Wednesday 05 June 2013
GMB congress officially affiliated to the Boycott Workfare campaign today, pledging the union to fight back against attacks on welfare.
Delegates noted the existence of several schemes that place benefit claimants on compulsory work placements without pay.
Southern region's Holly Smith denounced the schemes as "exploitation of working class people," pointing out that they do not just attack benefit claimants but workers too.
She warned that free subsidised labour inevitably pushes down wages, terms and conditions and replaces jobs.
Ms Smith praised the "innovative and inspiring" action by groups such as Boycott Workfare.
Unite and PCS unions have already pledged to boycott workfare programmes, delegates noted.
The union also agreed to use its links with Labour to get the party to pledge to abolish all workfare schemes and any form of mandatory unpaid work.
Supporting the motion, southern region's Keir Greenaway said: "Workfare does not work. We need to also force Labour's hand to get them to do something."
London's Vaughan West said: "It's a scandal that the unemployed are forced to work in minimum wage jobs for less than minimum wage.
"We need to expose the government's scam and their demonisation of those on benefits."
Wales and South West region's Paul Hunt described workfare as "Orwellian" and "nothing less than 21st-century slavery."
Conference also condemned moves to cap benefits, the introduction of the bedroom tax and universal credit.
And plans to make universal credit a one-off payment may aid domestic violence and encourage abusive partners to control all the money, Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region's Amanda Burley warned.
North West and Irish region's Kevin Flanagan added that moving benefit claims online represents a massive attack on disabled people and those who either cannot cannot access the internet or find it difficult to use a computer.