Workfare is a range of government schemes that make people on benefits work for their dole. The government and some in the media present it as a way of encouraging people back into work by gaining experience. This ignores two things – first, there are not enough jobs available for those who want them; and second, workfare placements themselves are taking jobs away from paid workers.
The companies using workfare all make large profits. The work being done would need to be done anyway. By getting forced labour to do it for free, the companies' profits will grow. Their regular workers are often on low pay themselves and find their overtime cut and pay held back because of the forced labour schemes.
Bosses prefer not having to pay for workers. Instead, we are all paying to subsidise their profits. Protests have already forced some to pull out of the scheme. Let's make it all of them.
Mayday became International Workers Day because of the anarchists killed by the US state during the struggle for the eight-hour working day. Now we are struggling to ensure that workers get paid and those out of work or unable to work are not forced to work for their benefits.
We will be releasing a map of companies participating in the scheme over the next few weeks. So when the march has finished, instead of standing around to listen to the likes of Tony Benn bore on, head into the West end and start to target the companies benefiting from forced labour!
South London Solidarity Federation, North London Solidarity Federation