Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty Meeting

7pm Mon 30th September 2013                                              Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh, 17 West Montgomery Place, EH7 5HA.

The coming ECAP monthly meeting comes at a very important time. In the last few months the situation for claimants on JSA and in the WRAG group of ESA has dramatically worsened, claimants’ treatment in the job centres is becoming increasingly brutal.

From the number of claimants approaching us it seems that there has been a big rise in sanctions, that there are widespread attempts to dictate new job seekers agreements, and to force claimants to register for Universal Job Match, and there have been several episodes of aggression to ecap reps and any claimants sticking up for themselves.  There also appears to be a new variant of workfare, some claimants are being pressurised onto “Work Experience” , which appears to be being run direct from the job centres without going through A4e or other private workfare providers (any more info welcome)

And this is all on top of the continuing disgusting treatment of claimants on ESA and other disability benefits, with ATOS continuing their farcical assessments, many claimants who should clearly be in the Support Group being put in the WRAG of ESA without any examination at all, and many ESA WRAG claimants facing sanctions for not attending appointments with workfare providers like Ingeus.

Are we going to let them get away with this?

I think we need to discuss and plan some direct actions to fight back, to take place in October and November – where possible co-ordinated on a Scottish-wide and British-wide level – there are now regular leafletings/ small demos at Glasgow job centres and there has been action in Dundee too, while Boycott Workfare in London are making anti sanctions stickers and would probably be open to actions over sanctions

So hopefully there can be a big turnout at this upcoming ECAP meeting, and also hopefully in the run-up to the meeting we could discuss some ideas for action…..and forms of publicity too…