This week London IWW branch overwhelmingly decided to support a campaign by the London Coalition Against Poverty (LCAP) against the introduction of a new ‘work for welfare’ scheme proposed by the government. In doing so, London IWW members will refuse to comply with this new scheme, which is expected to be piloted in the London borough of Hackney over the coming year.
The Welfare Reform Act was passed, unsurprisingly, by the government last month, and proposes the introduction of draconian measures for benefit claimants, including:
- Forced labour in menial, unsociable jobs for unemployment benefits, amounting to as little as £1.73 per hour
- Privatisation of Jobcentre Plus to companies who will be paid more, the less benefits they give
- Reduction of income support for single parents
- Phasing-out of carers’ allowances
- Greater powers for the Police to hold information on claimants
This is an attack on all working class people. Not only is it punishing those unable to find employment, the ‘workfare’ system of compulsory labour will undercut existing workers’ pay, forcing wages even lower across the board. While bosses and governments continue to award themselves and each other ‘golden handshakes’ when they are ousted in disgrace for embezzlement, fraud and incompetency, they are now trying to punish working class people for their own inept management.
London IWW members have vowed to refuse to participate in these new schemes, and the branch has vowed to support its members 100% in their non-compliance. “Bosses and politicians call these changes ‘modernisation’, because usually people see no point in resisting them,” London Branch Secretary noted. “But when we fight back through direct action on the job and on the street, the ‘modernisation’ myth is shattered, and their Dickensian brutality is exposed. We need to remember that this isn’t a badminton match – it is a war, between working class people who want a decent quality of life, and those who make money out of us. This is class war, and we should treat it as such”.
For more information on the Welfare Reform Act and how to fight it, visit www.lcap.org.uk or email londoncoalitionagainstpoverty(at)gmail.com.