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 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 - 

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.


The City of Edinburgh Council have agreed to pay all tenants hit by the bedroom tax the money they need to cover the tax in full, without the need for means-testing or filling in forms.

Lothian Anti Bedroom Tax Federation delegates addressed the full Council meeting on 26 June. Following the deputation, councillors unanimously agreed a motion from the Greens Steve Burgess that “all qualifying Bedroom tax (under occupancy) Discretionary Housing Payment applications are appropriately backdated and paid in full without the need for a financial assessment.”

This means no-one in Edinburgh needs to pay the bedroom tax shortfall in their Housing Benefit – it will all be covered by the Council paying Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). “Any tenants still being affected by the Bedroom tax should apply to the Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment right away,” say the Lothian Anti Bedroom Tax Federation. “This DHP should be paid on the basis you need it to cover Bedroom tax. The Council have now agreed you do not need to fill in any forms about your income and expenditure or savings or anything like that.”


Anti workfare demonstrators occupied Learndirect offices in Edinburgh on 12th June.  After occupying for an hour, protestors then moved to cover the office entrance with a huge banner declaring IF YOU EXPLOIT US, WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN.  Police attended but the occupation continued despite their presence.  There were no arrests.

Occupation of Learndirect's Edinburgh officesOccupation of Learndirect's Edinburgh offices

Learndirect recently won the DWP contract to run the new Community Work Placements workfare scheme in Scotland, and are also the Edinburgh provider for Mandatory Work Activity, another workfare rip-off.  "We aim to make Community Work Placements and all workfare schemes UNworkable" state demo organisers Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.

Community Work Placements forces unemployed people to work for SIX MONTHS for nothing - under threat of benefits being stopped.  But many think the scheme is in real difficulties, as many charities are now boycotting workfare, signing up to the "Keep Volunteering Voluntary" pledge.  Edinburgh Council has declared it will not use workfare.  We call on workers to pressurise their employers not to participate in workfare.  And we give notice that any employers who do exploit claimants through workfare, whether they be charities, private companies or state bodies, can expect direct action - if you exploit us, we will shut you down.

Workfare exploiter Learndirect rent their offices in Conference House, 152 Morrison Street, The Exchange, Edinburgh, EH3 8EB. This big office block is owned by multinational Regusand the occupation of their office foyer clearly had a big impact on the Regus staff.  All visitors to any of the many companies based there had to squeeze past demonstrators, police and a multitude of banners and placards to enter…. People may wish to ring Regus’ Edinburgh offices on 0131 200 6000 to advise that they should give Learndirect the boot - or expect more anti workfare occupations of their offices.

Anti Workfare protestors shut down Salvation Army store in Edinburgh

Anti workfare blockade of Salvation ArmyAnti workfare blockade of Salvation Army

 Anti workfare protestors blockaded Edinburgh's main Salvation Army shop for three hours on Saturday 5th April. Demonstrators defied police to hold a giant banner proclaiming IF YOU EXPLOIT US, WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN right across the Earl Grey Street shop's front door.

Dubbed The Starvation Army, the charity is heavily involved nationally in the government's exploiting work-for-your-benefits schemes and in Edinburgh is a major abuser of claimants forced to labour for nothing under the Mandatory Work Activity scheme, taking conscripts ordered there by learndirect. Claimants who decline to be exploited in this way face having their benefits stopped.

Protestors from demo organisers Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, and from Black Triangle, the Industrial Workers of the World, Disability History Scotland, the Anarchist Federation, Greater Leith Against the Cuts and other groups and individuals ensured the shop remained virtually free of customers over the normally busy lunchtime period.  We were aided by the shop manager, who locked the door!  Two women turned away and took their bag of donations to the nearby Shelter shop when they heard of the Sally Army's exploiting practices.

Hundreds of leaflets were given out, stressing that workfare is an attack on the wages and conditions of all workers.  Several new people signed up to Edinburgh Coalition Ágainst Poverty's Solidarity Network.

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