Protest Sanctions Targets at Leith Job Centre

This week’s short-notice-hey-demo post features this call-out for action against Leith Job Centre’s move to “Sanctions Targets”

Thursday, 10am at the bottom of Great Junction Street. Press release below:

Claimants and anti cuts campaigners are set to demonstrate at Leith Job Centre on Thursday 11th July in a protest against “sanctions targets” set by a Job Centre manager.  
“A new manager at Leith Jobcentre has told staff that 30% of claimants are not meeting the conditions for receiving benefits – the clear implication is that these claimants should be sanctioned, that is have their benefits stopped.  In reality this is a return to the supposedly outlawed practice of setting sanctions targets, and is totally unfair and unjust,” said Ethel MacDonald of Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty.
The demonstration is part of the Boycott Workfare Week of  Action against the government’s controversial “work-for-your-benefits” schemes and is in opposition to the whole government austerity programme.
“People are really suffering because of sanctions.  Right now we are opposing sanctions imposed on a disabled claimant who is having to live on £26.05p per week because he was too ill to go to an appointment with the Ingeus workfare provider.  What’s more, most claimants who are sanctioned have their money stopped completely, for from one month to three years.”
The protestors state that they will challenge sanctions, and issue a call to direct action.  “You have the right to challenge sanctions. Ask for the decision to be reviewed and appeal against it. If need be, we can alert our Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty solidarity network to have a peaceful demo INSIDE the Job Centre. “
The demonstrators point to a government press release stating that they have set up “hit squads” in all Job Centres to presurise claimants returning from workfare providers.  “The government have openly declared war on the unemployed”, say ECAP.  “We know that in Leith Job Centre they have set up such a “hit squad” and some officials are misinforming claimants that they have to allow the DWP to monitor their online job search.  This is a lie and we urge claimants to stand up for their right to protect their privacy.”
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty have also been leafleting the Leith Job Centre workers, appealing for workers to join claimants in opposing cuts, sanctions and workfare.  “Some Job Centre workers are themselves facing unemployment, as now they only get temporary contracts, and could easily find themselves on the other side of the counter,” explained Ethel MacDonald.
“If we are not to be condemned to years of austerity we need to take a stand,” said Ethel MacDonald of ECAP.   “Enough is enough!  Why should the vast majority suffer because of the greed of a minority of speculators, bankers  and super-rich, and the chaotic nature of their profit-driven system?  It’s time for action to assert that people’s needs must be the priority, not money.  We can’t rely on any of the political parties, we must organise at the grass-roots, through people power.”
The protest is from 10am till 12 noon on Thursday 11th at the Commercial Street Job Centre, Leith.
Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty  Greater Leith Against the Cuts
Boycott Workfare
Government press release announcing Job Centre “hit squads” and detailing sanctions