Bristol SolFed join Festive workfare action (and hits M&S twice in one day!)

Saturday the 13th December 2014 was a busy day for the Bristol local, as they took on workfare in Bristol and poverty pay in Swindon.

Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation turned out of a roving anti-workfare action in Bristol, responding to a callout from our friends Bristol Anarchist Federation. Around 30 people, many dressed as santa and belting out carols with revolutionary and anti-workfare lyrics held a noisy action in central Bristol calling on (and in one case, briefly invading) well known workfare users such as Poundland, Savers, M&S and Primark.

End Workfare - Street Party in Bristol - 13th December 2014

Join the anti-workfare Street Party in Bristol this Saturday, 13th December 2014.

Meeting at the Castle Park bandstand at 2pm sharp before moving off to visit some firms who profit from using unpaid workfare labour. Please try and make this and pass it on to your mates.

Bristol Solidarity Federation will be there, so look out for our banner! Our friends and comrades in Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bristol IWW are also helping mobilise for the event.

There is a facebook page for the event: "As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving – yet some companies still aren’t giving workers a wage. As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving - yet some companies still aren't giving workers a wage!

SLSF take to the streets of Lewisham in anti-workfare demo

On Saturday South London Solfed's roaming anti-workfare picket targeted businesses on Lewisham High Street exploiting unpaid labour.

Despite autumn choosing Saturday to finally arrive, a determined group took to the streets in support of Boycott Workfare's week of action. Marks & Spencer, Primark and Poundworld were all picketed, as well as Iceland who have reportedly signed up to the new 'Help To Work' scheme, the newest and most punitive version of workfare yet, involving six months' unpaid traineeships. Information leaflets were distributed to the public, including know your rights advice for those facing workfare placements. Despite the rain there were plenty of positive responses.

SLSF calls anti-workfare picket in Lewisham for Saturday 4th October

Join the South London Solfed roaming anti-workfare picket in Lewisham this Saturday, 4th October, in solidarity with Boycott Workfare's week of action.

Meet us at Lewisham Clocktower at 1pm.

We will be targeting a number of organisations on Lewisham High Street who continue to exploit unemployed people as free labour.

Workfare is an attack on us all. It does not save money, does not create jobs and does not help the unemployed. The government is trying to divide us by pitting those in work against 'scroungers' who supposedly need to forced into work. But workfare is as much an attack on those with jobs as those without. It drives down wages and disciplines those in waged work not to rock the boat lest they be replaced by workfare labour and end up unemployed themselves.

Anti-workfare picket of Lewisham Marks & Spencer Saturday 7th December

South London Solfed has called an anti-workfare picket of Lewisham Marks & Spencer in solidarity with Boycott Workfare's week of action this Saturday, 7th December at 1pm.

M&S's use of workfare made news in June when they announced 1400 new 'work experience' placements for young unemployed people would be made available. These positions are unpaid. Indeed, M&S have set a benchmark of 2% of their workforce to be unpaid. More info via Boycott Workfare here.

Let’s step up the pressure on companies who still think they can profit from unpaid work. Show M&S that exploiting unemployed people is not good for their business.

There is more information on other actions taking place this weekend on Boycott Workfare's website.

SolFed supports Boycott Workfare's Noise Demo

On 2nd December, those driving forced labour for unemployed people on the government's workfare schemes are getting together for their annual conference at Senate House, Malet Street, London.

ERSA, the trade body for the 'welfare to work' industry, have called their conference "Challenge and change in an evolving landscape". Those attending include Esther McVey (Minister for Employment); Stephen Timms (Shadow Minister for Employment); The Department for Work and Pensions Director of Social Justice; Chairs, Heads and Directors from workfare profiteers A4E, Avanta, Seetec, G4S, Pinnacle People, Groundwork UK, Tomorrow's People; the lead researcher from Ian Duncan Smith's thinktank, the Centre for Social Justice; and the Chief Executive of the Tax Payer's Alliance. All under one roof.

Hull SolFed - Walk of Shame

Hull SolFed held another anti-workfare ‘demo’ on Saturday the 20th, this time a mobile one. Based on suggestions on the Boycott Workfare website, we held a walk a shame through hull town center, stopping at nine different workfare providers, forming a picket outside each store, handing out leaflets and talking to shoppers. We also had some musical accompaniment, which helped to draw attention to the picket and kept the day more interesting.

Fightback on Mare Street

Members of North London SolFed were out in Hackney today with the ever-excellent Feminist Fightback to keep up the pressure on M&S over their non-payment of people doing jobs for the company as part of the Boycott Workfare week of action.

Given the boiling heat, an incredible effort was made by a samba band who turned up to lend a bit of noise and colour to the scene for most of an hour and we ran out of leaflets to hand out almost instantly. The public response was, as is usually the case when it comes to workfarer pickets, very supportive, with a number of people expressing their disgust at M&S's participation in it.

Hastings Against Workfare: This is not just a picket, this is an M&S picket

Today's picket of M&S in Hastings was very successful. There was a good turnout with around 30 people joining in the leafleting, banner holding and loud, enthusiatic and harmonious singing at various points throughout the afternoon.

"If you won't pay your workers - we won't buy your knickers! If you don't pay your workers - we won't buy your walnut whip!"

We gave out about 4000 leaflets to overwhelmingly receptive Hastings shoppers. There was a good response from the public with toots on the horns from vans, taxis and cars, older M&S cutomers turning away from the shop complaining about how bad it is that companies don't want to pay people nowadays and a big enough turnout on the picket that we seemed to know half of the people who came by, many of them with their own experience of work placements and being sanctioned.