Union condemns slave labour community scheme

UNISON has joined a number of charities to condemn the government community work placements in its new Help to Work scheme, which began this week.

The new rules makes it compulsory for a long-term claimant to either do “intensive” coaching, meet an adviser every day, or carry out a community work placement for up to six months.

The community programme requires people to take on unpaid, community-based work experience of up to 30 hours each week.

“It is wrong for the government to use the voluntary and community sector to implement its punitive benefits regime,” commented UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis.

“Imposing slave labour schemes on the charity sector, while slashing budgets, will only encourage a reduction in the skilled voluntary and community work force.”

The move also ignored the good practice established in the sector, replacing experienced paid workers and genuine volunteers, Mr Prentis added.

“These schemes will do nothing to reduce unemployment or boost jobs and the economy.”

UNISON has signed up to the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign, whose signatories have agreed not to take part in government workfare schemes.

The union calls for paid work placements and apprenticeships, with decent training and skill development to guarantee long term employment opportunities.

Support the Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign

UNISON community sector