What is workfare?

DWP – “workfare activities are sometimes referred to as ‘unpaid work experience’, ‘community service’ or ‘work for benefits’”
Source: DWP Research Report No 533 ‘A comparative review of workfare programmes in the United States, Canada and Australia’ – (2008)

Boycott Workfare – “a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare” (website) – “Campaign to abolish forced unpaid labour” (twitter)

Keep Volunteering Voluntary – “Workfare is the name given to government schemes where unemployed and disabled people have to work in return for their benefits.” (website) – “Keep it Voluntary Promoting the Keep Volunteering Voluntary agreement in the voluntary sector. For volunteering, against workfare” (twitter)

Welfare Reform Act (2009)
“Work for your benefit” schemes etc.

Welfare Reform Act (2012) – Universal Credit
Section 16 Work preparation requirement

(3) (e) undertaking work experience or a work placement

Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013
…the programme known as the Community Action Programme
(See ‘Community Work Programme’)
…(a) the Mandatory Work Activity Scheme, or
(b) a placement described as Mandatory Work Activity.

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.”

Hansard: Clare Short MP – 14th December 1987

Workfare States

“Contemporary workfare policies rarely involve job creation on any significant scale, along the lines of the old-fashioned public-works programs; they are more concerned with deterring welfare claims and necessitating the acceptance of low-paid, unstable jobs in the context of increasingly “flexible” labour markets. Stripped down to it’s labour-regulatory essence, workfare is not about creating jobs for people that don’t have them; it is about creating workers for jobs that nobody wants. In a Foucauldian sense, it is seeking to make “docile bodies” for the new economy: flexible, self-reliant and self-disciplining”

Source: Jamie Peck in Workfare States (2001)

Work camps and the training of the unemployed in Britain before 1939 (pdf)
> Why workfare doesn’t work – by author of labour camp book

Download: https://refutedarchive.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/the-future-of-workfare-in-england/

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