Workfare in Bury & Beyond

Bury Council‘Workfare’ is a scheme which apparently helps get people back to work – using a curious system of what can only be described as modern day slavery.

Shockingly (or maybe unsurprisingly), many local councils are not opposed to using ‘workfare’ to bolster their own workforce.

Workfare leads to less time to actually look for a job (which is apparently the overall aim), doesn’t help people get an honest days pay for a honest days work and stigmatises welfare claimants.

Disappointingly, Bury Council is currently a council which refuses to distance itself from Workfare.

This is the letter that I sent to the Leader of Bury Council to ask them to sign the Workfare Pledge supported by Unite the Union.

Dear Cllr. Connolly,

As a local resident, I am writing to ask that the council commits to not using placements on government back-to-work schemes which can result in benefit sanctions – schemes known as workfare.

I am concerned that these schemes are being used as unpaid labour and that there is no evidence they help people back into work. Further, I am concerned that the result will be more stigmatisation of social security, locking job seekers into poverty while the government massages its unemployment figures.

To show your support for the campaign against workfare, supported by Oxfam, the Christian Aid and Unite the union, please sign the workfare pledge by following the link below.

www.unitetheunion.org/workfarepledge

This will take you to a webpage where you can pledge the council’s support for this campaign as below.

Local Authority workfare pledge

This council believes that work should pay and therefore opposes the introduction of schemes which force job seekers into unpaid work or face losing their benefits – schemes known popularly as workfare.

This council is concerned that there is no evidence workfare assists job seekers in finding work and in fact working a 30-hour week makes that more difficult; that workfare is replacing paid work; and that workfare stigmatises benefits claimants and locks them further into poverty.

This council pledges not to use any workfare placements and will also encourage contractors not to use the schemes.

I’ll keep you updated on what I hear back.

It should be noted that several councils have indeed signed up to the Workfare pledge, to stop this damaging and destructive scheme and ensure it will play no part in the council’s activities.

These councils are:

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • Bradford
  • Brent
  • Burnley
  • Camden
  • Cardiff
  • Corby
  • Edinburgh
  • Exeter
  • Inverclyde
  • Ipswich
  • Islington
  • Knowsley
  • Lambeth
  • Norwich
  • Oxford
  • Preston
  • Redcar & Cleveland
  • Rosendale
  • Sefton
  • South Tyneside
  • St Helens
  • Sunderland
  • Thurrock
  • Wakefield
  • West Dunbartonshire

This is a start but no where near enough.  Lets put an end to this modern day monstrosity that is Workfare.

Give your support to the pledge and email your local council.

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