roving picket against workfare in london this saturday

As part of the National Week of Action Against Workfare from July 7th to 14th, some members of The Commune are helping to organise direct action against workfare’s main offenders.

Meet this Saturday July 7, mid day near Goodge St station.

Workfare isn’t just unpaid labour for the unemployed and a major attack on benefits. It is an attack on all working people – on their jobs, pay & conditions, and their ability to organise. We need to fight workfare together, whether or not we are in work, and whether or not we are on benefits.

Invite your friends, family, campaigning group, union branch. Also, if you can, bring things to liven it up: banners, placards, musical instruments and noise makers.

The leaflets we’ll be using are found below (print some and bring them along if you can) Continue reading “roving picket against workfare in london this saturday”

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liverpool anti-workfare action report

Adam Ford took to the streets as part of a lively national campaign

 

On Saturday, around forty activists responded to a callout by Liverpool Solidarity Federation, and picketed companies profiting from the coalition government’s workfare scheme. The demonstrators generally won a sympathetic reaction from the public, and the contribution of local musicians provided a much-needed morale boost as the skies opened. Continue reading “liverpool anti-workfare action report”

‘how do we break workfare?’ conference report

On Saturday May 26th around fifty activists from around the country (although mostly the South-East) met in Brighton for a conference entitled ‘how do we break workfare?’. Here, Ollie Sutherland summarises the main conclusions of the conference

What is workfare and why we need to break it

Workfare is a direct and violent attack on regular working people. It is forcing those unemployed into unpaid labour to receive their benefits, claimed to be valuable work experience to make them more employable. However, the labour is things like stacking shelves – hardly valuable work experience, and is given to businesses (big or small) which have no intention of hiring more staff. In fact, because the businesses can get unpaid labour from the JobCentre or private work providers, they can fire existing staff who they have to pay minimum wage for. Some businesses, like Holland & Barrett, have explicitly said this is their aim – to exploit working people, using what is technically slave labour. The scheme originates from the government’s close ties to business: workfare is the state subsidising private companies, as in making people work in private companies to receive their benefits, the state is paying the workers’ wages (£2/hour or lower) while the businesses get free labour. Continue reading “‘how do we break workfare?’ conference report”

love nor money: unpaid work at tesco

Sharon Borthwick looks at the absurd ideology behind last month’s row over workfare schemes

What a joke to have a national minimum wage if you are then allowed to pay your employees nothing at all. “Stacking supermarket shelves is better than dreaming of stardom via TV’s the X Factor”, smarms Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith. For a quiet man he doesn’t half come out with a lot of shit. What of young persons more pragmatic dreams, to gain paid employment after education?

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“The idea that we should allow a bunch of extremists to get in the way of providing genuine, voluntary help for young people is just crazy” says the indignant Chris Grayling referring to the successes of left groups including Boycott Workfare and Right To Work in either getting firms to withdraw from or postpone their involvement with the government’s workfare programmes, including Mandatory Work Activity whereby claimants can have their benefits withdrawn for thirteen weeks for not working for zero wages  for eight weeks. Continue reading “love nor money: unpaid work at tesco”