By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:
Thursday 7th May 2015
Campaigners attack Christian charity’s exploitation of jobless
A CHRISTIAN charity tried yesterday to justify its use of free labour carried out by jobseekers who face cruel welfare sanctions if they do not comply with repressive rules.
The Salvation Army glossed over the poverty inflicted by jobcentres stopping the benefits of people who rely on them to buy necessities while looking for paid employment.
Campaigners have challenged the religious charity — one of the few, including the YMCA, that still uses compulsory unpaid placements — to reconsider its role in “workfare” schemes introduced in 2011 by the Con-Dem coalition.
A man, whose doctor ordered him not to return to a Salvation Army charity shop after contracting scabies there, was sanctioned for two months by the Department of Work and Pensions, according to the Boycott Workfare group.
Another claimant was told to work in a Salvation Army shop against his wishes, although he had a serious spinal injury that was made worse by homelessness and lack of rest.
Despite suffering pain, anxiety and the side-effects of strong painkillers, the man worked while in fear of losing benefits and going hungry, Boycott Workfare said.
Last Saturday, campaigners demonstrated outside the charity’s headquarters with banners displaying bible quotes such as “The labourer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7) and “Woe to him that useth his neighbour’s services without wages” (Jeremiah 22:13).
The Salvation Army claims that it offers a vital service in getting long-term unemployed people back into work and seeks to support people with “complex needs.”
Its employment services director Helen Robinson said that the charity would be “concerned” if its placements were turned down.
“We don’t want jobseekers to lose their benefits, so would want to work with any individual to identify why they have reservations or problems with us, and to address them,” she said.
However, organisations benefiting from free labour have no influence over whether a claimant has their payments stopped for weeks — or sometimes even up to three years.
One in five jobseekers are sanctioned before even starting placements due to childcare or health problems, according to Corporate Watch, and so would not be free to discuss working for no pay.
Unpaid placements also dupe voters into thinking that the government is cutting unemployment, as those on workfare are counted as “employed” in Office of National Statistics (ONS) data.