The benefits system in the guise of ‘Universal Credit’ is going through another chaotic and brutal transition phase – the roll out of ‘full service/live service’. On the 13th December IWW Cymru members decided to get outside the job centre in Swansea to meet our fellow workers and claimants (current and future) to build links and share ideas for surviving, and ultimately thriving.
The cold was biting but the rains lifted on the day and the sun shined down on us. We met lots of people who shared stories, asked questions and expressed interest in joining up with like minded people to fight the changes. A wide range of concerns were expressed on the day reflecting the dire impact that the roll out of Universal Credit is having on our communities. The key recurring themes were:
- Being removed from an existing benefit – to some that had already happened
- Fear of any change of circumstance
- Worries about the blanket nature of Universal Credit not taking into account peoples unique situation
- Being fed up with groups petitioning MPs and getting nothing done
- How to look after children whilst working as single parents
- A degree of hopelessness about things changing
- Broader concerns about Brexit, homelessness and local projects were brought up too
How can we change things?
On the day, we shared the tried and tested IWW approach – of real change through solidarity and direct action – which succeeded in showing that there are other ways to change our material circumstances, whilst building for broader change, that all seemed to acknowledge was desperately needed.
IWW Cymru recognises that Universal Credit is a threat to our communities and reflective of the disdain that those in power hold for us. We acknowledge that we as a community need to fight back, by organising collectively and supporting each other, and is in the process of rebooting SGINT – our claimants union section – and are keen to continue outreach and building strength within our community.
It is only through joining together and standing united as a community that we can work to prevent the powers that be from further eroding the ties that bind us together and make us strong.
Are you impacted by Universal Credit? Are you fed up with the empty words of politicians who mean so well but effect so little? Do you want to join with others to fight back?
If so – join us, and together we can show them we will not take this lying down!
SGINT Claimants Union – https://www.facebook.com/sgint/
IWW Cymru – https://iww.org.uk/cymru/