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.
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.
WORKFARE ATTACKS ALL WORKERS
Hundreds of leaflets were given out to passers-by, denouncing Learndirect – dubbed SLAVEdirect – and stressing that all workfare schemes attack everyone’s wages and conditions. If an employer can get someone to work for nothing, why employ more paid workers?
“Work makes free” declared the Nazis, a view echoed by most politicians today. Let’s nail this lie. Employment – working for a boss – equals exploitation. If workplaces were run by their workers, in a society geared to human need, then work could be an expression of creativity. Instead today the bosses are using the crisis of the capitalist profit system to intensify exploitation, inside and outside the workplace.
Workfare, zero hours contracts, casualisation, redundancies, speed ups, privatisation, service cutbacks – all are part of the rich’s war on the poor.
But we – along with millions world-wide – are fighting back. Join us!
Being sent on workfare? See below for info on how you can resist…
And more info here
and in our links section (scroll down to Workfare and Universal Jobmatch)
And above all contact ECAP for support, and do tell us which employers are using workfare….
EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space, infoshop and wholefoods co-op, providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, a small wholefoods shop, and a library.
Every tuesday from 12 noon till 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits and debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA 0131 557 6242 firstname.lastname@example.org We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree, and get involved.
ACE is also open every Saturday 11am-6pm and Thursday 6-8pm, and other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesdays).