On Saturday 27 June 2015, a national day of action is taking place against the variety retailer ‘B & M’ for their use of Workfare. As part of this, Leeds Welfare Fightback will be having a demonstration at Middleton Shopping Centre at 2pm and all are welcome to attend.
WHAT IS WORKFARE IN LEEDS?
Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits private companies by providing them with free labour, while threatening the poorest and most vulnerable with taking away their safety net if they do not work for free.
More than 25,000 people in Leeds, with 1190 just in Morley, have been made to take part in DWP’s ‘Work Programme’ since it began in 2011. With £12billion now pledged to be further cut from the national welfare budget, this situation is expected to get worse.
Leeds Welfare Fightback aims to expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare, encouraging organisations to pledge to boycott it, and actively informing people of their rights.
WHY B & M ON 27 JUNE?
The variety retailer B&M Bargains have won a prestigious workfare industry award for their use of unpaid labour. Leeds Welfare Fightback do not think that it is acceptable that this takes place in our communities.
Kathleen, a member, says: “The biggest scandal is that when a company takes on free labour through workfare, it can end up replacing jobs and undermining wages, adversely affecting existing paid staff in these companies. It has been confirmed in cases involving ASDA, Argos and Holland and Barrett that the supply of free labour allowed them to reduce staff hours. It is likely to be the same picture in B & M stores. This does not benefit workers, or those being forced to do workfare, or the unemployed, or our community.”
As part of the national campaign by Boycott Workfare, a day of action has been called outside B & M stores on 27 June. At 2pm, Leeds Middleton Shopping Centre branch will have stalls and a demonstration, and all are welcome to attend. Members of the public who wish to find out more or get involved are invited to contact Leeds Welfare Fightback on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This demonstration also follows Fast Food Rights action outside McDonald’s at the bottom of Briggate at 4.30pm on the Friday 26 June – a day before the action against B&M. This is part of an ongoing campaign to end zero-hours contracts, poverty pay and attacks on union rights in fast food workplaces.