Sheffied Wobblies visit the Workers Economy Conference in Occupied French Factory.

Stop workfare in its tracks – Take action 29 March – 6 April

blockade of salvation army shop

Workfare: If you exploit us we will shut you down!

Tens of organisations have already quit workfare. The government will not reveal which organisations are still using it for fear the schemes will collapse. Its contractors complain that they have lost hundreds of placements due to public pressure.

But they’re trying it again with a new scheme – “Community Work Placements” – launching on 1 April 2014 which will force claimants to work for six months without pay. Six months – 780 hours – is more than twice the maximum community service sentence. Workfare does not help people find jobs and being unemployed is not a crime.

This new workfare scheme is part of a raft of draconian measures, misleadingly called “Help to Work”, which are designed to increase sanctions (benefit stoppages) and undermine wages still further.

For the workfare schemes to happen, they need places to send people, but tens of large charities have already quit. Oxfam stated that the schemes were incompatible with its goal of reducing poverty in the UK. Liverpool CVS has condemned the scheme in the strongest possible terms.

Our action can stop companies, charities and councils from exploiting forced unpaid work and make sure this new scheme falls flat on its face. Wherever you are, however you can contribute, take action on 29 March-6 April.

Target the charities:

  • Friendly local charity or Volunteer Service? Invite them to commit not to use forced unpaid work by signing our pledge.
  • Big workfare user like RSPCA, YMCA, Salvation Army, The Conservation Volunteers, British Heart Foundation, Barnardos or Cancer Research? Write to them, organise a demo or encourage people you know not to donate until they stop using workfare!
  • Approach workers in the voluntary sector to ask them to pressure their employer not to participate in the scheme. There are often Union branches for voluntary sector workers you could contact.
  • Visit boycottworkfare.org daily during the week to take part in online action!

Target the councils:

  • Find out if we know about workfare in your local council on this spreadsheet.
  • If so, adapt our press release and expose them in your local paper.
  • Contact local Unison, GMB or Unite branches for council workers and encourage them to pass the motion to challenge workfare and to take it up with the council.
  • Find out if any sympathetic local councillors would take a motion to the council for it to boycott workfare. It has been done!

Support each other to get our rights:

  • Order know your rights leaflets to give out at the job centre or around your local community – email info[at]boycottworkfare.org with how many you would like!
  • Thinking about starting a mutual support group? Invite an existing group to help get it going with a workshop or talk.

Want to target the companies involved in workfare as well?
There are currently call outs to target Peacocks, and Grosvenor Casinos. Or there’s our crowd-sourced list of workfare exploiters to whom you may also like to pay a visit.

More about the Community Work Placement scheme:

Making links:

  • One year too long for the Bedroom Tax – End it now! Protests are organised in Leeds, Manchester, Ashfield, Harlow, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Southend and London on Saturday 5 April. Why not go along, make the links and pay a visit to a local workfare provider afterwards?
  • The TUC has called for a Fair Pay Fortnight from 24 March-4 April. Despite the threat it poses to members’ jobs, workfare (zero pay work) doesn’t seem to be on the agenda. The TUC currently even has policy supporting sanctions (PDF – 3.6, pg 31). Our week of action at the same time is a chance to point out that trade unions urgently need to take action on workfare and sanctions.

TAKE ACTION ON 29 MARCH – 6 APRIL TO STOP WORKFARE IN ITS TRACKS AND PUSH BACK AGAINST SANCTIONS.

Whatever you’re planning – let us know and we’ll help spread the word! info[at]boycottworkfare.org

Solidarity with Health Care Workers in Greece: Neo-liberal “Adjustments” Destroy the Healthcare System | Industrial Workers of the World

Solidarity with Health Care Workers in Greece: Neo-liberal "Adjustments" Destroy the Healthcare System | Industrial Workers of the World.

Russia vs Ukraine…the implications…

Folk Against Fracking in Portsmouth 14th March 2014.

FAF

Statement from KRAS-AIT and other internationalists against war in Ukraine.

WAR ON WAR! NOT A SINGLE DROP A BLOOD FOR THE “NATION”!

The power struggle between oligarchic clans in Ukraine threatens to escalate into an international armed conflict. Russian capitalism intends to use redistribution of Ukrainian state power in order to implement their long-standing imperial and expansionist aspirations in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine where it has strong economic, financial and political interests.

On the background of the next round of the impending economic crisis in Russia, the regime is trying to stoking Russian nationalism to divert attention from the growing workers’ socio-economic problems: poverty wages and pensions, dismantling of available health care, education and other social services. In the thunder of the nationalist and militant rhetoric it is easier to complete the formation of a corporate, authoritarian state based on reactionary conservative values and repressive policies.

In Ukraine, the acute economic and political crisis has led to increased
confrontation between “old” and “new” oligarchic clans, and the first used including ultra-rightist and ultra-nationalist formations for making a state coup in Kiev. The political elite of Crimea and eastern Ukraine does not intend to share their power and property with the next in turn Kiev rulers and trying to rely on help from the Russian government. Both sides resorted to rampant nationalist hysteria: respectively, Ukrainian and Russian. There are armed clashes, bloodshed. The Western powers have their own interests and aspirations, and their intervention in the conflict could lead to World War III.

Warring cliques of bosses force, as usual, force to fight for their interests us, ordinary people: wage workers, unemployed, students, pensioners… Making us drunkards of nationalist drug, they set us against each other, causing us forget about our real needs and interests: we don`t and can`t care about their “nations” where we are now concerned more vital and pressing problems – how to make ends meet in the system which they found to enslave and oppress us.

We will not succumb to nationalist intoxication. To hell with their state and “nations”, their flags and offices! This is not our war, and we should not go on it, paying with our blood their palaces, bank accounts and the pleasure to sit in soft chairs of authorities. And if the bosses in Moscow, Kiev, Lviv, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Simferopol start this war, our duty is to resist it by all available means!

NO WAR BETWEEN “NATIONS” – NO PEACE BETWEEN CLASSES!

*KRAS, Russian section of the International Workers Association*

*Internationalists of Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, Israel, Lithuania*

*Anarchist Federation of Moldova*

*Fraction of the Revolutionary Socialists (Ukraine)*

*Wessex Solidarity*

The statement is open for signature

BOOK NOW for Breaking the Frame: a gathering on the politics of technology. May 2nd – 5th at Unstone Grange near Sheffield.

You can book via – our website here – either on the form there or you can download a booking form to email/print and post.

We are committed to making sure that no-one is excluded for financial reasons, so we are subsiding places to make sure the gathering is as cheap as possible. There will be childcare available during the daytime so parents can fully participate in the gathering.

About the gathering:

Together with Scientists for Global Responsibility and Corporate Watch, in May Luddites 200 is organising a gathering on the politics of technology. The Breaking the Frame Gathering will bring together campaigns on the technology politics of food, energy/climate/environment, the military, work/economics/austerity, the internet, civil liberties/privacy, health and gender etc, as well as trade unionists, radical scientists, artists and developers of alternative technologies.

The basic idea behind the gathering is to create a network that can support people’s work on issues connected to technology. Being linked with other organisations facing similar challenges will help strengthen your campaigns, and may give you a broader perspective on your issues. It will also help create a new critical mass to challenge the forces that many groups are trying to fight in isolation.

We want to overcome the fragmented single-issue, reactive approach that dominates the way we deal with technology. Technology is a major force shaping the whole development of our society, including the issues you work on, yet we never have a democratic debate about it until it’s nearly too late, e.g. when Monsanto starts putting GM soya in our food. We think it’s time for a much more systematic and joined-up approach to technology that overcomes the democratic deficit in this area.

We need to develop a new approach, based on bringing together the insights of different campaigns and movements, sharing skills, and learning from each other. The need for a systematic approach to technology is more urgent than ever as we face environmental crisis caused by 200 years of industrial capitalism, whilst new technologies threaten to massively re-shape our society.

For more information about the gathering, please take a look at – our website We are also on Facebook at ‘Breaking the Frame’ and on Twitter at @framebreaking. You can reply to this email or contact us at
luddites200@yahoo.co.uk if you have any questions.