The last week has seen two more victories in the ongoing battle against the governments workfare scheme!
Homebase & Argos (both owned by the ‘Home Retail Group’) have ended their involvement. Homebase was only exposed for using the scheme in April, and originally boasted it was getting them ‘750 hours (work) with no costs’. Turns out there was a cost after all. Bristol Anarchist Federation launched a week of action targeting their online presence and branches of their stores. Along with members of the Solidarity Federation, Boycott Workfare, and thousands of angry folks on twitter/facebook we managed to get their attention.
Homebase have now finished the ‘evaluation’ of their scheme announced after the first few actions, and have opted to end all involvement. Around the same time Argos announced ‘after careful consideration we have decided to halt any further recruitment of colleagues through the work experience programme ‘. Great news for paid staff who reported having their hours and overtime cut when the scheme started, and for those who will no longer be forced to work for free to help line the pockets of the already wealthy owners of Home Retail.
The second victory of the week came with the government dropping its plans for compulsory SIX MONTH workfare placements for everyone finishing the ‘work programme’ . With the current smaller scale schemes already facing so much trouble it must have been obvious that this ambitious plan would be unworkable.
The array of workfare schemes and sanctions facing benefit claimants can appear unbeatable, but we’re proving that this isn’t the case. We should take count of every one of our victories as they show when we fight back we can win, and we’re going to keep fighting back ’till workfare is gone for good.
(Please read the following in the voice of one of those nice sounding people who talk over the end credits of programs on Channel 4) If you or someone you know is affected by the issues raised in todays blog post, email Bristol [at] Afed.org.uk or read Boycott Workfare’s Guide To Avoiding Workfare. Otherwise keep an eye on the blog for more on getting involved in ending workfare.