Two workfare exploiters shut down in Edinburgh


By Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty Saturday March 23rd 2013 19.00 


Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty

Anti workfare demonstrators shut down British Heart Foundation and Salvation Army shops in Edinburgh on Saturday 23rd March.  

The actions, part of the Britain-wide Week of Action against the Government’s compulsory work-for-your-benefits schemes, targeted two charities who have persisted in exploiting the unemployed, sick and disabled through workfare. 

People converged on the large British Heart Foundation store at the Kirkgate shopping centre, Leith at 12 noon.  

After displaying banners and placards against forced labour, protestors entered the BHF store.   

Police, already in the store, hustled them out, but the management immediately locked the doors, closing the shop for business on the busiest day of the week.

ecap 2

Demonstrators immediately blockaded the entrance, holding a huge banner proclaiming IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN right across the only door into the shop.  

The shop stayed closed for almost an hour and a half, despite a growing police presence.   

Braving freezing conditions demonstrators spent over two hours distributing hundreds of leaflets against workfare and gathering names for the Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty solidarity network.  

Greater Leith Against the Cuts also participated in the 30 – 40 strong demo, giving out information on the anti cuts battle and in particular on next Saturday’s anti bedroom tax march. 


The Slavation Army
The Slavation Army

Meanwhile a contingent of the protestors, unseen by the police, filtered away and then reappeared to picket the nearby Salvation Army charity shop on Leith Walk. This shop too shut down, giving the anti workfare action a double success. 

British Heart Foundation are notorious for their use of workfare, both locally and Britain-wide. Recently they had claimed to be “moving away” from workfare, and announced they had pulled out of the Mandatory Work Activity scheme.

But their website still proclaims their active participation in the Work Programme, through which not only unemployed people but also the sick and disabled are compelled to work for nothing, under threat of benefits sanctions.

The Salvation Army openly embrace workfare.  In Edinburgh they take conscripts ordered onto Mandatory Work Activity through provider JHP. 

They have defended forcing the sick and disabled to work for nothing by proclaiming they believe in

“emancipation through employment”,

reminiscent of the

“Work makes Free”

slogan of one A.Hitler.   

Today’s action in Edinburgh was also in solidarity with the demonstrators in London who were attacked by Salvation Army security earlier in the week of action. 

A spokesperson for ECAP said:

“Today’s action was a great success. The British Heart Foundation, the Salvation Army and all workfare exploiters need to realise that if they go on exploiting us, we will be back to shut them down.” 

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty

Greater Leith Against the Cuts

Photos up on ecap site and facebook soon


14 thoughts on “Two workfare exploiters shut down in Edinburgh

  1. robertchewter says:

    well done all !!!! bout time these people were made to see sense..
    can i at this point draw your attention to a bit of hypocracy on the salvation army??

    on their website it shows a group of panellist all going on about workfare and how great it is etc..on that panel is Lord Fraud (freud) all agreeing together like he’s their best mate or something..but then..oh no !!! not long after that a letter written to the same Lord Fraud was about how the housing benefit cap was seriously going to affect lots and lots of people..the letter was signed by quite a few homeless charity organisations and can you guess who was amongst those that signed?? yep the salvation army no less !! this is what happens when you make the wrong friends i think….

  2. Brian O'Meara says:

    Great stuff ! I thought BHF were innocent. It shows how much we need accurate information on who is actually involved in workfare.

  3. Jeff says:

    Well done! Tomorrow on the iplayer or 07:10 “Should Christian organisations participate in the government’s mandatory work placement programme Workfare? Lieut-Colonel Ivor Telfer from the Salvation Army and Symon Hill from Christianity Uncut discuss.” I found the the name of Lieut-Colonel Ivor Telfer to be associated with 2 directorships, the SA and Kettering Textiles.

  4. John Lanigan says:

    Well done to everyone up and down the country,who took part in shutting down those morally bankrupt companies and institutions that use forced labour through the workfare scheme.
    All decent people need to get behind any action that is taking place whether it be for workfare, bedroom tax, Atos assessments and disability benefits, or any other issue to do with welfare reform. If we don’t stand together in this we wont have a country that’s fit to live in, so make a point in getting involved.
    Every one of us can do something to contribute to the fight against welfare reform.

  5. Dee says:

    Well done, but I’m uneasy about targeting charities – better to target for-profit orgs and demand, at the vey least, the minimum wage.

    1. John Lanigan says:

      It’s a matter of principal Dee. Slave labour is slave labour no matter if it’s the Archbishop of Canterbury that’s involved, or charities for that matter.

  6. Humanity2012 says:

    The Right to Peaceful Protest is Important

    No Organisation which Uses People as Slave Labour Deserves to be Called
    a Charity

    Stuff Workfare to Hell with Capitalist Exploitation and Oppression

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