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      Together we stand: Active Unemployed Austria supports the week of action against workfare in the UK

      (Vienna/Graz, 6th October 2014) The grassroot unemployed union "Aktive Arbeitslose Österreich" ("Active Unemployed Austria") declares fully support on the „week of action against“ whichstarted on monday, 6th october 2014 and is organized by the british coalition „boycottworkfare“. We call upon all people of good will to participate in these protests against the dismantling of workers' rights. Inparticular, the unions are encouraged to end their complicity with the neo-liberal activation and forced labor regime and to stand fully behind the workers who are forced to work on the "secondary labor market" as second-class citizens.

      Austria is not really so different

      Even in Austria,where the social parnter-ship plays a dominant role in labormarket policy the neoliberal activation and forced regime – althoughnot soopen and brutal as in Great Britain – was also implemented, butwithout such a strong resistance as in the UK.

      The main steps were:

      • 2004 (coalition of People's Party and Freedom Party): Abolition of professional protection
      • 2007 (coalition of the Social Democratic Party and People's Party): extension of the sanctions regime and establishing a "second labor market"
      • 2010 (minister of social affairs, Rudolf Hundstorfer, former President of the Austrian Trade Union Federation): introduction of the flat-rate tested minimum income where the former welfare recipients are fully subject to the regime of the Employment Agency and further restrictions
      • 2014 abolition of the temporary disability pension and the introduction of a compulsory rehabilitation

      So this was in small steps the reconstruction of the bismark rule welfare state to the neoliberal "activation state" in Austria. The pressure on the unemployed, the poor and the handicapped in Austria was also increased massively.

      Unemployed of the world unite!

      This neoliberal policies mainstreamed by the EU is directed against all workers across Europe. Therefore for "Active Unemployed Austria" as an unemployed union this fight is naturally a case of international solidarity.

      Active Unemployed Austria is also in the process to build an international network of unemployed initiatives in Europe and around the world subsequently. As a first step "Active Unemployed Austria" has organised the "First Vienna International Conference of Unemployed" in the spring of 2013 and encourages all initiatives of the unemployed andsocially conscious initiatives to participate in this networking process.

      Mag. Martin Mair
      Chairman "Active Unemployed Austria"
      kontakt@aktive-arbeitslose.at
      http://www.aktive-arbeitslose.at

      For more information about "Action Week against Workfare":

      E-mail list of"Boycott Workfare": https://lists.riseup.net/www/subscribe/boycott-workfare-announcements

      We also remember: Funeral service for the casualties of the activation and forced laborregime in the UK on 28th September 2013 in London:
      http://www.demotix.com/news/2816810/london-remembers-over-10000-dead-after-atos-work capablity-tests

      Take action: Challenge the TUC’s support for workfare

      Posted: October 6th, 2014 | Author:  | Filed under: Call to actionUnions | Modify: Edit This | No Comments »

      Challenge the TUC’s support for workfare, on the first day of online action for the Boycott Workfare week of action

      On 1 August 2014, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) made a joint statement with Confederation of British Industries (CBI) to back Traineeships for 16-23 year olds and “show support” for the businesses that benefit from the unpaid labour on this scheme.

      Traineeships involve training and “work placements” for up to six months – all unpaid. The TUC’s Assistant General Secretary Paul Nowak hails Traineeships as “an important first step towards the world of work”. But in giving a green light to a new layer of unpaid work in the economy, the TUC is in fact helping to shrink opportunities for young people, undermine the going rate, and replace paid work with workfare.

      Traineeships mean that young people are now expected to work unpaid for six months before even qualifying for an interview for an apprenticeship. The lucky few who make it through the interview can look forward to a minimum wage of £2.73 an hour, as an apprentice.

      If a young person does not take part in the training, they face punitive sanctions. The work placement segment itself may not be backed with the direct threat of sanctions, but, between the economic coercion of a jobs market with so few footholds and the draconian job centre regime, few people will feel able to turn them down.

      Instead of demanding decent wages, the TUC is supporting McDonalds, Toyota, Virgin Media, BT, Vodafone, Phones4U, Siemens, Capita, local councils and many more being supplied with unpaid staff for up to 6 months on benefits alone, without any obligations to hire them!

      The TUC plans to march behind the slogan “Britain needs a payrise” on 18 October. It seems to have chosen to ignore the millions of us who do not have paid work and instead face workfare and sanctions.

      Today as Kilburn Unemployed Workers protest this shoddy deal outside the TUC HQ in London, please contact the TUC via the details below, or through your union networks.  

      When challenging their support for Traineeships, you might also like to point out that:

      • The TUC’s support for Labour’s Job Guarantee means undermining the going rate and minimum wage too.
      • The TUC’s support for benefit sanctions is totally unacceptable. It has recommended that ‘claimants who turn down a job guarantee job without good cause should face benefit sanctions’. Let the TUC know that punishing people by taking away their means to survival can never be okay.

      Contact the Assistant General Secretary who issued the statement with CBI by email:pnowak@tuc.org.uk or send him a tweet: @nowak_paul

      @nowak_paul End the #TUC 's support for #sanctions and #workfare! Don't back #traineeships. http://bit.ly/1tqrLx7 #18Oct

      Tweet at Frances O’Grady, the General Secretary of the TUC @FrancesOGrady

      @FrancesOGrady End the #TUC 's support for #sanctions and #workfare! Don't back #traineeships. http://bit.ly/1tqrLx7 #18Oct

      Tweet at “Britain needs a Payrise” @Payrise4Britain or post on its Facebook

      @PayRise4Britain End the #TUC's support for #sanctions and #workfare! Don't back #traineeships. http://bit.ly/1tqrLx7 #18Oct

      Post on the TUC’s Facebook page

      Or get in touch with the TUC’s press officers who released the statement:

      Rob Holdsworth    T: 020 7467 1372    M: 07717 531150     E: rholdsworth@tuc.org.uk
      Tim Nichols   T: 020 7467 1337   M: 07876 452902   E: tnichols@tuc.org.uk

      If you’re a member of a trade union, please download and adapt this motion to challenge the TUC’s support for sanctions and workfare.

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