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East and West London Unite to Attack Workfare

Despite the freezing temperatures and snow showers on Saturday 23rd March, members of Feminist Fightback, North London Solfed, Boycott Workfare and other local groups, residents and anti-workfare protesters picketed Argos in Leytonstone and Poundland in Wembley.

In Leytonstone, for a large demonstration the reception from the public was generally very positive, with residents driving past slowing down and opening windows asking for leaflets. Plenty of people stopped to chat despite the cold.

We picketed Argos as part of the Boycott Workfare week of action and we were originally going to picket Superdrug as well who pulled out a day before the demo; no doubt in part due to pressure from anti-workfare groups and campaigns across the country.

Picket in Holloway during the national day of action against workfare

The struggle against workfare continues. As a part of the national day of action members of the North London SolFed picketed several shops around Holloway.
As the stores coped with increased demand, Christmas season traditionally meant opportunities for temporary work in retail. This is changing. Under the guise of work experience, businesses increasingly take on benefit claimants instead. For today’s picket we chose shops where we heard this was happening. We started at Superdrug and  later moved to Argos. We held pickets outside, where we engaged with customers. We also went to the shops and talked to staff – if we don't stop workfare together, it may replace their jobs too.

Liverpool maintains the momentum against workfare

Another Saturday, another round of direct action against workfare providers in Liverpool. Members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation were joined by other local anarchists and activists to picket Holland & Barrett and Argos in the City Centre. The lively pickets saw 600 leaflets distributed and a number of shoppers turned away from both stores.

When we arrived at the main Holland & Barrett store in town, the security guard immediately got on the phone to the police. When they arrived, they took no action against us, but a complaint by the manager that our picket had abused staff (a claim which was entirely untrue) suggests that the continued pressure is starting to have an effect. Whilst the response from the public varied from largely ambivalent to positive and supportive, local security were clearly extremely hostile.

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Solidarity Federation