Stop “back to work” profiteers!
Actions against Flexible New Deal
Local Kentish Town & DWP targets for the day:
10-11am outside A4e Insight at 55-57 Holmes Road NW5 3AN. A4e Insight is the “research and consultancy” arm of A4e -- pushing privatisation of public services.
11.30-12.30 outside Jobcentre Plus,178 Kentish Town Road NW5 2BN
2.30pm Delegation arriving at the Department for Work and Pensions -- arranged by Hackney Unemployed Workers group. Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, SW1A 2NS. Westminster
Defend our entitlement to Income Support & other benefits - we’re NOT “workless”
Under the Flexible New Deal (Work Programme), private companies have been given £500 million in handouts to make us compete for non-existent jobs. Pathways to Work programme for disabled people, a £798m scheme to help those on incapacity benefits to get a job, has been exposed by the National Audit Office as "poor value for money".
People unemployed for 12 months are expected to spend a month working up to 30 hours a week for their benefit, equivalent to £1.60 an hour -- less than one third of the minimum wage Income Support, the main benefit to recognise mothers’ unwaged caring work, is being abolished. Mums and other carers are being forced into jobseeking as soon as their youngest child reaches 10 (age 7 from October) Sick and disabled people are being found fit for work – even with terminal cancer Most who get ESA, which replaces incapacity benefits, must do “work-related activity” or lose benefit Asylum seekers were first to be made destitute. They are not allowed to work and last year, their subsistence was cut to £5 a day. In detention, they work for £1 a day. Prisoners get £2 a week full-time, packing nails for Wickes DIY In Ireland, Child Benefit has been cut by 10%, and other welfare cuts are being railroaded through.
A4e chief executive Emma Harrison is reputedly “worth” £40 million. She bought herself a stately home on the proceeds of government contracts
A4e (Action for Employment) is paid up to £194 per client per week of taxpayers’ money for each claimant referred to them by the Jobcentre. In June 2009, Channel 4 News highlighted fraud by A4e and Working Links, such as falsifying attendances to meet targets. Temporary or casual jobs leave people in worse situations when they suddenly end, but companies still earn commission on these. “Adviser” David Blunkett MP gets £30,000 pa. from A4e.
"The fraud uncovered is scandalous and is a stark example of what happens when profits rather than people are put at the heart of the welfare state.” Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary (Jobcentre staff union)
CLAIMANTS SPEAK OUT…
“If I was in waged work I would have to leave suddenly when my daughter was ill – not a lot of jobs let you do that. I’m already working caring for my child but now they are asking me to do paid work on top, which is devastating and exhausting. How would my daughter feel knowing that I was no longer able to be there for her?” S, single mother & carer for disabled child
“Asylum seekers, some who only have supermarket vouchers, have invisible disabilities, and are very ill and need to go to hospital but don’t have the money to get there.”
J, All African Women’s Group
“I was a nervous wreck. You don’t know who you are anymore …. It took me three months to find somewhere to live. No way could I have got a job ...” M, survivor of domestic violence, Women Against Rape
‘If they cut our benefits you’d find more of us working in more out-of-the-way places. That’s terrifying.’ J, English Collective of Prostitutes
“As a mother on Income Support with an 11-month-old son, I am being forced to attend a compulsory ‘Work Focused Group Information Session’. If I don’t go I face losing my benefits.” JH, breastfeeding mother
“When I found the note from the Jobcentre under my door, I felt fear, panic and distress. If the people I thought were there to help worked against me, there was no point in going on.’ X, woman with mental health problems on Employment and Support Allowance
“Life is very stressful. I live on cornmeal, biscuits, sugar, skimmed milk and a little butter and cheap cheese. I am selling any small personal belongings I can, and when I need money for heating I must beg from people.” J, seeking asylum
“They want to bring wages down by forcing more people to chase scarce jobs and allow employers to bypass the minimum wage. Single mothers and pregnant women are being targeted. Christelle Pardo jumped to her death with her baby son in her arms. A single mother, she was cut off JSA and refused Income Support. How many more destitute mothers will be driven to desperate actions OR HAVE OUR CHILDREN TAKEN AWAY?” Kim Sparrow, Single Mothers’ Self-Defence
“So much for Minister Jim Murphy’s 2006 assurance that for disabled people on ESA, job-seeking or training would stay voluntary. Now we are being forced into unsuitable training, low-paid jobs or begging.” Claire Glasman, WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)
“Motherhood is one of the most demanding and energy-consuming jobs there is. The relationship between a child and a mother is the root from which all human interaction springs.” Sheila Kitzinger, childbirth expert
“It’s vital that the government are prevented from committing this social atrocity.” Oliver James, child psychologist, author of Affluenza and Guardian columnist.
“Our supporters are using their child benefit to feed their children, to pay for childcare, to pay the ‘voluntary’ contributions to schools, and thousands of other child-related expenses from nappies to school books.” Treasa Dovander, PACUB -- Protest Against Child Unfriendly Budget, Ireland
What we can do:
Protest at A4e and JSA offices.
Write to the local press saying how your family & community are affected. Is there any waged work that fits with your caring responsibilities or other circumstances? Have you had benefits cut off? What are the hidden costs of going out to work? What is the care/childcare like, and how do your children feel? How do you pay for it? How do employers treat you?
Write to your local councillors, MP, Ministers & Lords. Tell them what’s happening.
Get professionals to raise concerns – health visitors, teachers…
Defend your entitlement. Single mothers and other claimants can say no. On Mothers Day, mothers marched down Whitehall demanding recognition for all caring work.
Know your rights with all benefits – complain about rules which ignore your situation.
For information and to campaign against these cuts we want to meet you. We can help to spread your news. Contact:
Single Mothers’ Self-Defence email@example.com or
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
Tel: 020 7482 2496 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Women’s Strike email@example.com
Legal Action for Women firstname.lastname@example.org
Co-ordinator of Global Women's Strike
Quoted in NY Times Op-Ed: Pay People to Cook at Home!
Speaking at The Life and Legacy of C.L.R. James Conference
In the Guardian: From welfare to wages, women fight back against the uncaring market
More Guardian articles
Listen to speak in Ireland: "How can women defeat austerity?"
Other countries we work with (so far...)
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Sojourner Truth website
UK Fri 17th May 13
Letter to The Guardian reporting on launch of petition 'Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.'UK Thu 16th May 13
Messages of support to launch of petition Invest in a caring society. A living wage for mothers and other carers.UK Thu 16th May 13
Mon 13th May 13
USA Sat 11th May 13