We visited the following business and charities, using the Boycott Workfare website as a guide to where to stop
Chamberlain Square/Paradise Forum
Greggs and McDonalds where we discussed what workfare is, and the different government schemes.
Birmingham City Council House, not because the council are currently using workfare (as far as we know…) but because others are, and because they might choose to take advantage of workfare to cover for cuts.
John Bright Street
Action For the Blind, where the role of charities in workfare was explored
New Street Train Station, because we have Finsbury Park tube wardens for the example of public services using workfare to cover for cuts, and because local Birmingham train stations are facing cuts to staff, leaving unmanned train stations, which might find themselves being looked after by people on workfare.
Tesco who are half-in half-out of workfare.
Maplins who have pulled out
British Heart Foundation was used to highlight the fact that people with disabilities claiming ESA, who are put into the Work Related Activity Group by ATOS, face unlimited workfare placements on the work programme.
WH Smiths & Greggs (still taking part); Poundland (withdrawn from mandatory schemes); Superdrug & Argos (suspended their involvement); Sainsbury’s, Boots & BHS (withdrawn).
We could almost do a mini-walk of shame just down this short street where almost every shop has played some part in workfare. Amongst other things we learnt here about how companies used workfare over the christmas period as replacements for paid staff.
WH Smiths (still in); Waterstones & HMV (pulled out).
Primark (still in); Pizza Hut (suspended). This stop was used to talk about unemployment and the fact that workfare cannot reduce unemployment, though it may shift who gets an available job, and some of the lies behind the 50% success rate.
Holland and Barrett. Here we talked briefly about the scale of workfare, with Holland and Barrett taking 1,000 workfare placements in 2012, in a company with around 3,500 paid workers.
Ingeus. Ingeus are one of the workfare providers, like A4e which is currently being exposed for fraud and misuse of taxpayers money. From what we hear, no workfare provider does a good job. If you are sent to Ingeus, please get in touch and let us know what they are like as a provider. We used this to talk about the work programme, which is the largest workfare scheme.
If anyone out there is good with subtitling and could add subtitles to this video, please get in touch, so we can make it as accessible as possible.