Capital protest against workfare planned

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Campaign group plans to stage protest outside training provider's offices

7th October 2014 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An estimated 140 campaigners plan to demonstrate outside LearnDirect’s Edinburgh office this week in protest at the firm’s involvement in the government’s controversial welfare-to-work scheme.

The protest, due to take place this Thursday (9 October) in the city’s Morrison Street , is part of a week-long series of action across the UK against companies and organisations taking part in the UK government’s so called workfare scheme.  

LearnDirect, one of the UK's largest training providers, is contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to run the mandatory work activity scheme and the new Community Work Placements in Scotland, where jobseekers work for up to six months without pay.

Forcing people to work for nothing through the threat of removing people’s benefits is unfair, unjust and wrong

Those refusing placements face sanctions.  

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty (ECAP) said the protest aimed to keep pressure on the government to stop forcing unpaid work on people who receive benefits.

A spokesperson for ECAP said: “Forcing people to work for nothing through the threat of removing people’s benefits is unfair, unjust and wrong. 

“Forced work for benefits attacks both claimants and workers in jobs while workfare exploits jobseekers and also the many sick and disabled claimants on Employment and Support Allowance. It also undermines all workers' wages and conditions.”

Campaigners believe the action against workfare is succeeding. 

UK campaign group Boycott Workfare says 422 organisations have so far rejected the compulsory schemes and have signed the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement – including charities Christian Aid, Shelter and the Edinburgh Volunteer Centre.