On the 15th July Unite Community Portsmouth and District will be lobbying the council against workfare at 11am outside the Guildhall in central Portsmouth. There will be a deputation at the full council meeting and a protest making a stand against this outrageous practice.
The council have already used people on workfare to replace staff made redundant. Unite Community had a meeting with previous council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson noting extreme concern that paid workers were being replaced with involuntary labour. Unite Community’s Lisa Fletcher said “People forced on these schemes have already complained to the Unite Liaison Officer that they were doing menial and demeaning tasks such as buttering bread for hours on end. How this enables them to get relative work experience is beyond me. It’s exploitation of the poor and vulnerable pure and simple”
Unlike many major businesses and some other councils who have now withdrawn from using workfare after activist actions and campaigns, Portsmouth City Council have just increased staff on the scheme that administers placements in order to increase forced, unpaid working at the council. This is not acceptable. All work deserves to be paid at a level which people can be expected to live decently.
It’s an absolute disgrace that in one of the richest countries in the world public services are being carried out by people on derisory benefit payments. All staff should be paid a living wage as a minimum.
Join the protest. Guildhall Sq, Portsmouth. 15th July 11am.