debt / welfare benefits

Saturday 30th May, 10.30am-5.30pm (arrive from 10.15am for a cup of tea), London Welsh Centre (10 minutes’ walk from King’s Cross station)

Welfare Action GatheringDetails of all the workshops we’ll be hosting on the day are now on the Boycott Workfare website.  If you’ve got any suggestions or would like to be involved in one, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Faced with policies that are pushing ever more people into precarity and poverty, thousands of us have been coming together to support each other. We are pushing back workfare, standing up to sanctions, challenging the work capability assessment and fighting insecure, unaffordable housing.

If you are concerned about:

  • Job centres being places of intimidation and sanctions,
  • Private providers bullying claimants on ‘welfare-to-work’ schemes,
  • 35 hour jobsearch under Universal Credit,
  • ESA assessments putting sick and disabled people in fear of destitution,
  • Welfare rights for young people being abolished and replaced with unpaid work,
  • Workfare being required to be eligible for social housing,
  • Housing benefit being part of sanctions under Universal Credit,
  • Claimants in work being sanctioned under Universal Credit too…

…then do something about it and come to the Welfare Action Gathering to hear from other people organising across the UK! Learn about our rights and share ideas and tactics!

Join the Facebook event and invite others to come too!

This isn’t a day for speakers from the front. Party political representatives aren’t invited. It’s a day for people at the grassroots to get together and work out how we can support each other, defend our rights and continue successfully to campaign against workfare and sanctions.

Organised by Boycott Workfare with Haringey Solidarity Group. Workshops and contributions from other groups are very welcome!

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"If we want them to tap dance, then they will tap dance," a Whitehall official on government plans for benefit claimants (Sunday Times, 2012)

Take action this week to stop workfare in North London Hospice shops

- From Mon 2 Feb - in a "communications conga" - social media / email / phone action
- Sat 7 Feb, 6.15pm - join our protest at North London Hospice's Dancing Strictly fundraising event in North Finchley to ask "Waltz going on with workfare?"

Since August last year, Haringey Solidarity Group has been campaigning for North London Hospice to stop taking on people on 30-hour a week workfare schemes in their shops. (For more info, see our full web article 'Why North London Hospice should keep its word and pull out of workfare'). The hated and hateful six-month Community Work Placements (CWP) are backed by the threat of sanctions, i.e. having your benefits cut off for four weeks or more.

Many of us in HSG have reason to respect the great work that the hospice does within our local community.  So we tried contacting the hospice, to let them know that CWP is not voluntary, and we tried leafleting passers-by outside their shops.  Finally, in December, North London Hospice's Chair of Trustees wrote to us, stating their intention to stop using workfare once current placements came to an end. He refrained from giving a date for their withdrawal from the scheme, leading some of us to fear that their "intention" could mean another six months' misery for claimants on CWP.
 
Then, just a couple of weeks ago, we found out that,  contrary to the letter, North London Hospice had taken on a new placement and possibly more.  Furthermore, it has been over a month and a half since their letter to us, and not one of the shop managers we have spoken to is aware of this proposed withdrawal from the scheme, and the chair of trustees has to refused to give any indication of a date for withdrawal.

So our campaign against workfare at North London Hospice continues.

This Monday, 2 February, we are asking people to join our North London Hospice "communications conga" and contact the hospice, via social media, phone and email, asking them to pull out with immediate effect.

Then, the following Saturday, 7 February, 6.15pm, we are asking for support at North London Hospice's "Dancing Strictly" fundraiser, when we hope to speak directly to their supporters, and for them to ask the hospice management, "Waltz going on with Workfare?".

North London Hospice "communications conga" from Mon 2 Feb, contact details:
Twitter @NLondonHospice
Facebook /NorthLondonHospice
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. [nb: this is the correct email address!]
Phone: 020 8446 2288 (Fundraising team) or you can find the numbers for their 18 shops online. (NB: We are asking people not to contact the main hospice switchboard number.)  Please also remember, if you call them, it’s definitely worth trying to speak to a manager, or someone involved in fundraising and volunteer organising. The person who answers the phone may well be low paid admin staff, or possibly on workfare themselves.

Dancing Strictly Fundraiser on Saturday 7 Feb, 6.15pm
Join Haringey Solidarity Group from 6.15pm at the Arts Depot in Finchley. The event starts at 7pm.  Bring friends and (dance-themed) placards. 

ArtsDepot, 5 Nether Street, North Finchley, N12 0GA.  Tube: Finchley Central (then bus); Woodside Park and West Finchley (20 mins walk). Buses: 82, 125, 134,221 (from Turnpike Lane), 263, 460. Or see the Artsdepot website for directions.

See our website for more background information on the campaign.

The story so far of our continued campaign against the hated Community Work Placement scheme and the ongoing participation of North London Hospice

Boycott Workfare - Real Jobs NowIn May last year, the Department for Work and Pensions launched its latest workfare scheme for the long-term unemployed – Community Work Placements (CWP). Previous schemes met with outrage when corporations, like Tesco and Poundland, were seen to be increasing their profits through the use of the free labour of the unemployed. These schemes were rightly understood as a taxpayer subsidy to employers in much the same way that in-work benefits paid to the low-paid act as a subsidy to employers who pay rock-bottom wages. Consequently, CWP focuses on charities, although private companies can take advantage. The majority of those on CWP are placed in charity shops, where they have to work 30 hours per week for six months in return for their benefits, under threat of sanctions.

CWP serves several functions:

  • those responsible for the scheme claim that the unemployed are engaged in worthwhile activity whilst giving something back to the community
  • the threat of sanctions intimidates and disciplines claimants with the intention that they will do exactly as they are told without objection, no matter how reasonable
  • those old friends of the government, G4S, who forever have their snouts in the trough line their pockets handsomely at the expense of those with nothing. Yes, G4S runs contracts covering half the country, including Haringey. The idea that claimants on this scheme are putting something back into the community is contentious. The fact that these bastards are taking loads more out is beyond question.

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This Saturday, 6 December, 12.30pm. Join us on a picket of North London Hospices shop on Wood Green High Road (Turnpike Lane end).

Haringey Solidarity Group continues its support for claimants referred to Urban Futures as part of the hated Community Work Placement scheme.

On a weekly basis, claimants tell us the shameful way in which they are treated by Urban Futures, the local organiser of the CWP scheme and the way in which they are then forced to spend 30 hours per week hanging around in a charity shop rather than using their time constructively creatively or in any other way they choose.

Claimants and HSG have been campaigning against NLH's participation in the scheme for almost 3 months precisely because NLH is Urban Futures' largest partner, providing some 50 placements. We believe that if we can persuade NLH to pull out of the scheme, life will become pretty difficult for Urban Futures and the CWP scheme in the local area as around 20% of Urban Futures' placements are with NLH. They would find it very difficult to replace them quickly hitting them financially, providing some relief for claimants and raising serious questions over the whole project.

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Reel News footage of our Urban Futures occupation as part of the Boycott Workfare week of action against workfare.