Christians for Economic Justice

Previously called Christianity Uncut

Christian charities face Christian protests over use of workfare labour

Christian organisations including the Salvation Army and the YMCA are participating in “workfare” schemes, using workers who must work without pay or face losing their benefits. Christianity Uncut is writing to the charities to urge them to withdraw from the schemes as a public witness against forced labour.

The call comes at the start of a week of action against workfare. The action has been called by the group Boycott Workfare for the week of 18-24 March. During the week, Christianity Uncut is planning to write to all Christian organisations using workfare labour.

Christianity Uncut welcome the fact that most churches and Christian organisations are not participating in workfare. We encourage them to sign the pledge promising that they will not do so in future.

Chris Wood, a spokesperson for Christianity Uncut, said:

“Workfare workers are not volunteers – their work is not voluntary but obligatory, and they should be paid a living wage. Instead they are being threatened with losing the benefits on which they live if they refuse to take part in this forced labour scheme.

“We are deeply saddened that charities such as the Salvation Army and YMCA are undermining the good work they do, and their witness to Christ, by participating in workfare schemes. Throughout the economy, workfare is increasing poverty and unemployment by reducing the jobs available for paid staff. Christians need to make a public witness against workfare and proclaim Jesus’ teaching that ‘The worker is worthy of his pay’ (Luke 10,7).”

There are numerous workfare schemes currently in operation. Each requires claimants to work without pay or face possible destitution through sanctions (benefit stoppages), which can last for up to three years. A list of schemes currently in operation can be found at

Protests, creative actions and online pickets against workfare will take place on 18-24 March across the UK in a week of action called by the Boycott Workfare network to escalate the campaign against forced unpaid work. More information and a list of actions can be found at



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5 thoughts on “Christian charities face Christian protests over use of workfare labour

  1. “the Salvation Army and YMCA are undermining the good work they do, and their witness to Christ,”

    a quite appalling attack on christians from christians. these are incredibly strong terms to use when discussing a domestic political issue on which christians *should* be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

    Perhaps next time you could disagree without claiming someone who disagrees is ‘undermining their witness to Christ’. (quite where Christ condemned workfare I’m not sure).

    2 Thes 3:10 – “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”


  2. jay lynch on said:

    Martin are you seriously trying to tell me that Jesus Christ was a Slave Master? |Typical bible bashing nutter. The bible you read is the King James version and you can pick out of the bible almost any phrase to support almost any argument. What you cannot condone is slavery.


  3. Pingback: Workfare: Hurting the poor, helping the rich | Symon Hill

  4. Pingback: Boycott Workfare » Blog Archive » Workfare: we are the opposition!

  5. Pingback: Birmingham Trades Council » Workfare: we are the opposition!

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