Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Retrospective legislation making benefit sanctions legal, was 'incompatible with the right to a fair trial' says High Court!

We are publishing below a recent briefing from 'Boycott Workfare'.

This annual gathering of organisations profiting from workfare – or hoping to – is being held yesterday and today at the Arena Convention Centre in Liverpool.

Wherever you are, why not let the private companies, charities and think tanks involved know what you think online #intowork2014. If you only have a minute – use our handy tweet buttons here: 

The conference is being organised by CESI (Centre for Economic & Social Inclusion) – self appointed ‘thought leaders’ in the welfare to work industry. People who make their money supporting policies that mean forced unpaid labour and poverty for many, but escalating profits for the few.

Following the High Court Ruling that this Government’s retrospective sanctions legislation is incompatible with human rights , and the near collapse of ‘Community Work Placements’ this is an excellent time to keep up the pressure – to continue to stand up against workfare.

Check out the full list of conference speakers. The vast majority are from the heavily tax payer subsidised ‘employability sector’. Coventry University will be announcing its MSc in ‘employability leadership’ so that ‘ERS leaders understand financial drivers so that their business can recruit and marshal high quality supply chains to deliver contracts’.

It’s a mark of just how successful the campaign against workfare has been that hardly any voluntary agencies are involved. Keep volunteering voluntary and thousands of activists across the country are making a big difference. Inspite of the efforts of ‘Crown Representative for the VCSE’ – paid by you to get charities to do the government’s dirty work.

We’d expect to find ‘work til you drop’ McVey on the platform. And no surprise that Labour are falling over themselves to show their support for corporate welfare with Shadow Minister for Work & PensionsStephen Timms opening the second day. As Chair of ‘Christians on the Left’, you might have expected him to be campaigning for Boycott Workfare….

Other usual suspects include G4S, Ingeus (still getting contracts, still failing to deliver jobs), (not)Working Links and Seetec – with dinner provided by the notorious Shaw Trust, whose commitment to workfare has forced thousands of people to depend on food banks. While their CEO Roy O’Shaughnessy, one of the highest paid in the sector (well over £180K) delivers the Shaw Trust’s strategic goal of ‘getting closer to the DWP’.
Also on the programme is Reed NCFE who will explain why low pay, no pay exploiter employers are more interested in ‘mindset’ than skills.
Or you could listen to the National Housing Federation talk about how to ‘leverage a variety of funding and borrowing options’.

Or people like CMP, who specialise in getting people who are sick to stop using the NHS (aka ‘self management’) and get back to work (‘Reduce unnecessary fears about health and work’).
Family Mosaic is the company that thinks it’s ok to set up ‘employment boot camps’ and boast about their ‘fitness and diet regimes’ for the disengaged. Confirming what we already know. To be unemployed is a crime. And punishing unemployed people is big business.

There are still a few voluntary agencies, charities and ‘learning providers’ milking the workfare system while spouting sanctimonious claptrap about ‘those most affected by welfare reform’ and ‘supporting people not yet benefiting from the economic recovery’.
Exposing this kind of hypocrisy has been extremely successful in the past. The public has a right to know when charities pretending a commitment to social justice are in fact profiting from workfare – directly or indirectly. Age UK, the Papworth Trust and the Runnymede Trust are speaking. NIACE will be there – still salivating at the prospect of all those mandatory ‘skills provision’ opportunities. Why not tweet them and point out that myths about skills shortages are used to deny young people a wage while forcing them to work.

We have no idea what Disability Rights UK are doing at a festival of workfare exploiters. Just saying….
It’s especially disappointing to find Joseph Rowntree Foundation sponsoring a session on ‘welfare to work providers encouraging benefit take up’ and speaking on ‘sustainable work for the long term unemployed’. Not only is this completely laughable, (as JRF must know perfectly well), supporting these kind of events gives them legitimacy and is a stab in the back for all those who have suffered sanctions, forced unpaid labour and the relentless attack on benefit claimants from this government. Remind them that workfare is an integral part of the Government’s commitment to maintaining no pay, low pay Britain and keeping a significant percentage of the population in poverty.
Workfare is collapsing. Let’s keep up the pressure. Use the links on this webpage to expose those still profiting from workfare. Don’t forget to include #intowork2014

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