Hull PA demo protesting workfare

Peoples Assembly Against Austerity Demo Protesting Workfare

19/05/2014 17:44 By Sarah Hemingway, Chair Hull and Humber People's Assembly.

... If it wasn't enough to use the opportunity of the economic crash to increase the gap between rich and poor, the Government have come up with a scheme that both humiliates the unemployed participant, but also lines the pockets of companies that use Workfare to cut costs and increase profits. Tesco took on 1,400 unpaid staff via Workfare but less than a quarter were offered jobs.

By coming here today each and everyone one of us present, and at other events across the UK, is making a statement that we say to this Government and Cabinet of millionaires in London that enough is enough.

The Bankers are their friends in the City of London wrecked our economy through greed and down right corrupt practices and yet it is us, the people of the UK who are expected to pay for it through trashed living standards, higher taxes, and Social Security cuts. Whilst establishment figures such as Gary Barlow are busy ripping off millions from the tax system that pays for schools and hospitals the most vulnerable in society are expected to pay the Bedroom Tax and half a million of our people are forced to use food banks.

But that's not all. If it wasn't enough to use the opportunity of the economic crash to increase the gap between rich and poor, the Government have come up with a scheme that both humiliates the unemployed participant, but also lines the pockets of companies that use Workfare to cut costs and increase profits. Tesco took on 1,400 unpaid staff via Workfare but less than a quarter were offered jobs.

Let's be absolutely 100% crystal clear about what Workfare involves.

Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage.

Nick Clegg says the Government are "paying" people to work by enforcing them to attend placements. This is a lie and has been exposed by Campaign Group Public Interest Lawyers. "Jobseekers allowance ranges from £53.45 to £67.50 per week.  It is paid for one specific (and obvious) purpose – to support people whilst they seek employment. It is not remuneration for work, and even if it were it would mean that people on Back to Work schemes would be getting paid as little as £1.78 per hour".

The DWP commissioned research into Workfare but then buried the report because this is what it says; "There is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work.  It can even reduce employment chances by limiting the time available for job search and by failing to provide the skills and experience valued by employers”; and “Workfare is least effective in getting people into jobs in weak labour markets where unemployment is high.”

Public Interest Lawyers say Workfare breaks the law; "the Government schemes are “forced or 

compulsory” labour. This is prohibited under UK civil and criminal law."

This account appeared in the Guardian: "A fifty-six year old man worked at Tesco for 40 hrs a week for 6 weeks for no pay. He said he was given the worst job, constantly filling freezers in the hope he would be taken on. After the 6 weeks were up the manager asked him if he would like to stay on for some extra weeks, he asked “with pay”? The manager said why would he pay him when he can pick the phone up and get more unemployed people who have to work for nothing of face sanctions meaning loss of ALL benefits for up to three years!"

We call for an end to Workfare. Right here right now. The mark of a civilised society is how it treats people who are in need. By this measure the UK fails miserably for a whole host of reasons and Workfare is the stand out example.

For evil to triumph it takes good people to do nothing. By being here today and at other events coming up we are doing something!

 

Read more: http://hull-lrc.webnode.com/news/peoples-assembly-against-austerity-demo-protesting-workfare/

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