The National Week of Action Against Workfare got off to a fine start on Saturday with demonstrations held outside companies profiting from forced labour around the UK.
So called health food shop Holland & Barrett were due to be the target of many protests, however after the company almost all but withdrew from workfare new targets were hastily found. Holland & Barrett blamed the week of protests for their decision to abandon plans to replace a quarter of there staff with unpaid workers. Astonishingly the company even attempted to slur protesters as violent criminals, meaning that for many, whilst the protests have stopped, a boycott of the firm remains in force.
In London a group of around 40 protesters braved the raid and met by Goodge Street Tube Station. The first target of the day was Greggs the bakers shop, who were recently supported by working class people over George Osborne’s bodged plan to tax pasties. Greggs have repaid this support by continuing to use unpaid labour in their stodge ridden establishments. Banners were unveiled outside the store and lively chants erupted as customers stayed away.
Then the protest moved to McDonalds, by now trailed by a couple of coppers and some gimp from a private security company. After around 30 minutes outside the restaurant in heavy rain the skies brightened and the rolling picket headed back down Tottenham Court Road chating ‘workfare, unfair’ and ‘no wages, outrageous’.
The protest stopped briefly outside Superdrug, who were caught out fibbing about their use of workfare earlier in the year, before finishing at the busy Pizza Hut at Cambridge Circus. Here the increasingly noisy picket drew lots of support from the many people making their way to the London Gay Pride event in Trafalgar Square. Squinting through the windows of Pizza Hut, it was clear that the usually busy central London restaurant was almost deserted as customers voted with their feet on hearing that the company don’t pay their staff.
All in all it was a good start for the week of action which has lots more events, protests and pickets lined up over the next few days. Today people will be contacting charities like the British Heart Foundation (@thebhf) Tel: 01372 477 300 to demand they pull out of forced labour, more details at: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1298#more-1298
For the latest details of other actions and events visit: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=1154