible transport, the opening of new inaccessible stations for Crossrail and proposed cuts to rail staff further reducing customer assistance (Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, London SW1P 4DR)
•    Department of Health to defend our NHS and demand our right to levels of social care support enabling choice, control, dignity and independence (Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS)

Lobby of Parliament: 5 – 6pm – launch of the UK Disabled People’s Manifesto

WE WANT EVERYBODY TO JOIN US ON THIS MARCH ideally in person, but also online-this is for everyone everywhere. There will be accessible transport from a variety of towns and cities throughout the country (details to follow) and there is some funding available for transport but we will need your co-operation and patience to make this work for everybody, so please bear with us and note that while DPAC members will be given priority we want to support as many people as we can. If you can’t get there send a photo or your name and you can march with us.

For more details of the week of action, info on how to get involved and the latest news visit:  http://dpac.uk.net/

Lets Reclaim Our Futures, together!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Week of Action Against Workfare Starts Early As Marks & Spencer Bombarded With Boycott Threats

mands-workfareHundreds of people bombarded Marks & Spencer on social media last night after the company boasted of their use of workfare earlier in the week.

The company were forced to lock down their facebook page in an attempt to silence criticism and are now preventing people from posting on their wall.  This has simply led to people leaving hundreds of comments threatening to boycott the company on their gaudy posts advertising over-priced food instead.

The ‘workfare party on the M&S facebook page’ as one person described it seems to be holding strong this morning whilst the company haven’t fared any better on twitter where they can be found @marksandspencer

Things are not likely to get any better for the company with a Week of Action Against Workfare beginning this Saturday where they will face further protests along with other greedy companies who don’t pay their staff.

As well as online and offline action targeting workfare exploiters the week will also see people leafleting Jobcentres and providing information to claimants about their rights.

The latest announced events are below.  Join in and contact contact Boycott Workfare to be added to the list.

Brighton – Poundland London Road, 12 pm Saturday 13th

Edinburgh – to come

Glasgow – meet outside M&S on Argyle Street, 1pm Saturday 13th July
(note link isn’t working for all, but details above are right!)

London – Hackney – Marks and Spencers, Hackney Narrow Way, Saturday 13th https://www.facebook.com/events/181572138678606/?context=create

London – Brixton – Infostall outside Brixton Job Centre, Brixton Road, from 11am (to about 1-2pm) on Wednesday 10th July https://www.facebook.com/events/486042374807869/

Sheffield – Town Hall, 1pm Saturday 6th July

Let the workfare profiteers know: If you exploit us, we will shut you down!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Join the Week of Action And Help Smash Workfare

boycott-workfare-weekThe Week of Action Against Workfare begins on March 18th.  Already several events are planned in Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and London.

Almost everyday new charities and companies pull out of forced labour.  Workfare is wobbling as the public says no to unpaid work.  Join the week of action and help bring an end to workfare for good!

Actions can be large or small, read a successful example of a two person action against workfare

Organise now and spread the word – contact Boycott Workfare to be added to the list of actions:  info@boycottworkfare.org

Events so far – keep an eye on Boycott Workfare for all the latest info or join the facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/517491058274105/

Follow @boycottworkfare on twitter for the latest news and announcements

Brighton – Wednesday 20 March, Fighting the Assault on Welfare, Public meeting, Friends Meeting House 7.30pm,

Brighton – Friday 22 March , Universal Jobmatch demo/leafleting, Brighton Jobcentre Edward Street 11am

Brighton – Saturday 23 March – Anti-workfare picket of Poundland meet Clock Tower 12 noon

Bristol – Sat 23rd March – End workfare in Bristol

Edinburgh – Sat 23rd March, meet 12 noon, Kirkgate shopping centre, foot of Leith Walk, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6AD. Organised by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty. Action against companies and charities using workfare.

Edinburgh – also… Mass leafleting of A4e, 11am – 2pm Wed 20 March, A4e, 34 Earl Grey Street Edinburgh EH3 9BN

Glasgow – Sat 23rd March, 11am, Argyle St.

Leeds – Sat 23rd March, 12.30pm, outside Leeds Art Gallery

London – Sat 16th March – ‘Blitz Sleuth’ of London high streets to find out where workfare is still being used. See the Facebook event.

London – Sat 23rd March – Workfare action with Sol Fed. Details tba.

Please share, blog, tweet and spread the word!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

21 Locations Lined Up For Week Of Action Against Workfare

Protests and actions against workfare are set to take place in 21 different locations next week as part of the National Week of Action Against Workfare called by Boycott Workfare.

Keep an eye on their website for the latest details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1154

These actions have been announced so far:

Birmingham – Join our workfare counter-conference on 10th July in Birmingham from 10am – 5.30pm at the Unite Building, Transport House, 211 Broad Street, Birmingham B15 1AY (Disability access provided). More info.

Brighton – 11am 7th July – Workfare walk of shame. More info.

Edinburgh – 12 noon 14th July. More info.

Hastings – 11.30am 7th July Station Plaza. More info.

Leeds – Planning page for the week of action, with workfare walks of shame on Wednesday and Thursday. More info.

Liverpool – Weekly pickets culminating in a 7th of July action! More Info.

London, Central – 7th July – 12 noon, near Goodge Street station. More info.

London, Blackheath and Brixton – Actions on 7th and 14th July. More info.

London, Hackney – Action on 14th July. More info.

London, Islington – Action on 7th July. More info.

London, Wood Green – 12-1pm, Saturday 7 July, 12 noon at Holland and Barrett, 129-131 High Road, N22 6BB and may end up somewhere else before 1pm. (Call 07817 483 167 if you can’t find us on the day.)

Poole – 1pm 7th July – Kingland Crescent Holland and Barrett. More info.

Rhondda Valley – Contact via Facebook event comments.

South West – July 7th will see our campaign take to the streets of Bristol again. The following week will see a variety of action across the region. We currently have news of pickets of workfare providers taking place in Bath, Yate, Wells, Stroud, Swindon and again in Bristol. More details to follow. More info.

York – Fountain Parliament Square 1pm 7th July. More info.

Boycott Workfare National Week of Action

A national week of action against workfare has been called by Boycott Workfare beginning on on Saturday 7th July.

Pickets, protests and direct action are planned across the UK with the aim of bringing to an end the current devastating Tory policy of forced labour on an industrial scale.

Visit the facebook page to find out about all actions or to list local events: http://www.facebook.com/events/481490495199880/

Already announced are: Liverpool – weekly pickets culminating in a 7th of July action! http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1082

Brighton – July 7th – 11am – workfare walk of shame http://www.facebook.com/events/147156832086122/  Brighton Solidarity Federation will be targeting Holland & Barrett on the same day, details to come.

The Guardian today features an extensive summary of the current workfare situation.  The piece includes a shocking boast from so called charity British Heart Foundation (@TheBHF) who proudly state they use workfare in every single one of their stores, which appear to be turning into little more than punishment centres for unemployed people.

Proper blogging will resume next week.

Week of Actions Against ATOS in Manchester

Manchester Coalition Against Cuts  and Manchester Against Benefit Cuts are organising a week of action against changes to disability living allowance and the role of ATOS in carrying out “evaluations” for fitness to work which have been linked to over 1000 deaths  (see press coverage). Please help spread the word!

Details of week of action
31 May, 12pm: Protest march from Albert Square to ATOS “assessment” centre at Albert Bridge House

6 June, 7pm: Public Meeting at Friends’ Meeting House on building resistance against ATOS

9 June, 11am: Petition and stall, Market Street

Manchester Against Benefit Cuts Facebook page