Take action against Sanctions and Workfare

No to Sanctions and Workfare
Demonstrate at High Riggs Jobcentre, by Tollcross, Edinburgh
11am - 1pm
Wed 29th April

High Riggs JobcentreHigh Riggs JobcentreOrganised by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty as part of the Week of Action co-ordinated through Boycott Workfare.  Supported by Edinburgh Anarchist FederationGreater Leith Against The Cuts, the Industrial Workers of the World, and Edinburgh Anti-Cuts Alliance

No workfare. No sanctions. Whoever wins we will resist!

As the general election campaign gets underway we are already seeing politicians calling for more of the same policies. More workfare. More sanctions. Yet we know that these policies have been a total disaster. This is why we are holding a week of action in the week before the election. We need your help to expose and challenge workfare and sanctions policies and the political lies that underpin them.

Workfare undermines paid jobs and wages and results in sanctions. It does nothing to improve the chances of people finding a job and exploits those forced to carry it out. Last year over half a million people had their benefits sanctioned. The number of benefit sanctions imposed by the DWP now exceeds the number of fines imposed by the courts. People are being left with nothing for up to three years. There is now overwhelming evidence of the harm being caused by sanctions. Sanctions are damaging the health of claimants and leading to hunger, homelessness and deaths.


Over 30 towns and cities held protests on 2nd March against the involvement of sinister US based outsourcing company Maximus in the despised Work Capability Assessments.

In Edinburgh protestors braved freezing temperatures to besiege the Maximus Assessment centre at Argyle House, Lady Lawson Street. Protests took place as far away as Canada where Ontario Coalition Against Poverty took to the streets in  solidarity.

Protests to besiege Maximus in Work Capability Assessment storm

Protests will be held Britain-wide on March 2nd to denounce US based company Maximus and its takeover of the Work Capability Assessment, previously run by the French IT company ATOS.   In Edinburgh demonstrators are set to descend on the Maximus Assessment Centre in Argyle House on Lady Lawson Street from 1pm onwards on Monday.


High Riggs Jobcentre, EdinburghHigh Riggs Jobcentre, EdinburghThe 25th February Britain-wide Day of Action saw protestors descending on High Riggs, Leith, and South St Andrews Street jobcentres in Edinburgh, and also  nearby Musselburgh jobcentre, to show solidarity with arrested activist Tony Cox.  Nearly 20 people were involved, distributing hundreds of leaflets declaring "Advocacy is not a crime" and "You have the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews", and displaying placards and banners.  Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested at Arbroath Jobcentre on 29th January while representing a vulnerable jobseeker.


Solidarity protest at Arbroath Job CentreSolidarity protest at Arbroath Job Centre

 Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker.  We urge you to join a Day of Action on 25th February at Jobcentres round Britain to show your solidarity.

We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented.  Tony will be in court in Forfar on 25th February facing charges of  "threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest".   That same day we call on people to descend on jobcentres round Britain to show solidarity with Tony and distribute info to claimants urging all to exercise the right to be accompanied and represented at all benefits interviews.


High Riggs Jobcentre, by Tollcross : 10am - 12 noon.     Leith Jobcentre, Commercial St : 9am - 11am.    Musselburgh Jobcentre : 2pm - 3pm.    St Andrews Street Jobcentre : 11am - 1pm

Please contact ecap@lists.riseup.net if you would like to help at any Edinburgh or Lothians jobcentre. 

Anti workfare protestors shut down Edinburgh charity shops

Anti workfare demonstrators closed down two Edinburgh charity shops involved in the government's exShutting down workfare exploiter Salvation ArmyShutting down workfare exploiter Salvation Armyploiting workfare schemes on Saturday 31st January.  Protestors blockaded the entrance to the large Salvation Army shop on Earl Grey Street with a huge banner : IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN.   For two hours the shop was virtually empty. 

The action then switched to the DEBRA charity shop on Marchmont Crescent, another user of the compulsory "work-for-your-benefits" schemes.  Demonstrators briefly occupied the shop, then completely blockaded it, the closure completed by the manager bolting shut the wooden door.  Simultaneously protestors besieged the Salvation Army shop in Broughty Ferry, by Dundee.

Half a dozen police were waiting for the demonstrators at the Salvation Army but were unable to break the blockade by around 40 protestors.  Unity between the sick and disabled, the unemployed and workers was shown by the banners from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, the Industrial Workers of the World and Black Triangle, displayed alongside placards proclaiming NO WORKFARE - NO SANCTIONS - NO AUSTERITY, and STUFF WORKFARE : NO WAGE SLAVERY : NO DOLE SLAVERY.  

"Shut down the Salvation Army workhouse" was the cry from the megaphone, and speeches and chants emphasised that the battle against workfare was part of the wider international class struggle against capitalism.  Around 500 leaflets were distributed, declaring "Workfare undermines all workers' wages and conditions and is an attack on waged and unwaged alike."


11am onwards Sat 31st January at Salvation Army charity shop, 36 Earl Grey Street, by Tollcross, Edinburgh EH3 9BN   

(Earl Grey St is an extension of Lothian Rd, its the last block before Tollcross - 10 minutes walk from west end of Princes St.)

The Salvation Army are a notorious user of the government slave labour schemes which force unemployed claimants and some sick and disabled claimants to work for nothing - or face benefit sanctions. This particular Salvation Army shop is currently exploiting claimants forced to labour for no wages on the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, run locally by Learndirect.

Workfare undermines all workers wages and conditions and is an attack on waged and unwaged alike.  Our actions locally have already prompted charities like Cancer Research UK to withdraw from the workfare schemes run by Learndirect.  Let's make workfare unworkable!  Our message to rip-off employers is simple - if you exploit us we will shut you down!

All welcome - join the fightback to make austerity policies unworkable.

Organised jointly by ECAP and Edinburgh Branch Industrial Workers of the World
IWW - eastscotland@iww.org.uk   www.iww.org.uk 

Demonstrators shut down workfare provider Learndirect in Edinburgh

9th October, Edinburgh:
Demonstrators shut down workfare contractor Learndirect, as the company cancelled its session for jobseekers forced onto the government's compulsory work-for-your-benefits programmes.  Learndirect's office in Conference House, Morrison Street was besieged by around 60 protesters denouncing the slave labour schemes.  Learndirect are owned by giant private equity firm LDC, in turn part of Lloyds Banking Group, and are providers for both the Community Work Placements and Mandatory Work Activity schemes.
Blockading workfare exploiter LearndirectBlockading workfare exploiter Learndirect
Employees from Zion Security were brought in especially to guard the building and police attended.   The large Regus business centre housing Learndirect saw normal comings and goings virtually grind to a halt.  When demonstrators discovered a few visitors were sneaking in the back entrance, we set up a picket there too, and two cars were blockaded.

Demo organisers Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty and supporters from the capital were joined by contingents from Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions, Glasgow Anarchist Collective. and Scottish Unemployed Workers' Network Speakers explained that the workfare schemes not only exploit the jobseekers and disabled claimants forced to labour for nothing, they also attacked the wages and conditions of all workers. 

The speakers were upbeat: “We are winning the battle against workfare.”   Over 400 charities have declared they wish to “keep volunteering voluntary” and are boycotting all workfare schemes - including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Edinburgh Volunteer Centre, Shelter and Christian Aid.  A member of Voluntary Action Scotland picked up campaign material to take back to a nearby conference of charities and NGO's.  Cancer Research UK, after being approached by ECAP, recently told Learndirect they no longer wanted any of their workfare placements.


Occupation of Learndirect Edinburgh officesOccupation of Learndirect Edinburgh officesGather at Learndirect, Conference House, 152 Morrison Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EB.
12 noon – 2pm Thursday 9th October

Organised by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty as part of the “Boycott Workfare”  Week of Action Against Workfare 4 – 12 October

Forcing people to work for nothing through the threat of removing people’s benefits (sanctions) is unfair, unjust and wrong.  Forced work for benefits attacks both claimants and workers in jobs.  Workfare exploits jobseekers and also many sick and disabled claimants on Employment and Support Allowance.   Workfare undermines all workers' wages and conditions.  Join us in taking action against workfare, benefit sanctions and the whole austerity programme.

Learndirect are the workfare providers for the compulsory “work-for-your-benefits” schemes Mandatory Work Activity and the new Community Work Placements scheme, which forces jobseekers to work for nothing for six months.  Learndirect profit from the forced labour schemes and shamelessly refer jobseekers for sanctions, making people penniless to try and intimidate jobseekers to submit to forced labour. 

SHOP A WORKFARE EXPLOITER! Forced to work for benefits ? Fight back!

Tollcross, Edinburgh Salvation Army shop besieged by anti workfare protestorsTollcross, Edinburgh Salvation Army shop besieged by anti workfare protestorsTell Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty the names of any charity or company using the exploiting workfare schemes. You can do this anonymously, and we never reveal our sources.

We will contact the workfare user and explain why they should stop. If they don't, we can then denounce them on social media, and organise demos against them. We have blockaded and occupied workfare users like the Salvation Army, Tescos, British Heart Foundation, Poundland etc, shutting them down for periods of time.

We are especially keen to learn which organisations the workfare provider Learndirect are using for Community Work Placements. This disgusting new workfare scheme forces people to work for their benefits for six months. But it's only just starting, and has had a lot of problems and delays, so if we step up the action against it there is a chance of stopping the scheme in its tracks.

Information on workfare users will be especially useful in planning our Edinburgh actions during the Boycott Workfare Week of Action from 4th - 12th October.

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