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Protest Against Workfare - London Thursday 26 February

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redacteur
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Feb 25 2009 22:16
Protest Against Workfare - London Thursday 26 February

Protest against the government's new workfare scheme.

An event called 'Bidding Opportunities: DWP Welfare to Work services' is taking place at St Pancras Novotel, 100 - 110 Euston Road, London NW1 on Thursday Feb 26, 10.30am – 3pm.

Join us outside the hotel at 3pm to protest the government's attempt to make workers pick up the tab for the economic crisis.

The text below will be handed out tomorrow, feel free to make copies and circulate widely or bring your own!

Thanks!!!

DON'T TAKE THE PUNISHMENT FOR THEIR CRISIS

UNEMPLOYED OR WORKING, WE'RE NOT PAYING!

While millions of us face the dole in the near future, the government is meeting at the St Pancras Novotel today with private contractors and charities to plan new punishments for the unemployed.

WHAT THEY’VE GOT PLANNED FOR US

Work & Pensions minister James Purnell says he wants signing on to be "like school detention": enforced 9-to-5 attendance at strictly supervised job-search, interviews and training, with the PFI firms and charities doing the supervising paid according to the number of people kicked off benefits.

In fact the punishments proposed come straight from the criminal courts: fines if you turn up late for interviews, and hard labour on 'community service' for those who fail to find the jobs that aren't there.

Meanwhile, millions more claimants are supposed to be thrown off incapacity and parent benefits onto the much lower Job Seekers' Allowance, flooding what's left of the job market with extra desperation, and making it even easier for employers to cut the wages and conditions of those still in work.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

The government and its corporate partners are used to getting away with one attack after another on our incomes and living conditions. They play off 'hardworking families' against benefit claimants, and 'local' workers against migrants.

However, at this unique moment all bets are off. The line between 'permanently' employed homeowners and the 'socially excluded' is crumbling. We’re all facing social exclusion now. Though they're asking us to take personal responsibility for the 'journey back to work', everyone knows the disaster is their fault, not ours.

Private dole contractors are already panicking about 'payment by results' when there are no jobs out there, and the dole offices where the new system is being tested report an unsurprising increase in 'conflict' with furious claimants.

If this anger keeps building up, and IF it's combined with solidarity between employed and unwaged workers, the creators of the crisis may have picked a losing fight this time.