In 2018 Mencap, the learning disability charity with an unappealing name, took the government to court. Mencap wanted to challenge an earlier ruling on whether or not sleep shifts count as work, for the purposes of calculating the national minimum wage. They won their case and now, thanks to them, sleep shifts are no longer legally recognised as work. So if you sleep as part of your job, your boss doesn’t have to pay you for it.
As of July 2015, there is no active Solfed local in Hull.
Hull SolFed held another anti-workfare ‘demo’ on Saturday the 20th, this time a mobile one. Based on suggestions on the Boycott Workfare website, we held a walk a shame through hull town center, stopping at nine different workfare providers, forming a picket outside each store, handing out leaflets and talking to shoppers. We also had some musical accompaniment, which helped to draw attention to the picket and kept the day more interesting.
Hull Solfed has continued to picket Poundland over it’s involvement in the governments discredited workfare scheme, holding a picket on the 8th, and a week later on the 15th. Hull SolFed intends to keep holding weekly pickets of the shop, starting at 1pm every Saturday.
Hull SolFed recently held a picket against the Workfare scheme outside of the new Poundland store, in the centre of town. Four SolFed members were joined by three members of the local unemployed peoples group in distributing leaflets and asking shoppers not to use Poundland. The picket managed to both turn customers away and engaged a lot of sympathetic passersby in conversation about the workfare scheme. The stores managers were unpleased with the picket, asking Humberside police to move us a small distance away from the doors (Approx 6 inches, in fact!). One member decided to respond with loud slogans, causing more interest than before.
On Tuesday the 28th of august members of Hull Solfed were joined by disabled activists in staging a protest outside the local office of official Paralympics sponsor Atos. Like similar demonstrations happening simultaneously around the country we wanted to shine a spotlight on Atos and its practices. Employed by the DWP to carry out work capability assessments declaring sick and disabled people 'fit for work', Atos uses an inhuman computer programme to do the testing, and trains its staff to push people off benefits. They profit from destroying the rights and lives of disabled people.
Hull Solidarity Federation have picketed Holland and Barrett again, on the 26th of May. From 11am to 2pm we handed out leaflets and struck up conversations with passersby and potential customers, informing them about use of 'workfare' and encouraging them not to shop there. Handing out the same leaflets we made for last time, we successfully turned away a fair few potential shoppers, whilst we estimate that our presence in official hi-visibility Solidarity Federation picket vests deterred further amounts of people through their sheer brightness in the mid day sun.
Hull Solidarity Federation took to the streets at 12pm on Saturday 12th May, to protest against Holland and Barrett's participation in the government's "Workfare" program. We provided a visible and persuasive picket, requesting people refuse to shop at Holland and Barrett so long as it continues to use unpaid labour in its shops.
Before doing so, we handed a letter to the staff, indicating that our picket was not aimed at them, but only their employers. Fortunately for them, due to it being a Saturday, there were no "workfare" staff there at the time. We also handed out a number of leaflets to passersby and potential Holland and Barrett customers.
On Saturday 4th February, Hull Solidarity Federation and friends picketed Pizza Hut in solidarity with workers from the IWW Pizza Hut Union, in support of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions. The picket started at 11:30, lasting around 2 hours in the freezing cold until we had handed out all 400 of our leaflets. Management came and incorrectly told us that we were not legally allowed to hold a picket outside the restaurant and subsequently called the police. The officers, trailed by a cameraman for an as yet unaired police documentary, informed us that what we were doing was perfectly lawful.
If anyone's interested in anarcho-syndicalism and building a solfed presence in Hull and East Yorkshire please get in contact with us by emailling solfed[at]solfed.org.uk or alternatively hull[at]solfed.org.uk