Job snobs Sainsbury’s, Waterstones, TK Maxx, 99p Stores and Maplin have all made statements that they will pull out of workfare. Miss Selfridge also said on facebook yesterday that their company does not participate in the government’s workfare schemes. Matalan have suspended their use of the scheme.
Superdrug have said they will not be taking on any new candidates, which presumably means they won’t be paying the workfare slaves they already have. Support your local drug dealer instead. Poundland, which as it turns out refers to the wages they pay as well as the cost of the broken toys they sell, have said the scheme is under review.
Of the major charities involved Marie Curie have pulled out, Oxfam are expected to make a statement any time soon, and SCOPE have suspended their workfare activity. Whether this includes pulling out of the Work Programme delivery is so far unclear. Shelter have also announced they abandoned the scheme last year.
(if you are on or expected to start workfare at any of the above let us know in the comments or contact Boycott Workfare. Let’s make sure no-one’s telling porkies)
According to Boycott Workfare – Boots, HMV and Pizza Hut have confirmed they will not arrange placements centrally, but are happy to let local stores do so. HMV are going out of business anyway, boycott them and help speed things up. Alternatively steal your music from the internet like a normal person.
Age UK are reviewing the situation and MIND say they will no longer use workfare in their shops. Mencap say they don’t have any shops, but won’t use workfare volunteers. Neither MIND, Mencap or any of the other Disability Works charities appear to be pulling out of the Work Programme scheme – more on this later.
PDSA, Banardos and the British Heart Foundation have kindly said we can email them about any concerns we may have about workfare. Cancer Research (@CR_UK), and Capability Scotland (@Capability_Scot) have decided to simply ignore the scores of people who have contacted them.
God botherers the Salvation Army (@salvationarmyuk) are unrepentant. This is hardly surprising. They don’t just employ workfare staff but also appear to have a contract bullying people onto workfare. On their website they say: “Providing short-term work experience for unemployed people is part of our provision for those in need”. Forced labour is good for you, especially as the Jesus army states one of their priorities is ensuring vulnerable people are “less dependent on the state”.
ASDA, Arcadia, Holland & Barrett, Mcdonalds, Burger King and Primark appear to have no qualms about using forced labour to keep profits high and have kept schtum. The most shocking statement of all comes from Argos (@argos_online) who have said: “We can confirm that Argos does not have a policy to recruit colleagues through the governments Work Experience Programme, but we do make use of it to offer work experience. Christmas is our busiest time of year and we are pleased to provide the opportunity for work experience during this time.”
So they don’t have a policy to use forced labour, they just do it anyway, especially at Christmas when they are super busy. It would be harder to find clearer example of company using workfare rather than recruiting paid staff than Argos taking on workfare slaves to help with the Christmas rush.
Which brings us on to Tesco, who have tacitly admitted they were using workfare effectively as free labour and a two month long interview. Tesco are asking the government to remove the threat of benefit sanctions if people stop their work experience and have said they will now offer workers a wage. How fucking big of them. Furthermore, according to the Telegraph, the 1,500 people (which includes the 300 already employed) who Tesco plan to take from the Jobcentre is part of their planned recruitment strategy. In other words no new jobs are being, or have been created due to workfare. The 300 people who have already been employed under the scheme would therefore have got jobs anyway, without having to work for free first. The 1,200 who didn’t get jobs have just had their time wasted.
You can still contact all the above workfare sharks at once via twitter using this handy site: http://www.pint.org.uk/work/
Better still join in the National Day of Action on March 3rd. If there isn’t an action taking place near you, organise one!
Above pic from the ever busy Anarchist Media Project.