Portsmouth Trades Council endorsed the campaign against workfare at its monthly meeting last night. It also agreed to support the protest in at 11am on Saturday 3 March, by the fountain in Commercial Rd, Portsmouth.

Chair of the Trades Council, Mick Tosh said,

“Workfare puts real paid jobs at risk as employers will try to take advantage of cheap labour. Instead of cutting jobs and forcing people to work for free, the government should help create jobs that pay the going rate.”

Under pressure from campaigners, the Government has agreed to remove the threat of cutting benefits from one of its workfare schemes, Work Experience. But four other workfare schemes remain;

§  Mandatory Work Activity
§  The work Programme
§  Community Action Programme
§  Sector-based Work Academies

They are all compulsory.

Unemployment is at 2.67 million and the TUC has suggested the real rate could over 6 million. 500-600,000 public sector jobs are under threat over the next 5 years. In a clear sign that the government intends to use workfare to replace the gaps left in public services, the provider guidelines for the Community Action Programme suggest that a community placement would be appropriate at Local Authorities, Government Departments and Agencies, Charities and third sector organisations, Social enterprises and environmental

PCS represents staff that work for the DWP and support the campaign. General Secretary Mark Serwotka said,

“The campaigns against workfare are exposing the true nature of these schemes that are providing a pool of free labour for big businesses that could afford to pay proper wages.

“Instead of exploiting our young people and seeking to blame them for mass unemployment, the government should be helping to create long-term paid jobs and training to get people off benefits and into meaningful work.”

For more information about the campaign and the employers using workfare go to http://www.boycottworkfare.org

For further information contact;

Louis MacDonald (PTC Secretary) on 07940 503634 or at louismacdonald@ntlworld.com

Mick Tosh (PTC Chair) on 07900 877720

Jon Woods (PTC Media Officer) on 07921 775828



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