March was another good month for workfare campaigns, locally and nationally, with a great demonstration held in Birmingham as part of a national day of action on March 3rd, and Kings Heath Against Workfare being formed and holding a Workfare Walk Of Shame on Kings Heath high street – which provoked interesting reactions from store managers
Yesterday, another national day of action was held, with 20 events taking place around the UK, and Holland and Barrett being the main target. We didn’t hold an event in Birmingham, because we had our first city centre planning meeting on the 29th.
At our meeting, it was decided to hold a walk of shame in Birmingham city centre – a tour around the city exposing some of the high street profiteers and explaining what workfare is, why it should be scrapped and what should replace it.
This will be held on Easter Monday, April 9th – one of the busiest shopping days of the year. We will meet in Chamberlain Square, outside Birmingham Central Library or in the Paradise Forum if the weather is bad, at 12noon for a guided tour around the city centre.
It is anticipated that this will take about 2 hours- there are many places to visit along the way.
Please join our facebook event, invite your friends and share it to let people know it is happening.
Click for route map
Please click here for accessibility information about all Workfare events.
Unfortunately we have been unable to find a venue for the planning meeting we were going to hold, but will look to arrange one soon.
Then on Saturday 21st April, Kings Heath Against Workfare will be holding a stall from 12-2 outside Asda (one of the companies taking advantage of the forced labour schemes) on the High Street, to continue to raise awareness and build support for the campaign to end the use of workfare on Kings Heath high street.
They will hold a further planning meeting the following Wednesday, 25th April, 7pm-8pm at All Saints Centre on Kings Heath High Street.
And on Saturday 28th April, there will be a workfare walk of shame in Acocks Green – which is happening because someone on workfare at Acocks Green British Red Cross charity shop attended the Kings Heath walk of shame – connections are being made around Birmingham to build resistance to workfare and support for claimants and workers whose jobs are threatened.
Meet at 12 noon at the British Heart Foundation Furniture & Electrical Store on Shirley Road, at the roundabout with Warwick Road. Please be aware there is also a normal BHF store on the Warwick Road.
Update: On Saturday 19th May a walk of shame will take place on Erdington high street – details are to be confirmed, but we’ll post again once we know.
You can find out more about why we are supporting the Boycott Workfare campaign, and what workfare is in our post here.
Come along and support these events – continued pressure on workfare is bearing results, with homeless charity SHP pulling out last week, citing both a lack of sufficient funding and the sanctions regimes as reasons:
[quote]“We have also become concerned that the Work Programme structure leaves those who need the most support, at greatest risk of benefit sanctions. Sanctions don’t serve a constructive purpose for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised people. Rather, the sanctions system compounds the problem, pushing individuals further into poverty with little option other than to beg, steal or work for cash in hand in order to find the means to survive.[/quote]
Meanwhile, workfare profiteer A4e’s greed and fraud continues to be exposed, and we know that other providers, like Ingeus and Eos (who are Birmingham’s providers currently) do not do much better. Employment minister Chris Grayling’s lies continue to be exposed and unemployment continues to rise.
Make no mistake – the workfare scam is crumbling and continued pressure on companies, charities and public sector bodies that profit from or enable workfare can bring more of the schemes down.