Fighting Workfare

In RP59 we printed material by the Edinburgh Campaign Against Poverty. It not only does fine work helping individuals facing persecution, and campaigns against employers taking advantage of slave labour, but does it with a critique of capitalist society. There ought to be more groups like this just now. Shortage of space forbids us printing much this time but this is part of their latest leaflet (see picture for their web address).


The last Labour Government brought it in, the present Government is enthusiastically developing it: Workfare is part of the ruling class’ attack on wages and the social wage. The social wage (benefits, NHS, welfare provision etc) is part of what’s doled out to the working class (the SOLE creator of wealth) once profits have been made for our rulers. Economic crisis means the screws are put on wages and the social wage to protect profits. Hence pensions, wages, welfare and benefits are hammered, while the past 4 years have seen us pay 1.2 trillions pounds (that’s £1,200,000,000,000 ) to keep the banks afloat and their executives and shareholders in luxury. This robbery has been masked by a widespread propaganda exercise to convince us that our problems are caused by the work-shy, scroungers, and an ingrained entitlement culture, rather than an economic crisis and loss of jobs that’s none of our fault.

The Labour/Conservative/LibDem wheeze is to force the unemployed, sick and disabled to work for their benefits, and thus drive down wages. Workfare is an attack on us all!

The Work Programme helps employers squeeze their existing staff by cutting hours, cutting overtime, and creating a climate of insecurity.

The government gains by ramping up sanctions against claimants (a Guardian report in April this year found DWP staff being pressurised into meeting weekly sanction targets). A sanction can last from two weeks to six months and can be applied for being late to, or missing, an appointment. Being sanctioned means loss of Jobseekers Allowance meaning claimants then have to apply for a hardship payment (a lengthy, stressful procedure) of around half of Job Seekers Allowance. 508,000 claimants were sanctioned last year.

Remember, you are not a recipient of charity. You are claiming under an insurance scheme that you, your parents, grandparents and great grandparents fought for, and paid into. You didn’t create this financial crisis, you didn’t create the present joblessness. Those that did are facing no sanctions. Do not expect to see Fred Goodwin or Bob Diamond beside you at the Job Centre.

More and more companies are being shamed into ending their involvement in workfare – Holland and Barrett, one of the latest, join TK Max, Sainsburys, Waterstones, Burger King, HMV, Boots, Body Shop, and many others, including increasing numbers of charity shops. Collective action against such attacks works! But many companies are still using the scheme - they need to be exposed and challenged. Get involved in our actions against these companies; don’t let them make you feel isolated and helpless.

Read the rest of this leaflet to arm yourself against Workfare. (Check out the website )

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Revolutionary Perspectives

Journal of the Communist Workers’ Organisation -- Why not subscribe to get the articles whilst they are still current and help the struggle for a society free from exploitation, war and misery? Joint subscriptions to Revolutionary Perspectives (3 issues) and Aurora (our agitational bulletin - 4 issues) are £15 in the UK, €24 in Europe and $30 in the rest of the World.