Category Archives: Unemployment

Dozens of disabled Kingstonians wrongly rejected for benefits

From the Kingston Guardian.

Dozens of disabled people have overturned wrong decisions to cut their benefits.

More than 57 people successfully appealed against the decision not to grant them disability living allowance last year.

Disability campaigner Jane Young, from New Malden, blamed the perception of disabled people costing the country too much for the number of rejected claims.

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Kingston Right to Work shuts down workfare stores again

By Richard Donnelly.


About twenty activists congregated in Kingston town centre today to take on companies that are still involved in the government’s “workfare schemes”. Buoyed by the success of the recent protests in forcing company after company to pull out of the schemes, and by the government’s concessions over one of the programmes, they targeted high street shops that continue to use welfare claimants as unpaid labour.

The demonstration was organised by Kingston Right to Work, and hit McDonald’s first, where activists made speeches explaining that, though Chris Grayling, the employment minister, had given the multibillion pound company £10 million to create jobs, they had not used the money to open a single new position.

Wilkinson’s was next, where police and security guards had to lock one of the doors to stop the store being occupied. Shoppers were turned away as the protesters made the case that no one should buy goods from a shop that uses forced, free labour. As the demonstrators headed towards McDonalds, one of the union reps from the shop congratulated the protest for its work, explaining that workfare was being used to undermine the pay and confidence of retail workers.

Demonstrators were angry not only about the crude way in which the government wants to use unemployed people to drive down wage bills for massive companies, but also the attacks on benefit claimants being made in the media and by Tory politicians. Speaking outside Superdrug – which has suspended involvement in workfare, but not pulled out of the scheme completely – one protestor said, “Chris Grayling, the employment minister, calls unemployed people scroungers – but he claimed public money to pay his rent for a flat in Pimlico, even though he owns two in Wimbledon and one in Epsom. The real scroungers are in parliament.”

Kingston Right to Work resolved to keep up its campaign against workfare and continue shutting down stores until the schemes collapse. Members of the group will attending the Austerity and Resistance conference next Sunday to plan their campaign against the Tory attack on benefits and the welfare state.

Kingston activists shut down slave labour stores

By Richard Donnelly.

Activists shut down McDonalds in Kingston

Unemployed people, students and low paid workers took to the streets of Kingston last night to protest against the workfare scheme, which forces unemployed workers to work for their benefits. The action was called by Right to Work, and was joined by members of the Kingston Anti-Cuts Group.

About thirty activists met at Kingston train station to target shops that use unpaid labour. They went on to occupy Tesco, MacDonalds, Boots, TopShop and Primark in central Kingston. Disabled and unemployed people made speeches denouncing workfare as slave labour, and slamming the Welfare Reform Bill, which will force disabled and terminally ill people off Disability Living Allowance and into low-paid work or workfare programmes.

The protestors were applauded by people on their way home from work, and were warmly welcomed by on looking pensioners and workers, who were given leaflets about the workfare scheme. Schoolkids and other passing young people joined the protest, chanting “the Tories stole our EMA, but we won’t work for JSA.”

Campaigners are angry that the schemes mean that retail chains don’t have to pay people to work for them and that young people are being forced to do 40 hour weeks in low-skilled jobs for only £53 a week. The workfare scheme is an attack on the unemployed and on trade union organisation.

The government claims that the scheme helps unemployed people back into work, but actually it just decreases the amount of paid jobs available. It undermines the confidence of retail workers to fight for better pay and conditions, because unemployed people can be forced to work the same jobs for 30% of the minimum wage.

Right to work have called a new protest against firms that use unpaid labour, and will be back on the streets at 1pm, Saturday 3rd March. Meet at the top of Kingston High Street, at the junction with Eden Street, outside Starbucks.

Workfare, no way!
Make the greedy bosses pay!

16% of children in Kingston live below the poverty line

From Surrey Comet.

Campaigners have revealed 16 per cent of children in Kingston and Surbiton live below the poverty line.

Figures for child poverty across the country have been released as part of a campaign by End Child Poverty in a bid to raise awareness of the poor condition suffered in communities across the UK.

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Nineteen applications for every job…

From Kingston Guardian

An avalanche of more than 1,500 job applications have been received by  Kingston’s John Lewis for 80 temporary Christmas positions.

The town centre shop has been snowed under by the volume of applications, for which there are 19 to every available position.

The flagship Kingston store received 1,200 applications for 80 Christmas jobs in 2010.

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