Socialist Worker

Fury at NHS workfare scheme

Issue No. 2304

Bosses at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust are getting “unpaid jobseekers” to provide patient care on wards.

The use of unemployed people on “workfare” was trialled at Sandwell hospital—and is set to be extended to all three hospitals the trust covers.

Meanwhile the trust is pushing through £125 million in cuts.

“Thousands of staff are facing the prospect of losing their jobs and wards are closing,” says Ravi Subramanian, West Midlands organiser for the Unison union.

Workfare schemes do more than humiliate the unemployed by forcing them to work for free. They undermine paid jobs and drive down conditions for all workers.

Demonstrations earlier this year forced employment minister Chris Grayling to backtrack on his workfare plans.

Protest at Sandwell hospital, Thursday 24 May. Assemble 5pm at corner of Little Lane and All Saints Road, B71 4HJ

Reclaiming Our NHS national conference, Saturday 23 June, Friends House, London NW1 2BJ

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