Workfare means unemployed people being forced to do unpaid work for their benefits. Workfare is a state subsidy to private businesses, providing free labour and undercutting the minimum wage. We say end unpaid work. Use the tabs for more background information, or see below for the latest.
End unpaid work!
What is workfare?
Unemployed people being forced to work for free for up to 6 months with no guarantee of a job afterwards, many of them for major high street companies.
Does workfare help the unemployed?
The government’s own research found that in countries that introduced workfare it could actually lower a jobseeker’s chances of finding a job. Where previously these roles would have been filled by paid staff, employers get to take advantage of a growing pool of jobseekers they won’t have to pay.
What if I have a job already?
Workfare means employers can lay-off their staff and replace them with people they don’t have to pay. The point of workfare is to drive down wages and working conditions, undermining even the minimum wage which many struggle to survive on.
The bottom line
Workfare isn’t about saving money – in fact these schemes are hugely expensive to the government. Workfare is a massive subsidy to private companies: providing them with free labour at public expense. The government has long been subsidising companies that pay low wages by topping-up poverty pay with benefits and tax credits. The state and businesses are colluding to undermine all our conditions. Workfare means less pay for us and more profits for them.
For more information see the logic of workfare.
- Boycott Workfare - national campaign against workfare. Great resources and info, bookmark them, and follow the @boycottworkfare twitter account.
- Do not consent are also campaigning on workfare, and have info on how to withold and protect your personal details. Their twitter is @consentmeuk
- Other groups who've been taking action against workfare in support of the campaign include Anarchist Federation, Brighton Benefits Campaign, Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and many more.
You can get in touch via solfed[AT]solfed.org.uk, which will put you in touch with your nearest SF Local or relevant SF collective.