Home | Friday 11th June 2010 | Issue 726
FOR WHO'S BENEFIT?
Next Wednesday (16th) sees the first national day of action against the previous government’s flagship scheme to attack the unemployed, the Flexible New Deal (FND). Another word for this is ‘workfare’ – working for your benefits. Everyone on the scheme after six months has to work one month for their benefits – forcing them to do over thirty hours a week at a maximum of £1.60 an hour (less than a third of the minimum wage), without normal labour rights. Workfare schemes like the FND don’t create new jobs (apart from in the companies that run it!), they bring down wages and attack working conditions.
This was part of the first phase of FND with the second phase due to be rolled out in October – but now the Tories are in that’s all going to phased out and something very similar called ‘work programme’ brought in. FND will still run until next summer, and be piloted for six months in some areas. The ‘work programme’ is sure to involve workfare and will no doubt involve most of the same companies like A4E, Seetec, Serco and Working Links bidding for the contracts.
Groups all over the country involved in the No to Welfare Abolition network will be taking action on June 16th against the private companies who run this scheme to let them know that they will have a hard time making money from the FND and whatever replaces it. There will be demos in Brighton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Sunderland amongst others.
Recently Brighton Benefits Campaign have organised successful pickets outside the offices of the companies profiting from the FND in Brighton (see SchNEWS 715): Maximus, Skills Training UK and Careers Development Group. Unsurprisingly they don’t like the negative publicity this attracts because they know how fragile their operating margins are and what a shit service they provide. With payments based on performance these companies are vulnerable to attack. In Brighton meet 11am on June 16th outside Boots, Clocktower.
* See www.defendwelfare.org and http://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com