- Created: Monday, 21 December 2015 11:02
- Written by Dundee FRFI
Dundee Against Austerity, Dundee Revolutionary Communist Group, members of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network and Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty united in direct action against the notorious Learn Direct outfit which is financially rewarded by the Department of Work and Pensions for forcing welfare claimants to take up dubious work experience placements to keep their meagre benefits.
On 15 December 2015 Learn Direct's main office in the city was occupied by activists who have regularly campaigned at the Job Centres and picketed workfare companies, standing against a miserable system which uses the labour of the unemployed to run wealthy charities or boost the profits of multinational retailers like Tesco and Asda.
Despite denials from Learn Direct staff, evidence was easily provided by campaigners of the central involvement of the company in lining up claimants for shameless exploitation. Compulsory Work Placements are touted by Learn Direct and other contractors to be the means by which the unemployed can gain work experience to prepare for a return to employment. The reality is entirely different: hours repetitively spent pulling nails out of wooden pallets or steam ironing second hand clothes with little chance of employment at the end of the placement.
Towns and cities across Scotland, England and Wales are full of shops and companies where that compulsory labour is taking place. People in such dead end placements are not provided with information about their rights by the DWP or the firms involved: personal accident insurance, Health and Safety standards, union rights and proper support for vulnerable people are frequently lacking. Campaigners are determined to continue to expose and challenge this bullying exploitation supervised by this ruthless Tory government. The slogan is 'No to Workfare! Exploit Us and We'll Shut You Down!'