Anti-Workfare Picket: Poundland

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Date(s) - 16/02/2013
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Poundland, Unit 5 to 13


South London Solidarity Federation continues the campaign against Workfare with another picket of Poundland. High Court may have ruled four of the five Workfare schemes ‘unlawful’, but the government remains committed to the programme and is expected to tinker with the regulations to bring it in line.

As for Poundland, the budget shop is still involved in its own ‘independent’ Workfare scheme in partnership with the Job Centre:

More on Workfare:

Workfare is a scheme initiated by the government (although Poundland claim to have established their own, private one) in which unemployed people are bullied into working for their Jobseekers’ Allowance benefits. People on the Workfare scheme are forced to stack shelves for up to 30 hours a week, working out to an hourly wage of just £1.60.

In response to a growing movement of opposition to the Workfare scheme, a number of companies have quit the programme, while the government has released a steady stream of untruths.

To clarify a couple of points:

-Workfare is NOT voluntary: people on the programme are often only given one week to ‘twist or stick’. If they leave their placement then they face punishment via benefit sanction, as well as a stern rebuke from their Jobcentre Advisor.

-Workfare does NOT get people into jobs. By the government’s own admission, according to a recent DWP report, the programme has NOT increased the employment chances of people on its scheme. Only around 49% of Workfarers go off of benefits (and what percentage of that is due to Jobcentre sanction?), and of those who go through the programme without finding work, there is actually an increased likelihood that they will return to benefits. In fact, only 3.5% of all people who have gone through the Work Programme have found work! Workfare is punishment for the unemployed, rather than an attempt to help them.

-People on Workfare do NOT gain valuable experience which helps them in the job market. Most of them end up stacking shelves in retail outlets, or working for free in charity shops.

-Workfare is NOT just an issue for unemployed people; in fact, it affects ALL of us. If the government and bosses are able to get away with paying just £1.60/hr, what will that mean for people working for a regular wage? What does that mean for the national minimum wage of £6.08/hr? And the Workfare placements are instead REAL vacancies, taking away genuine jobs from the working class.

More info here:


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