300+ #workfare exploiters in Greater Manchester, Named and Shamed

The DWP has released the names of 300 plus employers that host no-wage-work-for-benefits-only (workfare) placements in Greater Manchester (GM) and those that also exploit benefit claimants in GM and UK wide.

Extract of named and shamed list

| Royal Mail | Co- Op | Hyde Benefit Centre | Shopmobility | YMCA | Victoria Hotel | McDonald’s | B&Q | Adecco / Serco |Premier Inn | Hilton  | Manchester Dog Care Ltd | One MCR Housing Trust | Subway | Mind | GMW NHS |
Full list: View onlinedownload (pdf) [1]

But Work Experience (workfare) is voluntary, so what’s the problem?

With the exception of mandatory Community Benefit [2] work placements in the Work Programme for JSA and ESA claimants, it is true to say the DWP does not mandate unpaid work, like it did for Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) and Community Work Placements (CWP). However, under Universal Credit the “Secretary of State can mandate the claimant to apply for, attend & start a work experience placement as part of a work preparation requirement…” [3] under Section 16 (3)(e) of the Welfare Reform Act (2012).

These powers are used within the Youth Obligation (YO), when under the YO offer and unemployed for 6 months a claimant who ‘volunteers’ [4] to undertake a Work Experience placement as part of a Traineeship or a Sector based work academy, “will” get a sanction if “they fail to start, without good reason”. [5]

The above Youth Obligation example is the same sanction based workfare framework that led to mass widespread direction action and protests across the UK. Protests that led to the likes of Tesco and Waterstones to cease offering work-for-benefits-only work placements.

Whilst the contracts for MWA and CWP ended, after campaigning by Boycott Workfare et al, the DWP has simply expanded ‘voluntary’ workfare with 730,130+ zero wage work experience “starts” [6] and 27,800+ [7] unpaid work placements within Jobcentres and the DWP!

Latentexistence covered this topic in 2012, with ‘Mandatory unpaid work – the evidence‘ and I would recommend watching the Channel 4 interview with the then Employment Minister Chris Grayling, as they highlight how Work Experience is not “entirely voluntary” [8] when sanctions are integral.

Related

Footnotes

[1] ‘Work Experience Opportunities
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/work_experience_opportunities_2#outgoing-801814

[2] Work Programme provider guidance
Chapter 3c: work experience and community benefit work placement
Community Benefit work placement referral
5. You can decide as appropriate to mandate suitable  JSA and ESA participants
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/work-programme-dwp-provider-guidance

[3]  ‘Chapter K5 : Low–level sanctions’ – Advice for Decision Makers
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/advice-for-decision-making-staff-guide

[4] 660+ charitable organisations have signed the ‘Keep Volunteering VoluntaryKeep Volunteering Voluntary‘ agreement not to host any DWP work-for-benefits-only workfare placements.

[5] Participating in a sbwa

K5066 … “Whilst their decision to take part in the work experience
placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected to start. If
they fail to start, without good reason a sanction will apply”

Traineeships

K5069 … “Whilst their decision to take part in the work
experience placement is voluntary, if they agree to a placement they will be expected
to start. If they fail to start for no good reason a sanction will apply”

K5123 … Although participation in work experience is voluntary, the Secretary of State can mandate the claimant to apply for, attend & start a work experience placement as
part of a work preparation requirement. If the claimant fails to
1. attend the initial interview
or
2. start
the work experience, a low-level sanction could apply if the claimant cannot show a
good reason for the failure. However, if the claimant leaves or loses a work
experience placement no sanction can apply unless the claimant is dismissed or
loses the place due to gross misconduct (see K5 124). However, see the guidance
on Youth Obligation claimants at K5 062 et seq”
‘Chapter K5 : Low–level sanctions’ – Advice for Decision Makers

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/720679/admk5.pdf

[6] https://twitter.com/mrfrankzola/status/1028696399377063939

[7] https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/there-have-been-27800-unpaid-work-placements-within-jobcentres-and-the-dwp/

[8]  Charter Against Workfare

A Statement of Principles

For any workplace based scheme for benefit claimants

“First, it must be entirely voluntary.

Secondly, there should be real training so that people go away at the end with skills that are relevant to their future employment prospects.

Thirdly, those concerned must have employee status so that they are protected by health and safety and equal opportunities legislation.

Fourthly, they must be paid the rate for the job—not benefit-plus—and,

finally, projects must have trade union approval.”

Unemployment
Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:11 pm on 14th December 1987.

Labour Joins Chorus of protest over workfareLabour protest over workfare 1988.png
The Glasgow Herald – Jan 8, 1988

More: https://mrfrankzola.wordpress.com/charter/

Join Boycott Workfare‘s campaign against forced-unpaid-labour and sign up to Keep Volunteering Voluntary.