Union members staged a protest in Huddersfield against the government’s Workfare programme – accusing it of “hounding and demonising the poor”.
Members of the Huddersfield, Halifax and Bradford branch of Unite Community protested outside NU House in Market Street, the offices of Interserve Learning and Employment, which is one of the private sector providers of employment support under the programme.
They were protesting at the Workfare system which they said forced benefit claimants to work for nothing or lose their benefit.
The protest took place on the first-ever UK Employability Day promoting employment support schemes to individuals, private companies and local authorities.
Kirklees mayor Clr Paul Kane and mayoress Susan Bedford visited the offices to hear how Interserve Learning and Employment is helpiong long-term unemployed people into paid work.
Philip John, job broker at Interserve in Huddersfield, said the open day was held to celebrate the success of the programme in getting more than 500,000 long-term unemployed people across the UK into sustainable employment.
He said he had been surprised to be greeted by protesters when he met the civic visitors as Interserve played no part in “sanctioning” claimants.
June Jones, Unite Community branch member, said: “We in Unite Community are totally opposed to what amounts to forcing benefit claimants to work for nothing or lose their benefit. We had a sympathetic response from the general public and particularly from many of the claimants themselves.”