The excellent Boycott Workfare posts.
Despite being one of workfare’s most ardent supporters, even Salvation Army aren’t prepared to touch the government’s latest mass workfare scheme [Photo: Sinister Pics]
In an important success even before the workfare week of action starts on 29th March, the Salvation Army have said they will play no part in the upcoming Community Work Placement scheme. Last year the charity was praised by the DWP for ‘holding the line’ on workfare. This recent loss of nerve can only be a direct result of repeated action taken to challenge the Salvation Army’s support for forced work. The inspiring recent direct action from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, widespread public criticism and constantpressure online has shown what the public think of charities that claim to help unemployed people and then force them to work for free.
The decision is a major blow for the DWP’s latest plans for mass workfare. Community Work Placements are soon to be inflicted on ten of thousands of people leaving the Work Programme and involve six months’ unpaid full-time work for charities and community organisations. Those who refuse to carry out forced labour will be punished with poverty, hunger and destitution as benefits are sanctioned. But major charities, such as Oxfam, Shelter and Marie Curie, have very publicly distanced themselves from forced work. A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that the provider guidance for the scheme is not yet ready, suggesting its April start date is somewhat optimistic.
The Salvation Army have long been one of the most vocal supporters of forced work and one of the few organisations that had no scruples about even forcing claimants on sickness and disability benefits to work for free. In a victory for anti-workfare campaigners, it seems that The Salvation Army have decided that a workfare scheme equivalent to twice the maximum community service sentence is too much even for them to stomach. In a statement on their website the organisation says
“We feel that a 26-week work experience placement is too long and would not be beneficial. If someone has not found employment within two years, the lack of work experience is clearly not their only barrier to employment. Our concern is that the underlying issues need to be dealt with holistically and work experience is a part of the support needed. As such, we will not be taking part in the Community Work Placement programme.”
More on site (Hat-tip Obi)
We just note that the Workfare Programme is due to be up and running in April.