Under the guise of ‘helping the unemployed back into work’ the government is rolling out various workfare schemes that will provide free labour for their rich corporate friends. Many charities and even trade unions – who should know better – have been hoodwinked into supporting these schemes.
However, in March we saw the government forced on the back foot following revelations of widespread fraud at one of the main Work Programme providers and actions against high street companies involved in the Work Experience Programme. The fact that many companies quickly responded by either withdrawing from the scheme or announcing that they were reviewing their participation shows how vulnerable the government’s workfare programme is at the moment.
Brighton Benefits Campaign has been fighting workfare since our first campaign against the Flexible New Deal in 2010. We have proved that acting against workfare gets results.
We believe that it is necessary to build on this success and break workfare before it becomes established. We have therefore organised a conference to bring together campaigners, voluntary groups, trade unions & others opposed to workfare, to share experiences and information and to co-ordinate a sustained national campaign.
All workfare, whether ‘voluntary’ or mandatory:
- is part of a concerted assault on welfare & public services
- is an attack on the right to proper paid work and an attack on real volunteering
- destroys paid jobs, & undermines the pay and conditions of those already in work
- is yet another generous government hand out for big business