As a whole week’s gone by without any thing new on the website (we have done stuff, we’ve just been too busy to write about it) the last post on the site was about stuff to do last Saturday. To avoid confusion, and because there’s plenty of stuff to do tomorrow, it seemed appropriate to pop this here.
This might become a regular feature. It might not. It largely depends on whether or not a pub comes ‘twixt work and home. Look for it but it’s probably unwise to count on it.
12.00pm, Goodge Street station
Tomorrow brings the start of a week of action against Workfare, the government scheme (initiated by Labour, taken to a whole new level by the Coalition) which gives large companies free labour at the taxpayer’s expense. The idea seems fair enough: giving work experience to long term unemployed people. Unfortunately the practice is far less altruistic.
- Companies are using Workfare for free labour. One example is Argos who have admitted that they use JSA claimants forced on to Workfare to help cover their busiest periods. This reduces employment opportunities for potential new staff, reduces the overtime their low-paid existing staff rely on and reducing their wage bill while the taxpayer carries on paying the claimant’s benefits. Argos are far from alone.
- More taxpayer’s money goes to the organisations which arrange Workfare placements.
- Workfare has been shown not to work. Reports from the United States say it doesn’t work and even the DWP’s own research ((http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/jun/13/mandatory-work-scheme-government-research)) says that it doesn’t work.
Two years in to the Coalition government it’s getting difficult to put this in context without sounding like a broken record but the context is important:
The government is targeting benefit claimants at a time when their own policies are ensuring there are few jobs available. They are trumpeting small decreases in unemployment while neglecting to mention that many of the jobs people can find are part time, low paid and temporary. They are attacking employment rights, and soon are going to attack the facilities of the trade union reps who fight for employees, while allowing up to £120bn in tax to go evaded, avoided or uncollected. Workfare is part of their programme of attacking the weakest to prop up the richest.
Anyway, I digress.
This week’s action, largely organised by the Solidarity Federation and Boycott Workfare, kick off this Saturday, with many actions in London and across Britain.
We’ll be at the action in Central London. Assemble at Goodge Street station, 12.00. Our initial target, Holland and Barrett, have pulled out of Workfare, citing the protests as their main reason, so this stuff really does work.
For information about actions tomorrow and during the rest of the week visit the Boycott Workfare site: National Week of Action Against Workfare
You can read more about Boycott Workfare on this site, including our statement of support, here: http://pcseuston.org.uk/?s=boycott+workfare
Assemble 10.15 – 11.00 for march, PCS Proud stall in Trafalgar Square later
Probably the most important event in the UK LGBT (Lesbian, gay, Bisexual and Transgender) calendar. World Pride, held in central London, is a celebration of how far we’ve come with LGBT equality and a symbol to those who can’t hold such an event that things can get better. Although it’s been cut down a lot this year thanks to budget issues it still promises to be a fantastic day.
On a personal level I can honestly say that I’ve been relatively lucky: when I’ve come out to friends they’ve accepted me, I’ve only experienced one incidence of homophobia at work and have only been victim of one homophobic assault. That might not sound too great but I know how much worse it could have been. Homosexuality was illegal in the UK until 1967. That the primary issue kicking around at the moment is gay marriage is testament to how far we’ve come. Help celebrate it!
PCS Proud are joining the parade and will have a stall in Trafalgar Square later.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. Look for the Red Section (near the front) which is from Fitzhardinge Street up to George Street (near Portman Square – nearest tubes are Bond Street and Marble Arch).
For more information about PCS Proud, and to join, visit the website: http://pcsproud,org.uk
Croydon Folk and Blues Festival
12.00pm – 11.00pm, Ruskin House, Croydon
If you want something for the family that’s not too political you could do worse than pop along to the Croydon Folk and Blues festival. It’s only three quid, is for a good cause and has loads of family friendly stuff going on. More details here: Ruskin House Events
Thanks to Keith Johnston, PCS London & South East Regional Secretary, for additional info.