TFN poll: Are anti-workfare campaigners justified in using intimidation tactics?

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​Small charities accuse anti-workfare protesters of bullying, intimidation and harassment. Can this be justified? 

30th April 2015 by Robert Armour 11 Comments

Are anti-workfare campaigners justified in using intimidation tactics?

Poll results (total votes: 247)

Are anti-workfare campaigners justified in using intimidation tactics?

Three small charities helping vulnerable clients have accused anti-workfare campaigners of bullying them into abandoning involvement in the UK government’s workfare schemes.

Campaigners say the tactics are justified because the schemes make people work for benefits and sanctions them if they refuse – plunging them into destitution.

However, the charities say they have achieved overwhelmingly positive outcomes for those on the schemes with up to 70% of placements going onto employment, further training or education.

Who’s right…are the charities justified in using the scheme to achieve positive outcomes? Or are anti-workfare campaigners justified in using these tactics to force them to drop involvement?   

30th April 2015 by Lynne Friedli

Your article specifically quotes Boycott Workfare saying the following: 'we do not condone intimidation or harassment'. So why are you running this poll?

30th April 2015 by YetAgain

Small charities accuse anti-workfare protesters of bullying, intimidation and harassment. Can this be justified?No. These accusations cannot be justified.

1st May 2015 by devi eva

"​Small charities accuse anti-workfare protesters of bullying, intimidation and harassment. Can this be justified?"I've rarely seen such a clumsy way of phrasing such a loaded question. Shame on you. Talk about ignorance of an issue - I cringe to think I work in the same sector as some of you people.

1st May 2015 by Louis Kasatkin

As someone who has experienced long term unemployment and Zero hours Contracts,I have been and am being bullied,harassed by JCP/DWP and subjected to public slander and defamation in and by the media.I have now been "referred" to INTERSERVE for MWA. the choice is do 120 Hours forced unpaid labour or get sanctioned for 13 weeks. No government has the right to support and enforce a punitive scheme of forced labour against recipients of social welfare benefits. As a campaigner against such schemes and a life long political activist,I will use any and all tactics and strategies to disrupt and dissuade all those bodies who collaborate win the use of such anti-Christian,anti-democratic and unlawful forced labour schemes.

2nd May 2015 by Kitty

In a case I know about, the charity staff were personally against the use of MWA but the Board had decided to use it. When Boycott Welfare supporters were asked to email the board to get the decision changed, none of them bothered, campaigners did however persistently send abusive messages to the staff (who were on their side but powerless) and turn up at their workplace to intimidate them. It was terrifying for the staff involved, and totally unnecessary when a system had been put in place to listen to grievances.

3rd May 2015 by Lee

Not very nice, both in the language you used ( eg 'terrorist') or the political approach you took. I'd have thought that tfn might be beyond this kind of right wing rabble rousing. It seems you have a lack of empathy for unemployed people sentenced to do forced labour workfare as if they were criminals. Demonstrators have every right to stand outside charities that use forced labour workfare staff and tell the public what is going on. Incidentally,some of the charity shops staff have been aggressive to the demonstrators,most of whom have been polite and peaceful - I refer you to past posts on the 'Boycott Workfare' website. Not that I guess you would read anything that contradicts your rather unpleasant opinions.

3rd May 2015 by Rosanne

I've not voted on your survey because you are asking the wrong question. It is not intimidation to inform the public that an organisation is using workfare. People have a right to know this before they make an informed decision to contribute or buy. It is not intimidation to peacefully protest or pass on leaflets to people giving them information that should be made public according to recent court decisions. It certainly is not 'terrorism'.

3rd May 2015 by rosanne

PS: Forgot to say that I was surprised to read your unfounded accusations towards anti-workfare campaigners, since your previous reporting has been very critical of forced labour schemes and its harmful impact on charities and volunteering. What happened?

5th May 2015 by John McArdle

We are absolutely appalled that TFN has suggested that our excellent allies, Boycott Workfare, are in any way involved in any activities that amount to criminal acts []This is a libellous allegation and had you named an individual we would now be preparing legal action against you.Sick and/or disabled people, in particular, are wrongly being found fit-for-work by DWP/Atos/Maximus and are being compelled to work for these parasitical organisations for nothing on pain of losing their meagre incomes altogether.They face sanctions, hunger, homelessness, despair and in many cases suicide. This is an irrefutable fact which has been well documented and will be well understood by your readership.We are utterly outraged and this scurrilous piece of writing - we cannot bring ourselves to call it journalism - and bitterly disappointed that it has appeared in TFN whose editorial line has usually been so supportive of disabled and unemployed people's grassroots struggle against oppression. It has damaged the trust and esteem in which we had heretofore held your paper.We do not expect to read headlines and stories worthy of the Daily Mail in literature published by SCVO. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.We urge you to now do make restitution by admitting fault, retracting your allegation and issuing a full apology to our friends and comrades at Boycott Workfare with immediate effect.Boycott Workfare is made up of loving and kind activists who are in the business of saving lives, not destroying them.In solidarity with Boycott WorkfareJohn McArdleon behalf ofBlack Triangle Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights 'Black Triangle'Edinburgh

5th May 2015 by iaim

Seems your little poll has backfired. It is also hardly neutral in its question. Shameless amateurs.

5th May 2015 by Dominic Brookes

Having been employed to deliver the DWP programs there has been a number of charities that have used it to benefit the Claimant but equally there has been many more that have used it to keep their overheads down & do not intend to offer permanent positions at the end of the DWP agreement/contract.