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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Brighton March of Shame a Great Success

Week of Action Against Workfare 

We Won't Work for Benefits or No Pay


 
 
 


On May 26th Brighton Benefits Campaign held a national conference  to co-ordinate opposition to Workfare – the idea of working for your dole, i.e. not being paid to work.  BBC, which has been going for a number of years now, consists of both claimants and trade unionists, which accounts for why it has continued to be Britain's most active group! 

Today we held a Workfare Walk of Shame and over 30 people joined in and hundreds of people took leaflets.  Almost everyone we spoke to was supportive of the campaign and opposed the wage slavery ideology of the Coalition Government that you should work for free when on the dole, so that Sainsbury’s et al. can cream off even bigger profits.

Just before the day of the demonstration we learnt that our major target in recent weeks – the ‘right-on’ company Holland and Barrett which supplies health foods for the trendy conscience end of the middle classes had decided that making people work for free is perhaps not quite compatible with a healthy life-style!  It had therefore decided to pull out.

We began the walk of shame led by 4 Prisoners from the Workfare  Chain Gang  complete with a metal chain that clanked along.  I was in favour of attaching an iron ball to it as well, to make it more realistic, but unfortunately this was turned down!

We started off with our favourite clothing shop – Primark – which demonstrates that when it comes to exploiting third world children and people in this country they make no distinction.  They are an equal opportunities exploiter – race plays no part in who they decide to exploit.  After Primark we paid a double visit to Argos Stores, which had allegedly pulled out of Workfare but hasn’t, and  McDonalds – a multi-billion dollar corporation always looking for that little bit extra for Ronald, on the basis that you look after kids when they are sick in order that they can grow into healthy teenagers who can then be exploited (much like Barnardos which participated in a similar scheme some years ago).

And then it was across Brighton’s Western Road to visit the druggies favourite – Superdrug.  There at an all but deserted shop we made our presence felt as the hapless manager looked on.  And finally it was back to the Clocktower for a picket of the Boots store opposite.  Boots is also eager to take maximum advantage of cheap/free labour via this kind and caring government.  So this is what the Big Society is all about – you let bankers run riot through our finances and make sure that unemployed kids contribute free labour to make up the gambling losses.

And then finally it was across the road for a short visit to our old favourite – Holland and Barrett.  Yes we know they’ve pulled out of Workfare now but they are bringing in apprenticeships instead – probably at the magnificent sum of £2.50 an hour.  As we took up positions to proclaim our triumph the exasperated manager came out and asked ‘what are you lot doing here.  I thought you’d be satisfied now.’  No mate, there’s no pleasing some people!

Tony Greenstein

Boycott Workfare

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Week of action already a success! Major blow for government as Holland & Barrett pull out


A national campaign against Holland & Barrett was called by Sol Fed

Before it even starts, the Week of Action has had a major success: Holland & Barrett who have been using workfare on a huge scale (1100 placements a year amongst a workforce of 3500) have said that “the 60 people currently undertaking the work experience scheme will be the last to complete the eight week placement. After this time Holland & Barrett will not participate further in that scheme.”

Unable to acknowledge people’s ethical concerns about them using an unpaid workforce on a massive scale, they have made the hilarious claim that the decision is due to the threat to customer and staff safety from our peaceful protests planned this weekend! These follow regular pickets called by Sol Fed who co-ordinated a national campaign against the company’s involvement in workfare.

But Holland & Barrett aren’t totally off the hook yet. They continue to use the current 60 workfare placements until these finish. Their announcement indicates that they intend to replace workfare with apprentices, which would allow them to pay a wage of just £2.60 an hour, far below the living wage.

Nevertheless, their announcement shows that our protests can push back workfare in the UK. Holland & Barrett is just one of hundreds of businesses, public sector employers and charities profiting from replacing paid work with workfare. Protests will continue this week to target other brands still involved. These include British Heart Foundation, who have boasted that they have at least one workfare placement in every store, Argos, Superdrug, ShoeZone, Asda, Tescos, Wilkinsons, The Works, the list goes on.

The tide is turning and following massive public pressure, we are pleased to say the following companies and organisations say they will no longer take part in workfare:

TK Maxx
Sainsbury’s
Waterstones
Shelter
Marie Curie
99p stores
Maplin
Oxfam
Mind
BHS

Burger King – although they have only mentioned one of the five workfare schemes
HMV
Boots
Body Shop


The following have suspended their involvement. We look forward to them confirming that they will stop involvement in any of the government’s workfare schemes:

Scope
Matalan

The particularly misleading ones

Poundland have said they will pull out of the Work Progamme but remain in the Work Experience Scheme
Tesco are still involved in the scheme
Argos – despite telling the Guardian that they had suspended involvement, they are now back at it
Superdrug – see their tweet which claimed they’d suspended invovlement but we’ve since has evidence they are using the Work Experience scheme again
Pizza Hut say they have the scheme under review. Age UK is investigating.

The following have stated that they are not involved:

Miss Selfridge
Mr Gleam wrote to tell us that they have never been part of the scheme.

Hold them to it!


Ask in your local stores to confirm that no one is on DWP “Work Experience”, Mandatory Work Activity, the Community Action Programme, Sector Based Work Academies, or Work Programme placements: all of these are forced unpaid work, or workfare schemes. Let us know if you hear otherwise.

The following companies and organisations are known to have used or be using workfare:

100+ Workfare Providers

List 1: Alphabetical list

List 2:  Workfare Organised by a4e under Flexible New Deal (Holloway
Branch)

List 1: Alphabetical list
A4e
The AA [Source: @StockportJCP on Twitter]
Age Concern
Alpha Stream – Kent
Argos
Asda
Asian Star Community Radio LTD
ATS
Barnardos
BHS – British Home Stores [1] – claim to have pulled out
Blue Arrow
Bookers Wholesale
Boots – Claim to have pulled out
B&Q
British Heart Foundation
Burger King – claim to have pulled out
Burton
Carillion – Kent
Capability Scotland
Cancer Research
Close Protection UK
DB Accident Repair – Kent
DC Cleaning  Sussex
Diamond Glass Medway – Kent
Dorothy Perkins [1]
Envirostream – Kent
Evans [1]
Finsbury Park Business Forum
FP Mailing [Source: Interview with Director, LBC Radio 27/6/12]
F&S Interiors – Kent
Go Response – Kent
Helen & Douglas House Hospice – Maidenhead
HMV [3] – claim to have pulled out
Holiday Inn
Holland & Barrett – claim to have pulled out
Gorgie City Farm – have informed us that they do not take part
Greggs the bakers
Grosvenor Casinos [Source: @DundeeTayside Jobcentre Twitter]
Haven House Children’s Hospice
Hilton Hotels
JA Glover – Kent
Jessup Electrical Wholesale Ltd – Kent
JJ Vickers & Sons Ltd – Kent
Kennedy Scott
Kent Flooring Supplies – Kent
Kent Space – Kent
Marriot Hotels
Maplin – have tweeted that they have withdrawn, awaiting statement
Matalan – have suspended workfare. Keep up the pressure for them to drop it!
Mayhem Paintball – Kent
McDonald’s
Medway Council
Medway Tyres – Kent
Miss Selfridge – claim were never involved
Newham Council
Newhaven Community Development
Olympic Glass – Kent
Omnico Plastics Ltd – Kent
Outfit [1]
Payless – Kent
PDSA
Pizza Hut – scheme “under review” – keep up the pressure!
Plumbase – Kent
Poundland
Poundstretcher
PPDG
Primark
Process Plant Services Ltd – Kent
RBLI
Regency Guillotine – Kent
Richmond Fellowship
Romney Resource Kent
Royal Mail
RNR Performance Cars – Kent
Saffron Acres Project
Salvation Army
Savers
SERCO
Scope – have suspended their involvement. Keep up the pressure for them to pull out!
Scout Enterprises
Servest – Kent, London
SHOC Slough Homeless
Shoe Zone
Signs & Imaging Ltd – Kent
Slough Library
Slough Furniture Project
Southern Membranes Ltd – Kent
Southern Metal Services – Kent
Southern Roofing & Building Supplies – Kent
Stephens Fresh Food – Kent
Sue Ryder
Superdrug
Swan Lifeline – Windsor
Tate Recruitment
Tesco
Topman [1]
Topshop [1]
The Range
Town and Country Cleaners Kent
Wallis [1]
Westvic Enamellers – Kent
WHSmith
Whittingtons Silk Flower & Plant Centre – Kent
Wilkinsons
The Works

Tens of thousands of unemployed people made to work without pay

Latest Workfare statistics: (15 Feb 2012)

References:

[1] Arcadia Group

[2] Asda, Tesco, Tussauds Group, WHSmith, Royal Mail, Greggs…

[3]

“The names and locations of organisations participating in the Work Programme in the South East (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) Contract Package Area by providing mandatory work placements through the DWP’s prime providers G4S and Avanta Enterprise Limited and their subcontractors.”The DWP appear to have removed this link, so you can find it here instead.

“A list of those organisations signed up to provide work placements (4 weeks, unpaid) under the Mandatory Work Activity and Mandatory Work Programme schemes as referred by JCP and its linked provider (A4E & Maximus) in the Thames Valley area, listing each name by town heading (Reading, Slough… etc).”

Note: Those organisations, such as Age Concern, are listed without reference to locality of placement(s) as they are a National organisation. However, it is possible for placements to have been organised on a local level without Corporate consent. Some organisations may be  agencies that match volunteers with voluntary work placements, DWP Workfare Providers may be using them without the coordinating organisation or placement provider fully understanding the placements are Workfare.

List 2:  Workfare Organised by a4e under Flexible New Deal (Holloway Branch)

Workfare Placements organised by A4e Holloway, under Flexible New Deal

4 ACRES
4 ACRES LIMITED PALMERS GREEN
ABNEY PARK CEMETERY
A-CLASS FOOTBALL FOUNDATION
BARAKAH MINI MARKET

BOOKERS CASH AND CARRY
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION (Camden)
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION (Crickle Wood)
BTVC
CENTRE WESTMINSTER
CHARITY SHOPS IN VARIOUS LONDON PLACES
DAYLIGHT
DOREEN HAIR FASHION SALOON
ENVIRONMENT AND REGENERATION
FINSBURY PARK  BUSINESS FORUM
FRIENDS OF THE EARTH
HANDEL HOUSE MUSEUM
HARRIOTS
HIGHGATE NEWTOWN COMM CENTER
HOME START
HOMES FOR ISLINGTON
HORNSEY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
KILTRO(UK) LTD
LINCOLN HARTFORD SOLICITORS
LIVABILITY
MARIE CURIE
NORFOLK TRUCKS
OXFAM BOOKSHOP
OXFAM BOOKSHOP HIGHGATE
P.D.S.A
P.H.A RECRUITMENT SOLUTIONS
RESTORE  COMMUNITY PROJECT
SAINT MUGUS
SALIBURY MEWS HARINGES
SPRINGBOARD UK
ST. MARY PRE-SCHOOL
STRATEGIC PRO. OFFICE, ISLINGHTON
STUDIO 28 LIGHT AND DESIGN
SUNNYSIDE ECOLOGY CENTER

TRADE LIMITED
WESTMINSTER VOLUNTEER CENTER
WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL
Y.M.C.A.
YMCA GOODGE ST.
YMCA KENSINGTON
1′OCLOCK CLUB BARNSBURY
ARABIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT
ASDA STARES EDMONTON GREEN
ASPIRE FOUNDATION
BARDENS CAFÉ
BBC/subell leisure centre
BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
CAREFREE KIDS
ESSENTIAL RUBBER
FINSBURY + CLERTRNWELL VOLUNTEERS
FINSBURY PARK BUSINESS FORUM
FINSBURY PARK BUSINESS FORUM (MARSHALLS
TEAM)
GARDENING
HACKNEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE
HIGH GATE NEWTOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE
HIGH GATE NEWTOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE (POOR
SCHOOL)
MARIE CURIE
MATRIX COMPLEX
OUR LADY HELP OF CHRISTIANS
OXFAM BOOKSHOP
PRAMP
RESTORE COMMUNITY PROJECTS
RICHARD CL SCHOOL
ROBERT BLAIRE PRIMARY SCHOOL
THE R.S.P.C.A.
WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL
WILLIAM FROST GARDENING
WORKING MEN’S COLLEGE
ANGLO-CHINESE ARTS COUNCIL
4 ACRES
A4E
BTCV
CAMPAIGN AGAINST ARMS TRADE – Since this placement, CAAT was the first NGO to sign up to the pledge not to accept workfare.
CARE UK
EALING HAMMERSMITH & WEST LONDON COLLEGE
FINSBURY PARK BUSINESS FORUM
GARDENING
HIGH GATE NEWTOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE
HIGH GATE NEWTOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE
HOME START
HOUSE STREET CHARITY BOOKSHOP/GILLESPIE
PARK NATURE RESERVE
LIGHT PROJECT INTERNATIONAL
MARIE CURIE – Marie Curie have since withdrawn
MEDOUET
OXFAM
OXFAM BOOKSHOP
PETER BEDFORD HOUSING ASSOCIATION
RESTORE COMMUNITY PROJECTS
ST. JOHN’S STREET LIBRARY/AGE CONCERN
Whittington hospital
WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL
YMCA CAMDEN
OXFAM BOOKSHOP
a4e CAMDEN
A4E WOOLWICH
BARAKAH MINI MARKET
CANCER RESEARCH UK
CITY OF LONDON CORPORATION
FINSBURY AND CLERKENWELL VOLUNTEERS
FINSBURY PARK BUSINESS FORUM
HARINGAY VOLUNTARY SERVICES
HIGHBURY NEW PARK DAY CENTRE
HIGHGATE NEWTOWN COMMUNITY CENTRE
LONDON FELD PRIMARY SCHOOL
MIGRANTS RESOURCE CENTRE
MONTEM PRIMARY SCHOOL
OUR LADY KENTISH TOWN
OXFAM BOOKSHOP
RESTORE COMMUNITY PROJECTS
ROYAL COURTS OF JUSTICE
SAINSBURY’S GOLDERS GREEN
SIMPLY ACCOUNTABLE
SUE RYDER CARE – CITY OF ISL.
TINY TOTS NURSERY/HG COMM CENTRE
VOLUNTEER CENTRE HAMMERSMITH
WHITTINGTON HOSPITAL
YMCA
YMCA CHARITY SHOP

As of 16 02 12
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