Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

For Iain Duncan Smith’s Attention: Fate of Motherwell Workfare.

with 15 comments

As Iain Duncan Smith visits Ipswich – after a relaxing afternoon at some posh hotel near Woodbridge tucking into some expensive grub with his Suffolk Tory mates  – here is a story he may be interested in.

Motherwell charity has pulled out of a Government employment programme after being targeted in a ‘slave labour’ protest.

LAMH Recycling says it has been bombarded with abusive messages and its Range Road premises have been vandalised since the Motherwell Times highlighted a daily vigil being carried out by former employee John McArthur.

He has been spending two hours every day standing outside the factory with placards critical of LAMH for taking part in the employment scheme. Participants get a six-month placement but no payment above their usual jobseeker’s allowance.

Mr McArthur (59) said his benefits were stopped after he refused a placement at LAMH where he had worked previously for a wage. He can’t afford to switch on his heating and is ‘living on 16p tins of spaghetti’.

Since our story two weeks ago Mr McArthur has received messages of support and offers of cash from home and abroad, but LAMH said it, in contrast, has been swamped by e-mails and other messages containing abuse and threats.

People on LAMH placements this week lined up to defend the work scheme which, they claim, is improving their chances of finding a job.

One, John Dowdie, said: “It’s completely wrong that the people here are getting hatemail and threats. This is a Government programme and the Jobcentre sent us here. It’s nothing to do with LAMH.”

Joe Fulton, operations and development manager at LAMH, also defended the scheme, saying seven people who signed up in June when it first started have gone on to find jobs elsewhere.

He said the 15 current participants will be allowed to complete their placements, but no more will be taken on.

Mr Fulton stated: “We are not in the business of surviving through slave labour, but it was obvious the people behind this campaign were not going to stop.

“We are forced into this action reluctantly for the protection of the people with us plus the safeguarding of the organisation, which is highly regarded for the good work it has achieved in the local community since 1999.”

Under the scheme, jobless people join the LAMH workforce, whose tasks include repairing computers and collecting materials such as cans and bottles for recycling.

They also get access to telephones and computers to make job applications under the supervision of an employment co-ordinator.

Elaine Tollan, from Craigneuk, gave the scheme her approval.

She said: “I’ve been unemployed for four or five years, but after 14 weeks at LAMH, I feel more motivated to get a job.

“I’m getting unemployment money and I’m fine with that.”

Richard Dawson, from Muirhouse, praised the ‘welcoming’ atmosphere at LAMH and scoffed at the ‘slave labour’ claim.

He said: “Before, I didn’t get out of bed till dinner time. I was very negative about this when I started, but now I feel motivated and confident.

“I don’t think about the money. I come here with a spring in my step. It’s another step towards getting a job and it’s all positive.”

Reports the Motherwell Times.

But, lo, there is more to say on this:

Here is the reply to the latest Motherwell Times article on Lamh Recycle which I cannot get posted on their web site:

“The print version of this article describes people on CWP employment schemes as “recruits” who had “signed up” however, they are not recruited or signed up but ordered under threats of sanctions to work for no wages . One conscript stated in the article that their job prospects were improved by being on a mandatory work activity (MWA) scheme however a DWP report shows that on average “an MWA referral had no impact on the likelihood of being employed compared to non-referrals” (but they can reduce the unemployment count). These schemes bypass minimum wage regulations and not only does the organization get the labour, for which they would otherwise have to pay, for free but they are actually paid by the DWP/agents. None of the charities that I am aware of in Motherwell Town Centre, nor any of the major national charities, participate in the CWP scheme because they believe it to be wrong.

Anyone who wants work experience might consider genuine voluntary work (but check very carefully if the Job Centre will allow it) which appeals more to employers because it shows the person is working through their own free will and it also saves the tax payer a fortune due to the fees paid by the DWP to their agents. Please also note that organizations enter into a contract for taking conscripts knowing full well the nature of the coercion involved (i.e sanctions) so the article isn’t correct to publish the claim that it is the Jobcentre who is doing the forcing and that “it’s nothing to do with LAMH”. It was also very disappointing to read comments purporting to come from happy conscripts which include the stereotypical Benefit St view of unemployed people as being lazy and unable to get up out bed and look for work. This can only cause further distress to their fellow citizens who are now tarred as scroungers and subject to forced labour for the crime of being unemployed through lack of vacancies.

I would also like to thank once again the many people whom I spoke to outside Lamh Recycle premises each morning who (bar one) expressed their support. I also deeply appreciate the extraordinary kindness of people whom I have never met but who have contacted me offering assistance. They keep alive the true spirit of charity, i.e caritas (love), and giving without seeking a fee (or free labour).

John McArthur


Written by Andrew Coates

November 20, 2014 at 2:31 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Half of all benefit claimants sent on placements turn up to work

    Claimants face having their benefits stopped for not turning up to training and work placements



    November 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  2. I telephoned the Workfare charity LAMH to see how many “threats” had been made to LAMH after the first newspaper report.

    It turns out only a few disgruntled and not very articulate people made some “f-word” comments about it. It was not serious enough for the police to be called in. The press have blown things up here.

    As far as the newspaper reports of vandalism go, the LAMH office did not know anything about that, and, by an amazing coincidence, I recently came across a squad of LAMH conscripts clearing out an old office (not in Motherwell). One paid employee of LAMH told me there had been some graffiti back at their depot. Again, nothing serious.

    LAMH have pulled out of this Community Work Placement because they don’t like the bad publicity – not because of “threats” and “vandalism”.

    Hundreds of other charities and companies have also pulled out nationwide – and that’s not a bad thing!

    You simply cannot defend “voluntary work at a charity for the benefit of the community” when it is mandatory!

    On The Spot

    November 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm

  3. i went to my cwp only to be told i was not wanted at the store told id not get a sanction and low and behold 3 weeks later had a sanction for non attendance sent from head office in London.

    jcp did not even know till i told them what happened so they dont talk to the providers after you have been mandated to a provider.

    super ted

    November 20, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    • I take it you appealed.

      Parker Pyne

      November 20, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      • to bloody right i did ,and one 😉

        super ted

        November 20, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    • Yippi ki-yay!

      Parker Pyne

      November 20, 2014 at 5:43 pm

  4. Reblogged this on sdbast.


    November 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm

  5. Talking about working for nothing county training in Telford via job centre from wellington and Telford town center are sending people on MWA.

    It seems OK to pay county training for one phone call to set up a placement and get paid large amounts of money for each person the job center pushes there way it stinks of corruption.the money could have been paid to us and helped our long term job prospects through our cv’s and recent work we could have done instead of charity work placements.

    I believe its thousands of pounds per person over a 4 week. 8 week. And 6 month placements and this takes place year in year out. This is a massive con trick and it has been ignored for too long not a beep from anybody.

    What strikes the most out of all of this Telford is flooded with agencies are you telling me job centers cannot get us any jobs through these agencies from a simple phone call even part time jobs.

    The amount of turn over agencies has over a single year there seems to no common ground between job centre and agency and or county training.

    County training gets paid over and over again with the same people going back and forth its very wrong and has Failed massively

    it seems without us, money will not be going to these places

    Help me understand this for the love of god.


    November 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

  6. I was ordered to perform MWA at a local Charity shop,after being contacted by A4E,the REP/PIMP made it clear that if I did not cooperate I would face a Sanction…”Do you understand?” (A-hole) I asked about travel and was told that this would be handled at the induction,I asked if advance travel could be paid “We don’t do that” actually it is in your contract ..Arrive at the Charity…At the Induction I was asked to sign A4E paperwork,I refused I was told I had to by the A4E Rep,I asked if MWA was Mandatory The clue is in M-WA) and if so and I have no choice but to be here,why should I sign anything? Not a Happy Bunny,by the time I brought up advanced Travel,he looked like he was about to have a Stroke,about half the group started asking…Meeting over,except he tried pull me aside and give me a talking to,did not happen! The real point is that while on the WP I tried to volunteer,but was not allowed,but once A4E could get paid? No problem! I still Volunteer at the Charity and they no longer accept MWA….The JCP asked why I continue? Because it is my choice,they are now trying to bribe me with Bus fare,if I will sign up for a Provider to supervise my Volunteering ,not a chance!


    November 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

  7. why do you think the providers dont give you any help to find a job and just the basic cv bollocks they come up with from lala land is because they dont want you in work they want you back over and over again for more cash from the dwp for doing nothing at all to help anyone bar them self, like a giant cash roundabout.

    take my mwa even tho i turned up and was told to leave and done as i was told they still got paid for it as when i was sanctioned it was around the same time that they would have wanted there 600 quid payment via the pwrap system for there fee yet the jcp do not give a shit and are letting them get away with fraud in the process as its money for nothing.

    same with the wp provider i was sent to was there 20 mins in 2 years yet they still got there 400 quid ref fee for what??? yet again the jcp are not interested and let them get away with it.

    super ted

    November 20, 2014 at 7:51 pm

  8. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.


    November 20, 2014 at 11:55 pm


    It’s not only angry unemployed people who criticise IDS, this video will show that many Tories don’t exactly admire him either:


    November 21, 2014 at 9:48 am

  10. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog.

    Mark Catlin

    November 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm

  11. […] The last few weeks have seen a number of worthwhile acts of resistance, and even a few notable victories in areas ranging from housing to workfare. Johnny Void’s summed up a number of the most impressive recent wins – property directors Redrow have sold their share in the luxury Commercial Street flats after a lengthy campaign against the segregated doors for tenants in “affordable housing”, and tenants living in the New Era estate have forced the family of Tory MP Richard Benyon to make a similar retreat. Meanwhile, Liverpool IWW have forced a recycling contractor to pull out of workfare, and LAMH Recycling, the company that made headlines after a former employee was sanctioned for refusing …. […]

  12. Test

    Another Fine Mess

    November 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm

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