Why the abuse of benefits claimants is hurting ALL workers

"I would have quit this job months ago, but I'd be sanctioned by the Jobcentre". That's what one friend told me after working unpaid overtime every evening that week, on low pay that barely covered bills and rent. It's a dilemma faced by everyone working in unsafe or illegal conditions. If you are fired then you have to get by for 5 weeks with no income while you wait for Universal Credit. If you quit, you risk being sanctioned and left for months with no money coming in at all. This is a system designed to punish workers for leaving, designed to keep us quiet and accept unfair or even illegal demands at work, while the rich rake in the profits. If we want to make better lives for ourselves then we should all make a stand against the benefits system, or it will undermine every attempt to organise our workmates.

Bristol SolFed join Festive workfare action (and hits M&S twice in one day!)

Saturday the 13th December 2014 was a busy day for the Bristol local, as they took on workfare in Bristol and poverty pay in Swindon.

Members of Bristol Solidarity Federation turned out of a roving anti-workfare action in Bristol, responding to a callout from our friends Bristol Anarchist Federation. Around 30 people, many dressed as santa and belting out carols with revolutionary and anti-workfare lyrics held a noisy action in central Bristol calling on (and in one case, briefly invading) well known workfare users such as Poundland, Savers, M&S and Primark.

End Workfare - Street Party in Bristol - 13th December 2014

Join the anti-workfare Street Party in Bristol this Saturday, 13th December 2014.

Meeting at the Castle Park bandstand at 2pm sharp before moving off to visit some firms who profit from using unpaid workfare labour. Please try and make this and pass it on to your mates.

Bristol Solidarity Federation will be there, so look out for our banner! Our friends and comrades in Bristol Anarchist Federation and Bristol IWW are also helping mobilise for the event.

There is a facebook page for the event: "As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving – yet some companies still aren’t giving workers a wage. As we approach solstice we are told that we are in a season of giving - yet some companies still aren't giving workers a wage!

SLSF take to the streets of Lewisham in anti-workfare demo

On Saturday South London Solfed's roaming anti-workfare picket targeted businesses on Lewisham High Street exploiting unpaid labour.

Despite autumn choosing Saturday to finally arrive, a determined group took to the streets in support of Boycott Workfare's week of action. Marks & Spencer, Primark and Poundworld were all picketed, as well as Iceland who have reportedly signed up to the new 'Help To Work' scheme, the newest and most punitive version of workfare yet, involving six months' unpaid traineeships. Information leaflets were distributed to the public, including know your rights advice for those facing workfare placements. Despite the rain there were plenty of positive responses.

SLSF calls anti-workfare picket in Lewisham for Saturday 4th October

Join the South London Solfed roaming anti-workfare picket in Lewisham this Saturday, 4th October, in solidarity with Boycott Workfare's week of action.

Meet us at Lewisham Clocktower at 1pm.

We will be targeting a number of organisations on Lewisham High Street who continue to exploit unemployed people as free labour.

Workfare is an attack on us all. It does not save money, does not create jobs and does not help the unemployed. The government is trying to divide us by pitting those in work against 'scroungers' who supposedly need to forced into work. But workfare is as much an attack on those with jobs as those without. It drives down wages and disciplines those in waged work not to rock the boat lest they be replaced by workfare labour and end up unemployed themselves.

Anti-workfare picket of Lewisham Marks & Spencer Saturday 7th December

South London Solfed has called an anti-workfare picket of Lewisham Marks & Spencer in solidarity with Boycott Workfare's week of action this Saturday, 7th December at 1pm.

M&S's use of workfare made news in June when they announced 1400 new 'work experience' placements for young unemployed people would be made available. These positions are unpaid. Indeed, M&S have set a benchmark of 2% of their workforce to be unpaid. More info via Boycott Workfare here.

Let’s step up the pressure on companies who still think they can profit from unpaid work. Show M&S that exploiting unemployed people is not good for their business.

There is more information on other actions taking place this weekend on Boycott Workfare's website.

SolFed supports Boycott Workfare's Noise Demo

On 2nd December, those driving forced labour for unemployed people on the government's workfare schemes are getting together for their annual conference at Senate House, Malet Street, London.

ERSA, the trade body for the 'welfare to work' industry, have called their conference "Challenge and change in an evolving landscape". Those attending include Esther McVey (Minister for Employment); Stephen Timms (Shadow Minister for Employment); The Department for Work and Pensions Director of Social Justice; Chairs, Heads and Directors from workfare profiteers A4E, Avanta, Seetec, G4S, Pinnacle People, Groundwork UK, Tomorrow's People; the lead researcher from Ian Duncan Smith's thinktank, the Centre for Social Justice; and the Chief Executive of the Tax Payer's Alliance. All under one roof.

Four! It's the Magic Number!

16/8/13 

Newcastle SolFed found the magic picket attendence today as they continue putting the pressure on Poundland. Poundland are becoming notorious for using and abusing unemployed workers. Using the unemployed as free labour is not only a disgrace in itself, it threatens those in full time or part work jobs in the shop.

We can honestly say that today we were able to really approach people and explain the problem with the government workfare scheme. Previously we have held reasonably large pickets that may have been daunting for shoppers, some times a dozen or more. So what do you know? Small is the new big!

Look out for the next Newcastle SolFed, picket at a piss-taking shop near you!