Workfare Campaign Hits Middleton

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.

Photo: via Wikipedia
Photo: via Wikipedia

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[2] people in Leeds, with 1190 just in Morley, have been made to take part in DWP’s ‘Work Programme’ since it began in 2011[3].  With £12billion[4] 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.
The variety retailer B&M Bargains have won a prestigious workfare industry award for their use of unpaid labour[5]. 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
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.
This post has been written by Sam Shipstone using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.

3 Replies to “Workfare Campaign Hits Middleton”

  1. My son, who has never been on benefits, applied for a job where they use workfare and was told that he would have to work without pay for the same period because he wasn’t on benefits. Needless to say he did not take up their kind offer of employment.

  2. This is a ridiculous scheme, aimed at appeasing people who think that everyone on welfare is somehow a scrounged intent on leaching off the state.

    It won’t lose the Conservatives many votes because very few people affected by this would be inclined to vote for the Tories anyway, and readers of red top newspapers might think that Dodgy Dave is getting all tough on benefit claimants.

    This essentially gives businesses the ability to boot permanent staff (or rather ‘manage them out’) and have staff paid for by the taxpayer.

    Might as well open up a state owned retail outlet – that way the tax payer keeps the profits….

    The government does need to tackle welfare spending, but do it in a real way that isn’t a cheap stunt, doesn’t subject people to humiliation and what not.

    Start by creating jobs – offer tax breaks to start up businesses and try and boost manufacturing in this country – rather than all those jobs going overseas.

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