Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/707/14039
Workfare: We won't work for free! Youth Fight for Jobs joins nationwide protests against workfare
We won't work for free!
- A day's pay for a day's work - no exceptions
- A mass trade union-led campaign to scrap slave labour schemes
Becci Heagney, East Midlands Youth Fight for Jobs
Workfare? Fair it's certainly not! The bankers help cause the biggest economic crisis in generations and get rewarded with billions. Yet ordinary people, who've already had to pay with cuts, cuts and more cuts, are now being told to work for free.
There are 2.67 million people unemployed and hardly any vacancies. But instead of creating jobs, the government is giving another reward to big business in the form of slave labour.
Massive companies such as McDonald's, Boots and Primark are offering unemployed people the 'opportunity' to work for their benefits. The government assures us that it is voluntary - unless you pull out, in which case, you'll lose your dole!
But the government isn't finding it as easy to exploit us as it would have liked! Tesco, Burger King, Poundland, Matalan, TX Maxx, Waterstones and Sainsbury's have all withdrawn as a wave of protests and occupations spread across the country.
Nearly every day another private company or charity backs off as the scheme starts to crumble. This campaign was sparked by a Tesco job advert promising a permanent night shift worker pay of 'JSA + expenses'.
Jobseeker's Allowance for under-25s is a measly £53.45 a week. That means nothing to millionaire ministers such as Iain Duncan Smith, who had the audacity to describe those protesting as a "commentating elite" who "belittle and downgrade any opportunity for young people". Isn't that a description of the Tories?
What proof of how rotten capitalism is that in 2012 young people have to demand 'a day's pay for a day's work'! It's not like these companies can't afford it. McDonald's Corporation reported profits of $1.38 billion last year!
If people want work experience, it should be fully paid with a guaranteed job at the end and it should provide useful experience. The Work Programme is nothing more than providing free labour to increase the profits of big business.
The Con-Dems have been forced onto the back foot already. We demand decent jobs with decent pay. Protests, linked with the trade unions, need to be stepped up until the whole Work Programme is scrapped!
Youth Fight for Jobs calls for:
- Keep up the pressure to force all remaining companies out of the Work Programme
- All unemployed people currently on a placement to be employed in the position on a proper wage
- Scrap the Work Programme entirely
- A minimum wage of £8 an hour, regardless of age
- Mass investment into a programme of public works to create socially useful jobs and real apprenticeships with guaranteed jobs at the end
Give us real jobs!
Join the fortnight of action against workfare - protests around the country
Get in touch for details of what's happening near you:
020 8558 7947
In The Socialist 29 February 2012:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news