The information you need to end workfare

Alex Hern presents the data you need to join the campaign to end workfare.

 

The campaign against workfare has already scored a number of hits, with Tesco, Waterstones, Sainsbury’s, and many others backing out of the government schemes forcing the unemployed to work to keep their jobseekers allowance.

We first reported on this scandal in November, and awareness has grown since then, with anger hitting a tipping point last week. Since then, the successes have come thick and fast, and it is within our power to end this scheme for good.

Left Foot Forward and Political Scrapbook have put together a factsheet, containing information compiled by the campaign group Boycott Workfare from freedom of information requests and personal testimony, showing companies known to use workfare.

Along with Political Scrapbook and Liberal Conspiracy, we urge you to contact the companies below by phone, email or Twitter (with the hashtag #workfare), and explain that you won’t be using their services until they stop using forced labour.

A few notes on the data:

• Due to the nature of some of the FoI requests, there is a focus on companies in the south east.

• The DWP has sent incorrect responses to FoI requests before, so our information is only as good as theirs. If your company is incorrectly included, please contact Boycott Workfare to ensure you are correctly credited as using fair labour.

• To keep track of our successes, companies which have joined the campaign are kept on the spreadsheet with a note next to their name. Please check this before you call them!

You can get the information here

There are five government programmes which can be described as workfare, and all have a compulsory element to them:

The work experience programme

Citizens Advice describes the work experience programme as a “compulsory program”, saying:

If you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must take part … if you are advised to do so by a personal adviser. Your benefit may be affected if you refuse to do so or leave a scheme before completing it.

Mandatory work activity scheme

The clue’s in the name, and Citizens Advice clarify:

If you are required to take part in the scheme, but you don’t without a very good reason, you will be sanctioned.

The work programme

Citizens Advice detail the groups who have to take part in the work programme; although further groups can volunteer, it is compulsory if:

• you are aged 18-24 and have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for nine months

• you are aged 25 or over and have claimed jobseeker’s allowance for 12 months

• you are seriously disadvantaged in the labour market, for example because a disability has made it hard to find work. When you qualify and whether you can choose to take part will depend on which area you live in and what your circumstances are

• you have recently claimed incapacity benefit, after claiming jobseeker’s allowance for three months

• you are claiming income-related employment and support allowance, are in the work-related activity group, and are expected to be fit for work within three months.

Sector based work academies

Directgov explains:

Taking part in sector-based work academies is entirely voluntary, but once you accept a place you must complete the process.

Community action programmes

The DWP’s guidance booklet states (pdf):

Mandation is there to use as a tool to ensure that claimants do what is required of them… Claimants who are mandated to undertake activity may incur a loss or reduction of benefit should they fail to comply without good reason.

To see the full information collated by Left Foot Forward and Political Scrapbook, click here

See also:

Chris Grayling should respond to criticism of workfare, not smear the criticsIzzy Koksal, February 21st 2012

Tesco’s unpaid labour shows the flaw at the heart of workfareAlex Hern, February 16th 2012

Five reasons Clegg can’t stand on his social mobility recordAlex Hern, January 12th 2012

2012: The year ahead for young peopleAlex Hern, January 7th 2012

Why workfare won’t workStephen Evans, November 8th 2010

40 Responses to “The information you need to end workfare”

  1. Kyron Hodgetts

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  2. TruthBeckons

    BRITAIN: Boycott Workfare! –

    The information you need to end workfare

    Alex Hern presents the data you need… //t.co/udZNPnkq

  3. Anonymous

    Ah the fan boys of the feckless.

    Keep on campaigning for those who demand, insist, on being paid to watch Jeremy Kyle.

  4. Pulp Ark

    The information you need to end workfare //t.co/gRIHIzNi #Good_Society #Boycott #Boycott_Workfare #muslim #tcot #sioa

  5. ANM

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  6. Shamik Das

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  7. Martin Steel

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  8. keith davis

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  9. Nick James

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  10. John Dyer

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  11. keith ferguson

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  12. Leading workfare companies have combined profits of £10.8 billion | Political Scrapbook

    […] Foot Forward, we have compiled a complete list of companies involved with the programme. See this post from Left Foot Forward for an explanation of why the various types of workfare schemes are […]

  13. Jamie Smith

    Lord Blagger appears to be campaigning for forced cheap labour.

  14. andywade

    Oh look it’s the 50 cent web brigades. Notice how none of these guys emerged until AFTER the DWP formulated its response… almost like they work the Govt innit? #workfare

  15. Workfare is not voluntary | Left Foot Forward

    […] was buried slightly at the bottom of our last post on the topic, so this bears […]

  16. Anonymous

    You must be the loon who always believes the governments stereotypes of various benefit recipients . Personally I doubt whether any of our wounded from Afghanistan do watch Kyle.

  17. aiammaia

    'There are five government programmes which can be described as workfare, and all have a compulsory element to them' //t.co/l389uvpY

  18. mushroom77

    The information you need to end #workfare //t.co/fnXXp6Hd via @leftfootfwd

  19. Alice in Blunderland

    Check this @leftfootfwd post for full details on the extent of #workfare //t.co/BHsGvkM2

  20. cameronsfollys

    Leftfoot Forward are making hay.. The information u need 2 end #workfare //t.co/poGwXk9y One can see how long it takes to gain monetum!

  21. Riverside Girl

    Leftfoot Forward are making hay.. The information u need 2 end #workfare //t.co/poGwXk9y One can see how long it takes to gain monetum!

  22. TheCreativeCrip

    The information you need to end workfare – //t.co/yvZ6CATv

  23. Catherine Brunton

    The information you need to end workfare – //t.co/yvZ6CATv

  24. Margaret Alipoor

    The information you need to end #workfare: //t.co/zjY1aodR by @alexhern, ft. @boycottworkfare

  25. Chris McCabe

    RT @leftfootfwd: The information you need to end workfare //t.co/kSS2YA3b

  26. Kevin Richards

    Slave labour and back to the workhouse RT @leftfootfwd: The information you need to end workfare //t.co/gzuKHbeF

  27. davesmith40uk

    Tesco have NOT withdrawn !
    The are still using current Government workfare scheme and claiming they are requesting any compulsion for people to participate be removed. Does anyone seriously believe this is the case or will happen ?

    What they have done is said they are doing a scheme themselves in addtion. This scheme will offer a months ‘work experience’ for young people with a permament job at end of it if they do well and creates more questions than it answers I think. What rate of Pay will they get for the month ? An updated daily mail article claims it will be £175 per week for 25 hours but Tesco press releases about it is exceedingly vague regarding specifics. No where does it say anything about rate of pay. Should anyway be Minimum wage as it comes under minimum wage regulations. But I suspect will be done as part of a selection process for an ‘apprenticeship’ thus allowing them to pay £2.60 per hour for it and the supposed permament job if they are picked will be a retail worker ‘apprenticeship’ for 12 months again at £2.60 per hour. The people who do this will have to sign off JSA to do it from what we know so far and as it is a month long will have to restart a claim for JSA if they dont get picked to continue with Tesco. This process is not straightforward and can take several weeks leaving them with nothing to live on in meantime.

    Overall In my opinion this is part a cyncial ploy to try to diffuse the situation for Government and Tesco . DO NOT be fooled by this everyone !

    I repeat Tesco have NOT withdrawn from Government Workfare scheme atall.

  28. Joe Gammie

    @rfsatar here's the list of companies on the #workfare scheme you asked about: //t.co/nDHJDALB links from this page, via @leftfootfwd

  29. unitonehifi

    The information you need to end workfare!!
    //t.co/xoliUtB1
    #workfare #BoycottWorkfare #Abolishworkfare

  30. dsugg

    The information you need to end workfare!!
    //t.co/xoliUtB1
    #workfare #BoycottWorkfare #Abolishworkfare

  31. LisburnDistNo6Orange

    The information you need to end workfare!!
    //t.co/xoliUtB1
    #workfare #BoycottWorkfare #Abolishworkfare

  32. Jill Goble

    The information you need to end workfare!!
    //t.co/xoliUtB1
    #workfare #BoycottWorkfare #Abolishworkfare

  33. Joseph O'Brien

    The information you need to end workfare!!
    //t.co/xoliUtB1
    #workfare #BoycottWorkfare #Abolishworkfare

  34. Newsbot9

    Call it what it is, slavery.

  35. Newsbot9

    Keep campaigning for slave labour to boost your stock portfolio.

  36. Workfare versus compulsory work: When is it right and wrong to mandate labour? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • The information you need to end workfare – Alex Hern, February 22nd […]

  37. Anonymous

    I don’t have much of a stock portfolio. It’s all gone in taxes to pay your gold plated pension.

    When ‘public servants’ have several million pounds of pensions, its the public sector that is the parasite.

    2.5K a year in taxes from the min waged to live the life of Reilly.

    Mind you, if you are going to bugger off taking your taxes with you, sooner rather than later would be a good idea.

  38. Clare Barton

    I’m stil boycotting Tesco. They say they don’t want compulsion, the government claim there isn’t and never was any compulsion. Don’t trust either of them.

  39. Caldy2

    The presence of the Working Men’s College on that list should be challenged

    What are they playing at?

    //docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AjbuwLkiIDvjdHNtYjBPVXJDamFHdHRmNlJ4RTAtWkE&single=true&gid=0&range=A1%3AC200&output=html

    Or are they offering training courses as sub-contractors?

    “By Email
    Email Address: info@wmcollege.ac.uk
    By Telephone
    General: 020 7255 4700″

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