I really thought that the Salvation Army in the UK did a lot of good, on balance, despite my antipathy to religion and religious organisations. Their involvement with workfare has finished off any residual respect I had for them.
The government doesn’t like the word “workfare”, and neither does the Sally Ann, They always talk about the people who are forced onto these schemes, with a withdrawal of benefits as punishment for not complying, as volunteers, which is adding insult to injury when the only alternative is “volunteering” to starve, or freeze, or go homeless. Or all three.
All this is bad enough for people who have just left school, many of whom may have families to support them, but it’s often older people, who have worked for decades and don’t need “work experience”, who are placed on these schemes, and the government have extended the scope of workfare to include disabled people, with the added sting that their placement can be indefinite. If the “volunteer” doesn’t turn up for any reason, such as a vital hospital appointment, they can lose all their benefits.
Even workfare for younger, fitter people is detrimental to society though, as it depresses wages. Why would an employer pay decent wages, when they can use free labour? In fact, why pay wages at all?
An organisation that claims to work for the greater good should not have any involvement with workfare, and quibbling about the name won’t persuade your opponents.
- Workfare Picket Report – End Unpaid Labour At Poundland (gogwit.wordpress.com)
- Salvation Army denies existence of Workfare scheme it participates in (no – not satire) (tompride.wordpress.com)
- Is workfare close to godliness? Some Christian charities seem to believe so | Sarah Ditum (guardian.co.uk)