Take Part In Boycott Workfare Week Of Action This Week

Boycott Workfare 3rd March 03Next week sees a week of action against workfare, as the government introduces the harshest forced labour scheme yet seen – “community work placements”. These placements are full time, lasting for 6 months and build upon the failure of the “Community Action Programme” pilot scheme which had no effect on the chances of someone finding work.

Workfare is the system whereby unemployed and disabled people are forced to work for charities, community organisations and companies under threat of having their benefits stopped entirely for up to three years for unemployed people and losing 70% of their benefits indefinitely for disabled people.

The schemes vary from the theoretically voluntary “Work Experience Programme” to the definitely mandatory “Mandatory Work Activity”. The schemes vary in length from 2 weeks to 2 months, but the government has decided this isn’t enough, since none of the schemes are proving to be any use in getting people back into work, the problem is clearly that they don’t last long enough.
So the “Community Action Programme” was piloted. 6 months of workfare, with other groups staying on the standard jobcentre programme or going into a more intensive version of the jobcentre programme.
The result? The same amount of people found work regardless of which scheme they were sent on. Workfare had no effect at all.

This shouldn’t be a surprise really since the same is true for every workfare scheme, and the DWP in 2008 said that workfare can even make unemployment worse by replacing paid jobs with unpaid jobs and taking away peoples’ time and energy to look for work.

That every workfare scheme has failed would lead more thoughtful people than IDS or Liam Byrne to consider whether the whole idea is maybe just a bit misguided. Supplying free labour to companies is just obviously foolish when you are trying to get more people into work. All companies will happily make some paid staff redundant if they can get free labour in their place, so more people find themselves on the dole. Some may even find they are back in their old job, working for free, before long.
The “experience” gained is often worthless, and in the worst recovery from recession for over 100 years, with thousands applying for every job, the competition is so fierce that this type of experience is useless even if you’ve actually had a decent placement somewhere.
Simple maths says that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone to have one anyway, so any kind of training or experience scheme, even a proper one which taught real skills, will have little or no effect. What is needed is more jobs, or a better distribution of the work (and results of that work) than we currently have.

Workfare cannot achieve this. By design it cannot create jobs, only replace paid jobs with jobs paid for by the taxpayer. Because of this it can only increase unemployment – when workfare “works”, the job someone gets as a result would have gone to someone else anyway. Still, just because the scheme cannot achieve what it is claimed to, is expensive to run and morally wrong is no reason not to expand the scheme eh?

You can join in the online actions organised each day by Boycott Workfare, targetting the charities and companies profiting from the taxpayer footing the bill. These protests are effective, the government is still defying court orders to release the names of workfare abusers as they believe the resulting protests would cause the collapse of workfare schemes. The Salvation Army, one of the staunchest supporters of workfare has said they will not take part in the new 6 month scheme, though they’ll continue with Mandatory Work Activity of course. Together we can end this foolishness.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Take Part In Boycott Workfare Week Of Action This Week

  1. Reblogged this on Gogwit's Blog and commented:
    Foolishness is a charitable word for this harsh, counterproductive waste of taxpayers’ money on flawed and unfit schemes – something the coalition, preaching a message of austerity, should be avoiding like the plague rather than throwing money at.
    If they wish to use that money to stimulate job creation, that’s fine but this scam looks like nothing more than the taxpayer subsidising the payrolls of a select group of organisations.

    • i know someone who’s son was sent on this scheeme 3 times each time for 6mths, the last one the boss kept him on, when he went to sign off the dole he was informed he hadn’t been there long enough and could not take the job ?????? unbelievable, so what the gvt are doing is deffinately slave labour, his mother has sought legal advice.

  2. The workhouse mentality has returned in the guise of helping people into work evidently.

  3. Pingback: Birmingham Trades Council » Take Part In Boycott Workfare Week Of Action This Week

  4. For 6 months, read “permanent” – no job at the end of it? Chances are you’ll be on another placement, and another and ….

  5. Reblogged this on Bob Mouncer's blog and commented:
    Good arguments and links here against Workfare. By the way, ask the Salvation Army why they’re still taking part in the Mandatory Work Scheme instead of protesting against it.

  6. slave labour is against the law ????? tory britain bunch of corrupt hypocrites.

  7. Reader

    “so any kind of training or experience scheme, even a proper one which taught real skills, will have little or no effect.”
    Perphaps it would have no immediate effect in the kind of economy we have in this country. Where the employment market is overwhelmingly made up of short term service sector jobs which often are low paid and free from any real vocational training out with basic customer service.
    But at least courses that taught real skills will give a person something tangible to hold on to in the long term give them a slightly better chance of getting a meaningful job(then having no chance and being ripe picking for the likes of Workfare) and probably be good for self esteem and personal development. If people have real qualifications then it seems plausible that they would challenge DWP mandates and expect more then what is around at the moment. Perhphaps thats why the DWP want to keep life expectations at rock bottom in practice for people of limited means.
    Real training is much better then just being forced to attend crap retail academies or be left to sit on the dole ,have meaningless meetings with some Policing Adviser at the Jobcentre, or be sent to work in some charity/retail empire for free to maxims company profits or in the case of charities in effect prop up the chief executives inflated wage packet.

  8. dAVID

    If only the job centre would get us the job without interview. vacancies have to be filled and the workers are out their to fill them.just give us the job without having to jump through hoops and get rid of the ghost vacancies also.

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