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Welfare Not Workfare meeting at parliament on Tuesday

Location: UK » London » SW

There was an extremely productive and useful meeting on Tuesday in parliament on “Welfare not Workfare” which was organised by the LRC in conjunction with DPAC and Boycott Workfare.

My task was to chair the meeting.

Speakers included Boycott Workfare, Adam from DPAC, John McInally (PCS Vice President) and John McDonnell MP.

There was an exchanging of ideas, views, activities and so on, which was positive. As I was chairing, I didn’t take copious notes, which I usually do. But the statistics, attacks and experiences from participants highlighted and exposed the continuing onslaught by the ConDems on the welfare state.

I was angry listening to the experiences of the Boycott Workfare speaker regards to the workfare scheme. It made me admire the speaker’s courage and determination as it is not an easy thing to do speaking out. For me, it is important and integral to the movement that we give a platform to the people who on a daily basis face the cruel, vicious and callousness of welfare reforms. Workfare is an attack on ALL workers, driving down pay and conditions. And it’s a trade union issue.It is estimated that £6m is lost due to unpaid wages in regards to workfare. Private corporations lining their collective pockets with profit at the expense of jobs.

The attacks on welfare benefits, as John McInally pointed out the constant hate crimes towards people on disability benefits, the vilification and demonisation; from being patronised as “poor dear” to condemned as a “benefit cheat”, will only get worse (see Lancet research here).

Private companies hovering up public money, allegations of fraud and so on. Shoddy and appalling “support” and “advice” given claimants. Private companies are no substitute for the public sector. Atos is not fit for purpose, the trial by computer package is shrouded in secrecy and people winning appeals on a regular basis. There are backlogs regarding appeals regarding Atos and DLA decisions (mine took nearly 7 months which is quick in comparison).

There was a good discussion and exchanging of ideas about where we were in campaigning and activism, which also included the importance of direct action.

During the past month or so, the spotlight has fallen on companies who use workfare schemes which has caused major outrage. We need to keep this pressure up.

I compiled a email list to continue the exchanging of ideas/protests/campaigning and so. If you want to be on this list leave a comment on my blog http://harpymarx.wordpress.com, or email me at louisefeminista@btinternet.com

Crossposted from Louise Whittle’s harpymarx blog: http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/welfare-not-workfare-report/

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