The recent court case, Reilly and Wilson V the Secretary of State, initially sounded like a huge victory for those opposed to the workfare programme. Yet when the dust settled it soon became clear that it was a hollow victory. Although the judge had ruled the Government had breached their own rules, nothing had really changed. The DWP has moved quickly to change the regulations to comply with the judgement.
It may be possible that some claimants, unjustly sanctioned, will be able to claim a repayment of any lost benefits. Yet, the Government are refusing to pay out until they have exhausted all legal avenues. Even then claimants are again going to face being forced onto schemes that the Government have had to acknowledge don’t actually work. All evidence shows that you are more likely to find work if you don’t waste your time on the work programme.
So what next? If legal methods don’t bring results, then a return to the methods that get results must the order of the day. Direct action, organising and publically shaming those that profit at the expense of the unemployed.
So join the Boycott Workfare for a week of action on 18-24 March against workfare exploiters everywhere. Bristol Solidarity Federation, as part of an on-going and sustained campaign, actively organised with others against Holland and Barrett’s involvement in Workfare. Resulting in the company, who were planning to take on thousands of unpaid workers, abandoning their exploitative plans. Now the Solidarity Federation has now turned its attention to Poundland.
Why Poundland? The company is beginning to feel the pressure. Recent Poundland PR statements claim they now have their own Workfare scheme and it is entirely voluntary. This denies the fact that many people are bullied onto these schemes and that after one week your benefits can be sanctioned if you quit. The chain is currently owned by the global private equity firm Warburg Pincus and made a whopping £11.8 million in 2009. Their greed knows no bounds. They are willing to use free labour to stock their shelves and further impoverish their own workforce.
Bristol Solidarity Federation is calling for pickets of all Poundland stores across the West during the week of action. With the week culminating in a huge “If you exploit us we will shut you down” demo outside a South West Poundland store on the 23rd March. If you fancy planning a picket in your town get in touch with Bristol Sol-Fed. We can assist with leaflets and publicise your action. There are Poundland stores in Bristol, Bedminster, Weston-Super-Mare, Keynsham, Bath, Yate, Chippenham and Swindon. So get some mates together and shut them down.