Tag: anti sanction protests

Reports from the day of action against Benefit Sanctions – Thursday 19 March 2015

On Thursday 19 March demonstrations took place across the region against Benefit Sanctions. Below are photos and reports from a number of the demos.

Photos from Barnsley, Hartlepool, Stockton and Leeds.

Media story in Teeside Gazette Live.

Barnsley

Good demo in Barnsley. Almost 40 marched round town to Job Centre. 16 Freedom Riders came and joined in demonstration saying that they were opposed to cuts this Tory government is making against pensioners, unemployed and trade unionists.Lively rally outside job centre where a claimant who had been sanctioned came forward and described his experience and received applause for his courage in speaking out.

(Report by George Arthur)

 


Video from Halifax.

Huddersfield

About 40 people attended a protest rally against benefit sanctions in the town centre today. It was organised by the local Unite/Community Branch,  which is for people who are unemployed in the community.

Our protest was one of 77 actions taking place throughout the country as part of a National Day of Action Against Benefit Sanctions organised by Unite /Community.

There were a range of speakers who all emphasised the punitive and arbritary nature of the sanctions against claimants that can result in them being without their benefits for anything from 4 weeks to 3 years.

The speakers also stressed the need to keep up the campaign against benefit sanctions and all the other government attacks on welfare.

Speakers included, Nick Ruff, Chair of Kirklees Unison, Jane East, prospective parliamentary candidate for Labour for the Colne Valley, Mike Forster, prospective parliamentary candidate for Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) for the Huddersfield constituency.

Speakers who are unemployed described their personal experiences.

Karl Dallas, a member of Unite/Community, played his guitar and everyone joined in an anti-sanctions song that he had written especially for the occasion. Robin Bowles, on his accordian, added an uplifting feel to the whole event.

The rally was chaired by, June Jones, Chair of the Bradford, Halifax and Huddersfield Branch of Unite/Community.

The next Unite/Community Branch meeting is on Tuesday 7 April at the Brian Jackson Centre from 11am to 1pm.

(Report by June Jones)

Unite holds day of action in the North East calling for end to ‘grotesque cruelty’ of benefit sanctions

Britain’s biggest union, Unite, will hold protests across the North East of England during a national day of action (Thursday 19 March) opposing benefit sanctions which are now being used on an industrial scale.

Punitive sanctions have resulted in over two million people having their welfare payments cut or stopped without warning over the past two years, leading to increased poverty, misery and even death.

In the North East area the total number of sanctions dealt out by the DWP from October 2012 to September 2013 was 53,883 and 52,420 between October 2013 and September 2014.

Gill Thompson, whose brother, David Clapson, died after being sanctioned will be handing in her 211,822-name petition at the DWP – calling on the Prime Minister to investigate the widespread use of benefits sanctions.

Mr Clapson, a vulnerable diabetic ex-soldier, died starving and destitute in 2013 because he was penalised by the job centre for missing a meeting. His sister is demanding answers, saying:

“Benefits sanctions are completely out of control. I want to know how ministers who state everything is done to support the vulnerable can justify their actions leaving people destitute, driving them to food banks, and leading to starvation and death. Do we want to live in a society where the vulnerable are victimised – I certainly do not.”

As things stand money can be cut for arriving late at a job centre, missing an appointment to go to a funeral, or even failing to apply for a job – while waiting to start a new job.

Unite is not prepared to stand idle while this failed coalition government mercilessly targets those already struggling to make ends meet, with ideologically-driven and needless cruelty.

Commenting Joe Rollin, Unite community regional coordinator, said:

“This government is attacking the unemployed for unemployment and treating claimants worse than criminals fined in the courts. Decisions on guilt are made in secret with the claimant not even allowed to be present to explain their case.

“Far from helping people back into work, sanctions undermine physical and mental health. They cause hardship, damage relationships, create homelessness and drive people to food banks, payday lenders, and to crime.

“There is no justification for this grotesque cruelty by the government. Unite is calling on the DWP to end benefit sanctions as this situation can’t be allowed to go on in the 6th richest country in the world.”

 

Unite holds day of action calling for end to ‘grotesque cruelty’ of benefit sanctions

WHEN: 15:00 to 17:00 Thursday 19 March 2015
WHERE: DWP, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London SW1H 9DA

Britain’s biggest union, Unite, will demonstrate outside the Department for Work and Pensions in London. This is part of a national day of action (Thursday 19 March) opposing benefit sanctions which are now being used on an industrial scale.Punitive sanctions have resulted in over two million people having their welfare payments cut or stopped without warning over the past two years, leading to increased poverty, misery and even death.

In London the total number of sanctions dealt out by the DWP from October 2012 to September 2013 was 130,442 and 103,679 between October 2013 and September 2014.

Gill Thompson, whose brother, David Clapson, died after being sanctioned will be handing in her 211,822-name petition at the DWP – calling on the prime minister to investigate the widespread use of benefit sanctions.

Mr Clapson, a vulnerable diabetic ex-soldier, died starving and destitute in 2013 because he was penalised by his job centre for missing a meeting. His sister is demanding answers, saying:

“Benefit sanctions are completely out of control. I want to know how ministers who state everything is done to support the vulnerable can justify their actions leaving people destitute, driving them to food banks, and leading to starvation and death. Do we want to live in a society where the vulnerable are victimised – I certainly do not.”

As things stand money can be cut for arriving late at a job centre, missing an appointment to go to a funeral, or even failing to apply for a job – while waiting to start a new job.

Unite is not prepared to stand idle while this failed coalition government mercilessly targets those already struggling to make ends meet, with ideologically-driven and needless cruelty.

Commenting Liane Groves Unite Community national organiser said:

“This government is attacking the unemployed for unemployment and treating claimants worse than criminals fined in the courts. Decisions on guilt are made in secret with the claimant not even allowed to be present to explain their case.

“Far from helping people back into work, sanctions undermine physical and mental health. They cause hardship, damage relationships, create homelessness and drive people to food banks, payday lenders, and to crime.

“There is no justification for this grotesque cruelty by the government. Unite is calling on the DWP to end benefit sanctions as this situation can’t be allowed to go on in the 6th richest country in the world.”

Unite community members will be taking part in protests across London before moving to the Department of Work and Pensions, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9DA for a demonstration from 15:00 to 17:00. Regional protests are also being held up and down the country on Thursday 19 March as part of the national day of action.