Charity bosses urged not to exploit forced labour available through Con-Dem “workfare” programme which begins today
Charity bosses have been urged not to exploit forced labour available through the government’s new “workfare” programme, which was launched today.
The new mandatory community work placements (CWPs) require that jobseeker’s allowance claimants do six months work placement — or risk losing their benefits.
General union Unite reps in the not-for-profit sector will challenge the exploitative new scheme and ask charity managers not to sign up for community work placements, which are being promoted by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.
The union branded CWPs as “nothing more than forced unpaid labour” and said they were against the scheme “wherever ministers want to implement it — in the private sector, local government and in the voluntary sector.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said: “The hours demanded by workfare are greater than a community service order you would get for a criminal offence, such as punching someone in the street — this is just bonkers.
“The government sees cash-starved charities as a soft target for such an obscene scheme, so we are asking charity bosses to say No to taking part in this programme.”
A group of voluntary organisations, including Oxfam and Anti-Slavery International, has also launched the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign against the measures.
Oxfam head of volunteering Daniel O’Driscoll said: “These schemes involve forced volunteering, which is not only an oxymoron, but undermines people’s belief in the enormous value of genuine voluntary work.
“These schemes impact unfairly on the support people receive, and so are incompatible with our goal of reducing poverty in the UK.”