||For over a hundred years now, the start of May has been a time for the workers' movement to remember those who have gone before us, and to carry on the fight for a better world. On Saturday May 4th, join Unite Community members as they put pressure on Poundland to pull out of the government's workfare schemes.
More about workfare: Workfare is sold as a way to help young people by giving them work experience. In fact, it hurts us all, by allowing employers to replace paid jobs and undermine pay and conditions, meaning there won’t be careers for young people to go into. Why would employers bother paying staff if the government is offering them forced labour for free? Workfare schemes are a subsidy to business, providing them with free workers at public expense. Pressuring unemployed people into working for free affects everyone, as workfare means less pay for us and more profits for big companies. Instead of making it easier for people to get jobs, workfare will mean more people end up unemployed as their jobs are replaced by unpaid placements.
But we can fight back against workfare. Campaigns against workfare have already forced a number of big employers, like Holland & Barrett, to pull out, and if we keep the pressure up we can achieve even more. It’s not about workers versus unemployed, we all need to stick together to defend our living standards against the bosses.
More about May Day: The history of May Day goes back to Chicago in 1886, when workers sick of long hours launched a determined strike to demand an eight-hour working day. The bosses were determined to resist this simple demand and launched a vicious campaign of repression against the eight-hour movement, eventually jailing eight of the organisers on serious charges, with four of them being executed and another committing suicide to escape execution.
This repression caused an international outcry, and May 1st became a day for workers of all countries to show their solidarity with the Chicago Martyrs, and the workers' movement as a whole. May Day events have taken many forms, from union marches to street parties, but one constant theme is the struggle to improve our own lives and the lives of people around us, from the fight for shorter hours in the 1880s to the campaign against workfare today.
Join in taking action against unpaid work, and in helping to remember the sacrifices and victories of all those who came before us.