ECAP visit Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre to say NO WORKFARE HERE!

On 8th February members of Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty visited Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre in Edinburgh to give out leaflets and talk to those present to explain why the Centre should withdraw from workfare.  This followed several phone calls and e mails and many Facebook messages which had all been ignored by the Centre management.  

The visit had a significant impact, lively discussions breaking out in the middle of the cafe area where ECAP members were leafleting.  A member of the Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre management committee promised they would discuss the issue at their meeting this Wednesday 10th and reply to ECAP's request to address the management committee on the issue.  Centre manager Robert Scott seemed none too happy however, threatening to call the police to evict the leafleters!  

Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre uses workfare conscripts from provider learndirect on the Community Work Placements scheme, whereby jobseekers have to work for their benefits for six months under threat of sanction.  The Centre management has been directly involved in having sanctions imposed on claimants sent to them.  Jobseeker Jimmy, sent to do workfare at Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre in early 2015, explained to the Centre manager that he did not think such a community group should be using workfare.

The Centre manager sent him away and reported him to Learndirect, who in turn sent a sanction referral to the DWP, causing his benefits to be stopped.  Fortunately Jimmy sought support from ECAP, who fought his case with both Learndirect and the DWP, insisting that Learndirect contact the DWP to withdraw the sanction referral.  Thanks to this solidarity, all Jimmy's benefits were restored.

To tell Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre that you think they should withdraw from workfare, you can write a review of the Centre here https://www.facebook.com/Oxgangsneighbourhoodcentreorg/reviews/

The text of the leaflet given out at Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre follows:

AN APPEAL TO OXGANGS NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE

DO THE RIGHT THING

END THE CENTRE'S INVOLVEMENT IN  GOVERNMENT WORKFARE SCHEMES

The good work done by Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre is being undermined by the Centre's participation in the compulsory government workfare schemes which force jobseekers and even disabled people to work for their benefits – or lose their money.

The Centre takes claimants sent by government contractor Learndirect on Community Work Placements. They are forced to work unpaid for six months. Jobseekers have had their benefits stopped because of this. One was sent away after criticising the Centre's participation in workfare and unjustly lost his benefits when a Centre manager reported him to Learndirect. This makes a mockery of genuine volunteering.

We appeal to the Centre to join the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council, Oxfam, Shelter, Christian Aid and 632 other charities who embrace volunteering and boycott workfare – see keepvolunteeringvoluntary.net 

Workfare not only exploits the claimants forced to work for nothing, it undermines all workers' wages and conditions.  There is a grave danger that workfare will be used to replace paid workers as public services and funding for voluntary organisations are savagely cut. 

Workfare is part of the class war being waged by the rich and the governments of the world against the poor.  They want US to pay the price for the economic crisis caused by THEIR greed and THEIR profit-dominated system.  Why should we accept growing inequality and austerity?  Society has the wealth to provide plenty for all – if resources were held in common and shared.  

We are an independent group of claimants and low waged workers.  Several claimants have approached us, appalled that this Centre supports workfare.  Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre - do the right thing and end your participation in exploitation and sanctions.

EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY  edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk ecap@lists.riseup.net  On Facebook and Twitter

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If you would like to get involved in these kind of activities against workfare contact ecap@lists.riseup.net

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BEING SENT ON WORKFARE YOURSELF?

Contact ecap@lists.riseup.net for support

Or call in at our tuesday drop-ins at ACE, 12-3pm

And see http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/68 

for practical ways in which you can resist being sent to do forced labour.

 

TELL OXGANGS NEIGHBOURHOOD CENTRE WHAT YOU THINK OF THEM USING WORKFARE

Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre

oxgangsneighbourhoodcentre@gmail.com

0131 466 0678

Robert Scott manager

http://oxgangsneighbourhoodcentre.org.uk/

facebook - Oxgangs Neighbourhood Centre

We suggest addressing complaints to the Management Committee

 

LOCAL COUNCILLOR

Urge the local SNP councillor Richard Lewis to tell ONC they should 

withdraw from workfare.  ONC get funding from City of Edinburgh Council 

- who have an anti workfare policy.

Email: richard.lewis@edinburgh.gov.uk

Twitter account

@RichardLewisSNP

 

LOCAL MP

Urge the local SNP MP Joanna Cherry to tell ONC they should withdraw 

from workfare.

Joanna.cherry.mp@parliament.uk

@joannaccherry

 

 

 

 

 

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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 ecap@lists.riseup.net. 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).