As part of the Solidarity Federation's ongoing campaign targeting employers who use workfare, members of North London SF today converged on Kilburn High Road.
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:
It has to be said today went well. An anarchist contingent several hundred strong gathered at Harmsworth for the big march into central London, with more red and black flags than ever and plans to totally ignore Hyde Park's selection of crusty bureaucrats telling us that we (ie. they) are "being heard" to ask nicely for slightly less austerity, please? Oh go on, pretty please?
As part of the ongoing national campaign against Workfare, Poundland on Abington Street is bracing itself for the 3rd picket in as many weeks this weekend. Please get involved and help us intensify the pressure. If you can't make the pickets there are other ways you can get involved. Contact us via the website.
We've let them know that we aren't giving up until they withdraw from the Governments forced labour scheme, and start paying ALL the workers. It seems that the staff at Pondland in Northampton are confused as to why unpaid workers are at Poundland. Its because your managers signed up for it.
On Saturday, the Lib Dems' party conference was in Brighton. Following a protest march, there were simultaneous mass pickets of firms using workfare across Brighton. Rather than simply 'having our say' and being ignored by politicians, the idea was to disrupt a high profile coalition policy - the forced, unpaid work schemes known as workfare.
The Liberal Democrat conference is being held in Brighton on Saturday 22nd September 2012 – there will be a large demonstration organised by Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition and Brighton Trades Council.
To coincide with this, Brighton Solidarity Federation, Brighton Benefits Campaign and Brighton Uncut are calling for a day of action in Brighton against workfare – instead of ineffectually “having our say” and being ignored by the junior coalition partner, we should physically shut down a high profile coalition policy.
On Saturday 8th September, South London Solidarity Federation
continued its campaign against Workfare, a collection of government
"Back to Work" schemes that result in unemployed people being
forced to work unpaid, undermining the conditions of all workers.
After our success in forcing Holland and Barrett to withdraw from the scheme, we decided on Poundland as our next target.
We held a picket at Poundland's shop in Brixton, We held our banners across the front of the shop, talked to its workers about our opposition to the Workfare programme, handed out leaflets, and dissuaded customers from shopping there.
Earlier today, North London SolFed targeted Poundland as part of our national campaign against workfare. Despite it being a Sunday, the High Road was fairly busy. We arrived early to set up our Stuff Your Boss stall opposite Poundland at the market and received some interest from passers by who were offered informational leaflets about their rights at work (Stuff Your Boss) and their rights as tenants (Stuff Your Landlord) as well as others.
At noon several of us entered the store to talk to the employees, to explain the reasons for our picket and the conversations we had were quite positive. Afterwards we set up our picket and began handing out leaflets to shoppers and passing members of the public. Soon we were also joined by members of other local groups and residents who happened upon our stall in the market.
On Saturday 8th September, as part of the campaign against the government’s workfare programme, members of Liverpool Solidarity Federation, the Anarchist Federation and various other local activists held a tour of some of the city’s most high-profile exploiters of the unemployed.
First stop was Poundland in Williamson Square, who recently restarted their work programme following a high-profile court case brought by students who were forced to work in one of their stores. Banners were unfurled and we immediately began engaging with the passing public, passing on information about workfare and letting them know Poundland’s role in it.
Spain might become the next country in the EU to introduce its own workfare scheme. The government is planning to introduce a compulsory work program for the unemployed. The workers on the program would be paid the official minimum wage but the placements aren’t voluntary and don't have to be connected to the person’s normal trade. The work could last as long as the person has entitlement to claim the dole.