Anti-Workfare Protest at Homes for Haringey board, Tues 4 June, 6pm

Homes for Haringey

June 4, 2013

Homes for HaringeyHomes for Haringey is the borough’s arms-length management organisation, set up to manage council housing. Tenants on their estates have found out that local unemployed people are being forced to work on their estates for no pay and with no workplace rights.
Come along for a protest Tues 4 June, 6pm at the Homes for Haringey Board of Directors meeting at the Haringey Council Professional Development Centre, Downhills Park Road, N17 6AR.  (see map) (5 minutes walk from Turnpike Lane tube. Bus W4. or see map for full directions )

Groundwork, a national registered charity working in partnership with Haringey Council, has been using the Government’s workfare scheme – in which unemployed people are forced to work with no pay or workplace rights – to maintain some Homes For Haringey estate gardens.
Initially Homes for Haringey denied any involvement with workfare, but after a recent Freedom of Information request they have now acknowledged that 27 people on the Work Programme (one of the Workfare schemes) have been used to maintain HfH gardens.  Job Seekers have been sanctioned for refusing to work for no pay under the Groundwork workfare scheme, losing all entitlement to benefits for several weeks.
Two years ago a third of Haringey Council parks department gardeners were made redundant. They used to maintain all the Council estate gardens.  It is unacceptable that these paid jobs are now being replaced with unpaid labour.  People should be paid a living wage for the job they are asked to do.  Poverty levels are already very high in Tottenham, being forced to work for no pay just makes things worse. 
Why should people be forced to work for no pay?
The government has handed millions to private companies to administer these Workfare schemes, supposedly to save money by helping people to find jobs.  But the reality is:
Workfare does NOT get people into jobs. A recent government report found that just 3.5% of people on Workfare actually find paid employment lasting more than 6 months (and many of those would have found work anyway).  The government then handed yet more money to scheme providers, which shows that Workfare is about driving down wages and subsidising the private sector.
Workfare affects ALL of us.  There are currently about 18 people chasing every job in Tottenham. Workfare placements replace REAL vacancies, taking away genuine paid jobs, so forcing more people to rely on benefits.
Under workfare schemes unemployed people have to work for nothing or they face sanctions meaning loss of ALL benefits!
There is a growing movement of opposition to the Workfare scheme, and in response a number of companies have quit the programme. 
Homes for Haringey is wholly owned by Haringey Council to manage its housing.  The Council declared its opposition to Workfare schemes and it should put an immediate stop to the use of Workfare in the borough. 
What you can do:
  • Come to the protest to challenge the board members, including local councillors, on the use of workfare.
  • Contact Homes for Haringey. Let them know what you think about their use of unpaid workers. Email or call 020 8489 4337
  • Get in touch with Haringey Solidarity Group or North London Solidarity Federation if you have seen Groundwork carrying out parks maintenance, or other work previously done by paid staff.
  • Haringey Council have a commitment to pay their staff a London Living Wage.  The five councillors below all sit on the Homes for Haringey board. Contact the councillors to speak to them about Homes for Haringey’s use of workfare.
Cllr Ed Butcher
Cllr Isidoros Diakides
Cllr Joseph Ejiofor
Cllr Juliet Solomon
Cllr Anne Stennett
Workfare is immoral and unjust
North London Solidarity Federation    07811 017 091
Haringey Solidarity Group    0845 223 5270
You can also find out a lot more information about workfare from :
Boycott Workfare

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