Universal credit is a direct attack by the government on us, ordinary working class people.The new benefit system makes it harder to apply and hides a cut on the rates. UC will affect not just unemployed but employed!
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). Gone is the much vaunted ‘voluntary’ aspect that was used to defend the schemes for the last year; now, if you are a claimant it is now completely arbitrary whether you're forced to chose between wageless employement or the loss of your benefits. 'The benefits system has entered the State of Exception.'
These are schemes that are specifically aimed at providing free labour to parts of the private sector whose profits are hit by crisis.
On Thursday 22nd a dozen people, including members of benefit claimants' groups Black Triangle and the Crutch Collective, Clydeside Industrial Workers Of The World, Glasgow Anarchist Federation, Glasgow Solidarity Federation as well as other individuals took part in the hour long picket of the Co-Op Bank and supermarket on the same street in central Glasgow.
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:
Today, activists including Liverpool Solidarity Federation members held an informational picket at Jobcentre Plus in Bootle. There, we handed out advice leaflets and Solfed workfare pamphlets to claimants, alongside more general leaflets to the public.
In all, we stayed there for about an hour and a half. The response we had from claimants and members of the public alike was overwhelmingly positive. Most took our leaflets gratefully, whilst more than a few people stopped to chat about workfare and our campaign against it. Several trade unionists from the local council also promised to take the information back to their branches as it affected their staff as well.
May 26 saw the National “How Do We Break Workfare” conference in Brighton organised by Brighton Benefits Campaign, with attendees from groups across the country. The one day conference saw a variety of discussions and workshops on the various work for your benefits schemes about the UK
ATOS healthcare are the private IT company tasked with kicking sick and disabled claimants off benefits by classifying them as fit to work using an automated program. The Brighton Benefits Campaign and Disabled People Against Cuts organised the local contribution to the national day of action against ATOS, which saw around 25 people assemble in Brighton, street theatre depicting the computerised 'fit for work' assessment and a short march to the nearby ATOS building.
Our bulletin for the June 30th public sector strikes. Including:
- Why should I care about public sector pensions?
- Claimants: today is a strike day
- Disabled people answer June 30 strike call
- Plus: a map of pickets and demonstrations in Brighton (see our online map here)
Download as a pdf (double-sided A4).
Bulletin for the June 30th public sector strikes - Why care about public sector pensions? (2011)
This morning we got together with local benefits campaigners to picket ATOS Healthcare, the private company paid millions by the government to force people off sickness benefits by reclassifying them as 'fit for work'. They do this by using an automated system to over-ride the judgement human doctors, as part of the wider attacks on claimants and workers, which began under Labour and are currently being accellerated by the coalition government. Below is the text of the leaflet we distributed to passers-by, many of whom stopped to share experiences of friends and loved ones who've had their benefits cut arbitrarily.
ATOS Healthcare: Poverty pimps putting profit before the welfare of people with disabilities