SolFed supports Boycott Workfare's Noise Demo

On 2nd December, those driving forced labour for unemployed people on the government's workfare schemes are getting together for their annual conference at Senate House, Malet Street, London.

ERSA, the trade body for the 'welfare to work' industry, have called their conference "Challenge and change in an evolving landscape". Those attending include Esther McVey (Minister for Employment); Stephen Timms (Shadow Minister for Employment); The Department for Work and Pensions Director of Social Justice; Chairs, Heads and Directors from workfare profiteers A4E, Avanta, Seetec, G4S, Pinnacle People, Groundwork UK, Tomorrow's People; the lead researcher from Ian Duncan Smith's thinktank, the Centre for Social Justice; and the Chief Executive of the Tax Payer's Alliance. All under one roof.

The workings of the Work Programme

With around six jobseekers to every vacancy it may seem strange that the government is paying private companies to compete with jobseekers to take those jobs, but that is exactly what the Work Programme is about.

Leaked documents show that one of the contracted workfare providers, A4E, suggests daily priorities for its branches should include: reviewing job centre vacancies, newspaper listing, subscribing to job alerts and, of course ‘telesales calls’ (which is to say offering their services to the businesses that are recruiting).


These were and continue to be the tasks assigned to unemployed people as conditions for receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) - with a requirement that activity records are kept and sanctions dished out for failure to satisfy the criteria set out in their jobseekers’ agreement.

What to do if you 'fail' your work capability assessment

Know your rights!

Some brief advice on the process of appealing a failed Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as well as some signposting to relevant advice bodies who may be able to assist you.

When you first receive the results of your ATOS WCA and it is a fail, the first thing that many do, as they are panicked and desperate, as they have had their money stopped, is to panic and phone the Job Centre Plus and ask about signing on for Jobseekers Allowance, which is what they want you to do, but there is an alternative and that is by asking for a reconsideration and/or appeal.

How to request reconsideration/appeal

Organising against workfare

Workfare is a growing problem, as demonstrated by recent stories of a number of supermarkets had volunteered to be providers for the scheme and that young people were providing 30 hours a week of unpaid labour. This presents a problem both for the claimants trapped by this scheme, essentially as slave labour, and for the providers' workforce who are being undercut by those doing their job at practically no cost. Equally worrying is that, despite the growing anger over government attacks and emergence of anti-cuts groups across the country, nothing is being done to challenge this.