The call-out for the Lewisham action stated: 'The government and some in the media present it as a way of encouraging people back into work by gaining experience. This ignores two things – first, there are not enough jobs available for those who want them; and second, workfare placements themselves are taking jobs away from paid workers. We have no problem with people learning while working – this used to be called apprenticeships. But workfare tells the unemployed that they will lose their benefit if they do not work for their it. In every other context the minimum wage applies, so why not here?'.
Nick Turner, Branch Secretary GMB Goldsmith’s student workers branch said; 'The government work programme forces mandatory work onto job seekers with multi-billion pound profit making companies who can otherwise more than afford to pay their staff. The government have denied that benefit claimants are forced into their work but it has become clear that those refusing to work for free are being told their benefits will be stopped if they do not take part.This is not only completely unfair on the individual but also depresses the job market - why would a company employ a paid member of staff if they can get them from the dole for free and without a fuss? We are calling on Goldsmiths students and Lewisham residents to fight for the revolutionary concept that if when you work, you should get paid for it. As the old slogan has it “a fair days work deserves a fair day's pay"'.