Resist Mandatory Work Activity!

Unemployed claimants are being forced onto the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.  This means you have to work for nothing for four weeks just to get your benefits.  If you don't turn up for the slave labour you are likely to have your Job Seekers Allowance stopped.  We have heard that this nasty workfare scheme is currently being forced on many claimants in Edinburgh.

But there is something you can do to resist!  DWP Guidance states that Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) is not designed for the “vast majority” but only for “a few” unemployed claimants - see Point 2 of the Guidance.  Please note the official DWP Guidance has just changed - for the worse naturally - and we have just updated this article with the latest info and links.

The Guidance details who should be sent on MWA, who should not be sent and about the procedures that are supposed to be followed.  So you can check out the guidance and if you do not meet the criteria or they have not followed the right procedures – object!   ECAP is pledged to support all resisting being forced onto workfare, so contact us.

They must give a reason and explain to you why you are being referred to MWA.  Point 17 of the DWP guidance on MWA states:

"A JSA claimant potentially suitable for MWA is one identified through the 
work targeted interview process as lacking, or failing to demonstrate, the 
focus and discipline necessary to effectively:  
  seek out and pursue job opportunities 
  secure and retain employment..”

If this doesn't apply to you – object!

It seems that the reason often given for forcing claimants to work for nothing on this scheme is to get recent work experience and a reference.  But point 23 of the DWP Guidance states:
“23. MWA is not an appropriate means of providing recent work experience 
unless other options have been explored and are unlikely to lead to the 
removal of this barrier – for example, the claimant will / does not pursue 
options that would remove the barrier." 

In Edinburgh one of the employers using this nasty scheme are notorious workfare supporters the Salvation Army.   For example the Sally Army charity shop beside A4e at 36 Earl Grey Street near Tollcross uses workfare.  If you know of other employers using  MWA or other workfare schemes please let us know, as we intend to pay such exploiters a visit to persuade them of the error of their ways!  The workfare provider (poverty pimp) running MWA in Edinburgh is JHP / learndirect (the two companies recently merged) – any info on this workfare provider welcome.

If you are being harassed by the job centre to go on MWA, Work Experience or any other workfare scheme, take along a friend or adviser to your interviews to support you – this is your right.

And remember, if you are in a job – workfare is an attack on the whole working class, undermining everyone's wages and conditions.  Don't let your boss use workfare.

More on resisting workfare at

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).