Saturday 23 March 2013 8.55am
Well, it depends what you mean by 'workfare'. I take it you mean making people do work, often in commercial enterprises, in order to 'earn' the benefits they may have been paying NI for years for.
In a situation where there aren't enough jobs to go round (ie now), workfare only works for employers and owners of capital.
They can get work done for virtually no money, rather than having to pay for it, increasing the profit and, hence potential dividends.
The availability of free labour undermines other workers' ability to negotiate better conditions. In addition to the direct downward pressure on pay, it discourages people from pressing for better hours or improved health and safety - "If you don't like it, there's someone over there who will do the job for no pay
The media's blaming of benefit 'scroungers' is a way of distracting us from the real scroungers - the businesses that rely on benefits to top up poverty pay and the landlords who benefit from the shortage of social housing to extort various forms of 'rent' (in its wider, technical sense) from us for the privilege of living here.