"I would have quit this job months ago, but I'd be sanctioned by the Jobcentre". That's what one friend told me after working unpaid overtime every evening that week, on low pay that barely covered bills and rent. It's a dilemma faced by everyone working in unsafe or illegal conditions. If you are fired then you have to get by for 5 weeks with no income while you wait for Universal Credit. If you quit, you risk being sanctioned and left for months with no money coming in at all. This is a system designed to punish workers for leaving, designed to keep us quiet and accept unfair or even illegal demands at work, while the rich rake in the profits. If we want to make better lives for ourselves then we should all make a stand against the benefits system, or it will undermine every attempt to organise our workmates.
Abolish workfare - the Solidarity Federation's guide to the government's unpaid work schemes
Workfare is a term used to describe a range of schemes in which people are forced to work without wages in order to receive their benefits. (pdf), (pdf)
Know your rights: failing a Work Capability Assessment
What to do if you 'fail' your work capability assessment
The Stuff Your New Deal Office doesn't want you to know
Download as a pdf here.
Claimants - today is a strike day (UWN J30 leaflet)
Download the pdf here.
posts by SolFed members that are low-paid claimant workers, unemployed, unwaged, students, retired and stay-home parents/carers
The title of this post is the sole criterion set down in the new workfare regulations regarding whom and under what conditions a person might be required to undertake one of the Government’s forced labour schemes (with the exception of MWA). Gone is the much vaunted ‘voluntary’ aspect that was used to defend the schemes for the last year; now, if you are a claimant it is now completely arbitrary whether you're forced to chose between wageless employement or the loss of your benefits. 'The benefits system has entered the State of Exception.'
These are schemes that are specifically aimed at providing free labour to parts of the private sector whose profits are hit by crisis.
The governement has today significantly increased the sanctions for non-compliance with the benefits regime, including the controversial unpaid, forced work 'workfare' schemes. Under a 'three strikes' policy, benefits will be stopped for three months, six months, and then three years for failing to meet a series of conditions, many of which relate to workfare. According to a notiification letter given to all JSA claimants, this includes:
The Youth Contact was launched at the beginning of April amidst much fanfare and empty talk about helping young unemployed people, whose numbers now stand at record levels. The initiative includes not only the expansion of workfare but also the much anticipated means by which the government will seek to salvage its flagship employment scheme, The Work Programme, from the consequences of its unsustainable funding model.
Workfare is a catch-all term that refers to a range of state sponsored wage-less work schemes. Recent withdrawals by high-street firms that had been involved in the Jobcentre’s nominally voluntary ‘work experience’ scheme has put politicians on the defensive forcing them to emphasise the (dubious) voluntary nature of the scheme. However the same defence cannot be made of the coalition’s flagship Work Programme, a compulsory scheme with a ‘mandatory work related activity’ component. But aside from the recent controversies surrounding workfare provider A4E relatively little has been said with regard to the Work Programme, which forces jobseekers as well as many sick and disabled Employment Support Allowance claimants into mandatory unpaid work through a number of private companies.