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Unwaged Workers

This network includes SF's unemployed members, retirees, students, stay-home parents and unpaid workers (including those on workfare schemes). We can be contacted at solfedunwaged [AT] gmail.com - some of our leaflets are available in the column to the right.

"The Secretary of State may select a claimant for participation in a scheme"

The title of this post is the sole criterion set down in the new workfare regulations regarding whom and under what conditions a person might be required to undertake one of the Government’s forced labour schemes (with the exception of MWA).

Workfare sanctions extended from today

The governement has today significantly increased the sanctions for non-compliance with the benefits regime, including the controversial unpaid, forced work 'workfare' schemes. Under a 'three strikes' policy, benefits will be stopped for three months, six months, and then three years for failing to meet a series of conditions, many of which relate to workfare. According to a notiification letter given to all JSA claimants, this includes:

The Youth Contract: Rescuing the Work Programme

The Youth Contact was launched at the beginning of April amidst much fanfare and empty talk about helping young unemployed people, whose numbers now stand at record levels.

Don't forget the Work Programme

Workfare is a catch-all term that refers to a range of state sponsored wage-less work schemes. Recent withdrawals by high-street firms that had been involved in  the Jobcentre’s nominally voluntary ‘work experience’ scheme has put politicians on the defensive forcing them to emphasise the (dubious) voluntary nature of the scheme. However the same defence cannot be made of the coalition’s flagship Work Programme, a compulsory scheme with a ‘mandatory work related activity’ component.

Sector-Based Work Academies - subsidising business with unpaid labour

Sector-Based Work Academies (SBWA) combine work experience-style placements with a short job-related training components. Launched in August 2011 SBWA are one of the Government’s 5 workfare-centred labour reform schemes in which unemployed people are compelled to perform unpaid work for private companies.

'Work Experience' - the thin end of the wedge

The Work Experience scheme offered through the Jobcentre Plus (JCP) is one the five workfare schemes that are currently running in the UK. Recently this has become the best known of the workfare schemes thanks to the government’s damage limitation efforts after the negative publicity surrounding its policy of making people work without wages.

The Community Action Programme - replacing jobs with unpaid labour

A new compulsory work scheme for the long-term unemployed was announced by the government in November 2011. The Community Action Programme (CAP) is currently being trialled (or ‘trailblazed’, in the government’s terminology) in four regions with the intention to implement the scheme nationally in 2013.

Disciplining the workforce: Mandatory Work Activity

Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) is one of the Government’s five unpaid labour schemes in which unemployed people may be required to participate or lose their benefits. According to Chris Grayling Mandatory Work Activity “is something where people have no choice but to participate, otherwise their benefits will stop until they do”

The workings of the Work Programme

With around six jobseekers to every vacancy it may seem strange that the government is paying private companies to compete with jobseekers to take those jobs, but that is exactly what the Work Programme is about.

Leaked documents show that one of the contracted workfare providers, A4E, suggests daily priorities for its branches should include: reviewing job centre vacancies, newspaper listing, subscribing to job alerts and, of course ‘telesales calls’ (which is to say offering their services to the businesses that are recruiting).

 

Factsheet: 5 kinds of workfare

Currently there are currently five workfare schemes in use in the UK, below we explain them

 

Know Your Rights: Redundancy

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have predicted that 725,000 public sector jobs and up to 900,000 private sector jobs will go in the next five years, as a result of spending cuts and the VAT increase. While some will go through retirement and natural wastage, a lot more workers will be facing redundancy. Here is a brief guide to the law around it.

What to do if you 'fail' your work capability assessment

Know your rights!

Some brief advice on the process of appealing a failed Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as well as some signposting to relevant advice bodies who may be able to assist you.

Unpaid Labour in the South East

Courtesy of our friends at the Brighton Benefits Campaign, what follows is a list of companies in Kent, Surrey and Sussex that have taken advantage of mandatory work placements through the Government’s Work Programme in which unemployed people are forced to work without pay. The placements are arranged by a private company called Avanta Enterprise Limited:

Students to Sparks: Join Us!

We’ve seen cuts to education, leading to the destruction of EMA, tripled uni fees, mass redundancies and course closures. We’re now witnessing – if we fail to stand up and beat it – the virtual privatisation of education. But the government’s austerity measures are not just attacking education – pensioners, the unemployed, workers in all industries in both public and private sector are all facing massive cuts – leaving no-one spared!

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Our leaflets

Abolish workfare - the Solidarity Federation's guide to the government's unpaid work schemes
Workfare is a term used to describe a range of schemes in which people are forced to work without wages in order to receive their benefits. (pdf), (pdf)
Know your rights: failing a Work Capability Assessment
What to do if you 'fail' your work capability assessment
The Stuff Your New Deal Office doesn't want you to know
Download as a pdf here.
Claimants - today is a strike day (UWN J30 leaflet)
Download the pdf here.


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