Here’s something I emailed to the local press ; Wakefield Express , Yorkshire Evening Post and Yorkshire Post.
Sir – On March 9, UNITE Union’s campaign Day of Action against Benefits Sanctions ,took ( takes) place with protests across the country in over 100 towns and cities including several in our region . With the government’s Austerity policies continuing to flatten everything in their wake ,the role of punitive sanctions against welfare claimants plays a central role in their overall Austerity plans. Over 1,000,000 benefits sanctions annually are routinely imposed on JSA and ESA claimants ,with barely 5% of those Sanctioned getting to the Appeal stage. In April last year,I was wrongly sanctioned thanks to a false and misleading report from my Mandatory Work Activity Placement -Flutterbuys Charity Shop -which was passed to Interserve who in turn without checking the accuracy of that report passed it on to the DWP. Suffice to say that in October I won my Appeal at HMCTS,the Judge agreed with my position that the original report made no sense whatsoever. Had it not been for the active support of others,I would not have been able to endure 13 weeks of being virtually starved into submission. As a Christian and Trades Union activist, I challenge all those organisations,especially those who purport to be faith-based,who use Workfare conscripts via MWA and CWP to desist immediately from exploiting claimants who are forced to work under the threat of Sanctions .State-approved forced labour is an entirely abhorrent practice and goes against Scripture. It is a sad reflection of our City and District, that the plight of many thousands of fellow citizens who are subjected to such treatment is a matter of indifference to our elected local and national politicians and those Trades Unions,Political parties and Faith organisations who stand idly by and refuse to speak out.
Yours Sincerely ,
Louis Kasatkin ( Vice-Chair , Leeds Community Branch ,UNITE ) in a personal capacity.
( Lots of posts on this blog on Sanctions – see also #DansLaMerde on fb )