Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A4e Liverpool feel the impact of another picket and communications blockade

On Tuesday 26 June, Liverpool Solidarity Federation called a picket and a communications blockade against A4e in Liverpool. Both were well attended, with up to a dozen people joining in the afternoon picket whilst countless people from around the country jammed up phone and fax lines throughout the day.

From the morning, we were getting reports that the communications blockade was having its desired effect. People were hung up on as soon as they even mentioned the work programme, re-directed to central phone lines and met with exasperated staff on the other end of the line. By the afternoon, there were huge delays in answering calls and the fax machine was switched off - no doubt due to the huge volume of literature, complaints and sheer nonsense clogging it up.

By comparison, the actual picket was rather muted. Unlike last time, the building owner never made an appearence to have a go at us, whilst the police appeared for all of two minutes. They literally parked near the picket, glowered at us for a bit, then disappeared. In the meantime, we carried on with what we were there for.

Liverpool Solfed members were as ever joined by other local anarchists who have been extremely proactive in the workfare campaign from the beginning. We handed out a couple of hundred leaflets to largely receptive passers-by, spoke to claimants using the A4e offices and received a number of supportive honks from passing cars. As on previous actions, we had people wishing us well in our campaign and keen to point out that their own pedigree as trade unionists whilst cheering us on.

After two hours, we wrapped up and moved on. But this will not be our last visit to A4e. Like "ethical" workfare providers Holland & Barrett, the profiteers will soon be sick of the sight of us. We will certainly be paying them at least one visit during the national week of action against workfare.

Until then, our next action will see us return to Asda in Wavertree this Saturday. It seems that our last action has already had an impact on their trade, and we need to maintain that pressure in order to break the back of those exploiting the unemployed. Make sure that you come along and get involved, to add to our collective weight. This campaign doesn't end until workfare does.