Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped

tesco-exploitationTesco claim to have called on the DWP to scrap benefit sanctions in a response to a letter asking them about their use of forced, unpaid workers.

In a humiliating snub to Iain Duncan Smith, the company set up their own workfare scheme outside of the Jobcentre system last year.  Tesco say that this scheme is entirely voluntary but add in the letter:  “I appreciate your concerns and can advise that Tesco have suggested to the Department of Work and Pensions that, to avoid any misunderstanding about the voluntary nature of the scheme, the risk of losing benefits that currently exists should be removed.”

Now unless Tesco are fibbing, if their scheme is outside of the various DWP workfare schemes, then it should be entirely voluntary.  The statement suggests that in order to avoid confusion Tesco would like to see all benefit sanctions removed.  Tesco want free workers without the bad PR, and have no doubt calculated that with youth unemployment soaring, they can easily manipulate young people into working for free.  The company have even stated that “going forward” young people “accepted for work experience with Tesco” will have the option of being paid minimum wage and those that complete a placement successfully will be given a real job.

Yet just 300 of those who worked unpaid at Tesco have been employed, despite around 1,400 people having ‘donated’ their time to support the company.  What Tesco really seem to be saying is that occasionally we might employ someone without making them work unpaid first.  How fucking big of them.

There is another reason why Tesco might oppose benefit sanctions however.  Whilst Tesco are far from the cheapest shop, they are often the biggest in areas where there are high numbers of benefit claimants.  A significant chunk of the UK’s social security budget ends up in the pockets of Tesco shareholders – along with small local businesses and the utilities companies – something George Osborne seems to have forgotten.

Every family queuing at a foodbank is a family that didn’t shop in Tesco that week.  The latest available figures suggest 680,000 benefit sanctions were handed out in the first 10 months of 2012.  During the same period Tesco’s profits fell for the first time in 20 years.

The bedroom tax, council tax benefit changes, housing benefit cuts and the raft of other vicious measures set to impoverish the already impoverished are also all about to begin.  These changes are big enough, and will affect enough people, that Tesco, along with ASDA, Poundland, Lidl, Aldi and other discount retailers are waking up to the fact that if their core customers have less money, then so will they.

Tesco have already taken steps to mitigate this problem.  Shortly before Christmas last year Tesco teamed up with the The Trussell Trust “to launch the biggest ever nationwide food collection for people in crisis.”

Customers in Tescos around the UK were invited to donate an item of shopping bought at the supermarket to their local Trussell Trust foodbank.  The company set up collection points in many of their stores to make this easier.  Claimants shouldn’t be fooled by this apparently charitable gesture.  Tesco make no real secret of the fact they are a bunch of cunts.  They are simply attempting to ensure that if people are getting their food from foodbanks, then that food was bought in Tesco first.

Join South London Solidarity Federation and others to protest against workfare outside Peckham Poundland tomorrow: https://www.facebook.com/events/631652860184840/

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

82 responses to “Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped

  1. @JOHNNY VOID thank fuck you posted this,,the conspiracy stuff was getting tedious..meanwhile back into the real world….

  2. They are simply attempting to ensure that if people are getting their food from foodbanks, then that food was bought in Tesco first.

    Masterful. Capitalism at its finest.

  3. the other thing dont forget is the other slogan TESCO – SHUTS every little shop…

  4. The same reasoning could be said of millions of people in low paid jobs.

  5. OH lets not forget Tesco Health Insurance
    Tesco Health Insurance

    Tesco health insurance is just one segment in the vast range of products offered by this giant supermarket chain. Cover is offered through AXA PPP, which is one of the biggest private medical insurance companies in the UK with 250 private hospitals.

    There is a choice of family health insurance policies with separate cover for children at low monthly premiums. Both the adults and the children’s private health insurance plans provide cover without the need for a medical by filling in a basic application form. They have a telephone support line and allow you to visit a specialist on your chosen date. Another facility that Tesco medical insurance offers is the payment of fees direct to the hospital to make it more convenient for you.


  6. Our meal tickets were directed to a coffee-shop in Ilford. When we got there, the little chit of a serving-maid, having seen our tickets and grasped that we were tramps, tossed her head in contempt and for a long time would not serve us. Finally she slapped on the table two ‘large teas’ and four slices of bread and dripping—that is, eightpenny-worth of food. It appeared that the shop habitually cheated the tramps of twopence or so on each ticket; having tickets instead of money, the tramps could not protest or go elsewhere.

    George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London, 1933 (p177)

    So, the latest welfare cuts plan is to localise the Social Fund and, at the same time as need is increasing, reduce the pot of funding for it. So far so expected in Austerity Britain. But, according to The Guardian’s Patrick Butler, a novel element is the introduction of vouchers, with claimants given a Tesco or Sainsbury’s storecard instead of cash, some of which will be restricted to prevent the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol. For larger items, claimants will be issued vouchers to local recycled furniture stores.

    For our American colleagues, food stamps are commonplace. For those of us in the UK or, like me here in Australia, anonymous, unlinked cash payments have been the benefits norm for a long time. But if you’ve read George Orwell’s brilliantly heart breaking, frustrating and utterly depressing Down and Out in Paris and London, this shift to vouchers is a return to older forms of charity. Times have moved on somewhat though, and these days there’s no mandatory church service that was the quid pro quo for the tea-bread-and-dripping handout.


  7. The era of vouchers for the poor is very nearly upon us.

    From next year, impoverished families who need a crisis loan to help them over a domestic disaster will be lucky if they get cash. Instead, they will probably be issued with a special Tesco or Sainsbury’s “storecard”, usable in a limited number of stores.

    Some cards will be restricted to prevent the purchase of cigarettes and alcohol.

    The move from cash to vouchers – which will also see recipients who need help to replace a broken fridge, say, being given chits redeemable only in acredited local furniture recycling projects – will come in next year when the social fund, currently administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is devolved to local authority level.

    Social fund vouchers will be one of the most visible aspects of the switch, which was introduced as part of the Welfare Reform Act. They are destined to become totemic signs-of-the-dismal-times, along with foodbank parcels.


    • Bob, that will apply from my local council from 1st April, no cash given out at all from Wirral borough council

      • @pat i wonder who is behind the smartcard system..one of the card provider companies raking it in no doubt..actually its a laugh as the tories were making a thing about labours ID card and here they are doing roughly the same..

    • And how are those given Tesco vouchers supposed to pay for gas & electric to cook? As for Sainsbury’s if one of their snotty, up-themselves staff (what’s the betting she’s a workfare slave) refused to serve someone talking on their phone, how are they going to react when handed food vouchers as as sure as night follows day these won’t be the usual giftcard, there’s bound be some indication on them that the person spending it is one of those horrible unwashed “benefit scroungers”


  9. Now i am confused as tesco as of feb 2012 contacted DWP to change the rules for workfare to be voluntary..


    Tesco asks government to change flagship jobless scheme

    Work experience programme must be voluntary, says major employer amid complaints it is profiting from forced labour

  10. “Benefits reform trial scaled back”


  11. well did DWP change the tesco workare to voluntary or not? why are they doing their own if DWP changed the rules?

  12. Reblogged this on patricktsudlow and commented:
    Expect for the use of foul language, which is unnecessary, this article does expose Tesco’s hypocrisy and cynicism. The Government has not got a clue about fiscal matters, making people poorer has a detriment of the local economy and eventually the nations economy. This Government and the opposition are driving this country into a hole, it will never recover from.

    • @Johnny Void i found this ..i need to figure it out though.


      Better Regulation Stakeholder Group

      The purpose of the Better Regulation Stakeholder Group is to provide:
      the Department with a mechanism for working with representatives of its major stakeholders on better regulation and issues around the benefit structure
      stakeholders with an opportunity to help shape the Department’s strategic approach toward better regulation at an early stage
      an environment for sharing ideas and views on better regulation issues.

      Group members

      The members of the Better Regulation Stakeholder Group are:
      Richard Exell (TUC)
      Joanne Fairbairn (Tesco)
      Julie Kenny (Pyronix, small business representative)
      John Lawson (Standard Life)
      Dominic Lindley (“Which”)
      William Sargent (Better Regulation Executive)
      Karen Thomson (Institute of Payroll Professionals)
      David Yeandle (EEF – the manufacturers’ organisation)

      Better Regulation Stakeholder Group Meetings
      22 January 2009 meeting (16KB)
      23 January 2008 meeting (19KB)

      so these representatives have some input to regulation in regard to benefits?

    • Yes thats exatly what I thought ! I fear that the times 4 the poor are going backward ! Like down n out in Paris with the housing reforms the poor will be back to multioccupying run down tennantment blocks with this bedroom tax ! Which rogue landlords probably bought with poor mans housing benefit cheques in the first place

      • http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/26/hodge-dwp-denial-jobcentre-targets

        Further new evidence of targets is revealed, which includes:

        • An email from a jobcentre manager in Derbyshire to say sanction referrals are top priority.

        “By end Sept we should have been at 5.5% … can I remind you that I do want daily stats on this as it was made very clear that we have to be tracking this and upping the game during month if we know we will not meet the target.”

        • An email from jobcentre managers in Cheshire that tells their team they are falling behind others on their sanction rates.

        Apologising for the “harsh message”, it says sanctioning is “in the key work objectives, it’s part of our target”.

        • An email from a Kent office to staff offering overtime on a Saturday for “botherability” interviews – a phrase currently used by some offices meaning to trip claimants up or “hassle them into giving up claiming benefits at all”, according to one staff member.

        • Several examples of “performance improvement plan” [PIP] forms, where Jobcentre employees are being hauled in for not stopping enough claimants’ money, referring to a “minimum expected level” of sanctioning. Some of the forms, from different parts of the country, contain the same precise calculation that each full time advisor should be referring 8.6 customers a month for sanctions

  13. So Tesco gets ‘The Trussell Trust’ and Asda gets the vouchers: gu.com/p/3emtb/tw What a wonderful investment opportunity the poor have turned out to be! No wonder all steps to lift people out of poverty are being completely ignored…

  14. Click to access meeting-220109.pdf

    Welcome and introductions
    This was Rosie Winterton’s first meeting as Chair. She welcomed the Group and said that efforts to reduce unnecessary burdens, and to ensure that regulatory inspection and enforcement were proportionate, were perhaps even more important in the current economic situation.
    Simplification Plan
    The Department for Work and Pensions was the first major department to reach its target of reducing administrative burdens on business by 25%. In fact it has achieved 29% reductions.
    The Group said that, in the current economic climate, it was important to identify those measures with one-off costs associated with administrative burdens reductions as long-term savings did not necessarily justify huge one-off costs.
    The Department was still working to identify further ways of reducing administrative burdens.


  15. has some bit of dealing been going on with business eg tesco and DWP??
    re: admin burdens??

  16. Pingback: Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped | Welfare News Service (UK) | Scoop.it

  17. think its to do with worplace pensions HOWEVER I GOT THIS:


    Tesco’s to Administer UK Food Vouchers Scheme
    Political Bastards
    Dr Suusi Watson 21/12/2008 09:56

    the article is dated 2008,,WEIRD..

    • you don’t need to quote the piece in full if you’ve put a link 🙂

      think this was a replacement for the old milk token scheme.

      • @JV yes i have to mention what the link is about as sometimes links are full of gibberish and as someone suggested i do a short summary of link..i thought i would..anyway spivey sometimes posts links and copy pastes the whole transcript saving people having to click on link, remember it then come back and comment..so there…thrrrrp!!

  18. Pingback: Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped | welfare cuts | Scoop.it

  19. Teesside Solidarity Movement

    Reblogged this on Teesside Solidarity Movement and commented:
    Success for all of you who joined in the workfare protests, putting pressure on those using the scheme. Well done!

  20. gemma burletson

    Ok, Tesco has REGAINED MY FAITH 🙂




    • @GEMMA BURLETSON WHY??? TESCO HAS DONE A SNEAKY DEAL WITH DWP ..the will get tesco social fund vouchers ok?
      and make workfare look good for DWP its PR..

  21. Why doesn’t Tesco just pay the people “placed” with them wages?

  22. The food vouchers link is 2008: different Government and that’s since been knocked out of parliamentary process- as long as we don’t let right wingers back in again. As if there are options!

    • It’s what Screw Labour were planning: “The welfare reform act also placed time limits on benefits for unemployed, able-bodied, childless adults.” Just like Liam Byrne let slip in the Commons a few weeks ago!

      • Food vouchers, workfare/sanctions and the localism welfare of the poor laws – authored and sponsored by Labour, the Left have their fingerprints all over welare reform “It Wisnae Me” is the collective cry.

        Professor Paul Gregg – From 1997-2006, he was a member of the Council of Economic Advisors at HM Treasury, where he worked on unemployment, welfare reform and child poverty.

        He was appointed to a CBI steering group on Getting the UK Working, and a commission on youth unemployment run by AVECO and headed by David Miliband. He was a member of the London Child Poverty Commission 2006-2010.

        In 2009, Professor Gregg completed a review of Personalised Support and Conditionality in the Welfare System for the UK Department of Work and Pensions. This helped devise government plans to reassess people receiving disability benefits, with the aim of supporting them, where possible, into work. (W)

      • Yeah, it always “childless adults” adults especially single guys that are the first to be thrown to the lions, marched to the gas chamber. It is this group that is always first in line to freeze to death on the street. That’s why I can’t blame folks for having kids (and lots of them). But now the bastards are moving towards taking the kids off of us and then we become “childless adults” as well. Having kid used to act as some sort of protection, a kind of “human shield” but sadly not any more.

    • @claire peach i know but i posted it as it showed what a bunch of grasping arseholes tesco are..

  23. This “kindly” attitude of Tesco is a turn up for the books, but I agree with you about their grubby motivation for asking people to donate to a foodbank. That’s a very interesting point about the location of their shops: people who use them would be disinclined to use them after a sentence of forced unpaid work at one of them.

    • Why dont tesco donate there past best before date food instead of skipping it ! Oh & when they do skip food they slash the packaging & pour bleach over it !

  24. Pingback: Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped | tesco | Scoop.it

  25. Why all the hoo-ha and mass media coverage over the EU stealing a few Euros out of Cypriot’s bank accounts when over in the UK our Government is busy stealing EVERY LAST PENNY from the bank account’s of jobseeker’s, some of the most impoverished members of society, and we do not here a whimper from the media.

  26. “Every family queuing at a foodbank is a family that didn’t shop in Tesco that week. The latest available figures suggest 680,000 benefit sanctions were handed out in the first 10 months of 2012. During the same period Tesco’s profits fell for the fist time in 20 years.”

    Johnny, that’s the sort of weak association you’d be railing against if, for example, it had come from the DWP. Correlation does not imply causation and I doubt it’s the case here.

    “They are simply attempting to ensure that if people are getting their food from foodbanks, then that food was bought in Tesco first.”

    That’s more like it.

    • I’m not meaning to suggest that one thing led directly to the other, just that they happened at the same time, which may have caused Tesco to consider outside economic factors, both during that period and in the future. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Tesco are crawling all over foodbanks, which also gives them a PR advantage when they put food prices up and they can say but look, we already feed the poor.

  27. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/29/asda-welfare-scheme-birmingham

    Sorry Tesco Walmart Asda has got the food voucher job in Birmingham.
    Fitting really, the Americans indirectly getting involved. Soon the Banks will be in on the gravy train like J P Morgan is in America

  28. rainbowwarriorlizzie

    Reblogged this on HUMAN RIGHTS & POLITICAL JOURNAL and commented:
    In Solidarity!

  29. “The Guardian also has a copy of a letter sent by a jobcentre employee last month to their local MP in the west of England: “Not only are there targets, the level of bullying and threats that some staff are under in some offices to sanction claimants is unprecedented,” the letter states.

    “As a consequence of the policy it seems that those claimants that do not understand the system … are most likely to have their benefits sanctioned as they are easy targets … there will be suicides over this, mark my words.”



  31. http://www.evictions-southeast.co.uk/
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    evictionssoutheast provides a fast and cost effective eviction service for both letting agents and directly to residential and commercial landlords.

    • Fast Reliable Eviction Service
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    “Throughout the process they [Evictions South East] were very knowledgeable and provided us with regular updates of the case status. Having a legal representative at the court gave us additional piece of mind and we went into the hearing expecting a positive outcome – they delivered on this as well!”
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  32. Capitalism is Cannabilism

  33. In response to the question about why an organisation doesn’t pay wages; it is the paperwork. An Intern/Work Experience/Voluntary person doesn’t have personnel records or a file in Payroll. They don’t have sickness/maternity or redundancy/sacking rights and so they don’t need to keep records for any sort of come-back such as an appeal against unfair dismissal. (Unions might like to remember this when posts become redundant in payroll or HR!). You will find getting a job reference from the organisation very hard, without naming a specific gang-master, because of this. [Frankly, most people are too ashamed to add this to their CV anyhow!]
    To be honest, participants are on shaky grounds as regards a good deal of Health and Safety legislation because it refers specifically to employees – and WE/volunteers/interns are not employed – merely giving their time & effort to benefit the organisation concerned! If you are not ‘registered’ as a contributor you would have to sue under the same conditions as guests to the premises do.

    • I am ashamed to say that I was in Tesco the other day, only because I had ran out of cat litter and none of the other local shop (when they are opne sell it). Anyway whilst there I saw someone in Tesco with a “Tesco Helper” badge stuck on their fleece. I ask you why who would voluntarily give up their time to “help” a multinational highly-profitable private, corporate FTSE 100 firm such as Tesco?

      • i posted up a link to an eviction services site and the info it carried which was rather slick and sick..i then posted another one to demonstrate that there was obviously more than one.in fact i saw quite a few..apart from the gut wrenching blurb i added the name http://www.evicthem.com which gives the impression that tenants are not people but something other like a nuisance..to be got rid of..after posting i had the usual
        ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ perhaps my posts dont fit with some sort of agenda or somethiing..

      • @Cat-lover, We do all have to shop somewhere but nearly everywhere is increasingly ‘in on it’ in some way. Not everyone is able to grow their own (fruit & veg) or has access to a cheap green-grocer/butcher/market within easy reach and supermarkets are ‘open all hours’. They are ‘convenient’ – that was why they were invented.

        At least by being in there you were able to ‘report back’ about what’s going on. I often look at ‘store assistants’ through stronger spectacles than before in all of the major shops now, and wonder who is actually an employee/an employee with some form of disability but has (because it’s what they wanted to do) found the job for themselves and so is paid, or … well, you already know the other possibilities.

  34. was at my local tesco in shirley solihull.. when i saw a guy loading up his little car with bags of food, on the car it mentioned the name of a food bank. didnt get the chance to ask him if the food was donated or bought.
    thoght it was an odd thing to see tho..

  35. “These is another reason why Tesco might oppose benefit sanctions however. Whilst Tesco are far from the cheapest shop, they are often the biggest in areas where there are high numbers of benefit claimants. A significant chunk of the UK’s social security budget ends up in the pockets of Tesco shareholders – along with small local businesses and the utilities companies – something George Osborne seems to have forgotten

    Every family queuing at a foodbank is a family that didn’t shop in Tesco that week. The latest available figures suggest 680,000 benefit sanctions were handed out in the first 10 months of 2012. During the same period Tesco’s profits fell for the fist time in 20 years.”

    A good point. I have said this many times myself. On a recent BBC Radio 5 Live phone in on the benefits payments card as proposed by the pillock Alec Shelbroke MP, one useful idiot, a shop keeper thought the benefit payment card was a good idea. Why? Because he saw many people on benefits buying fags and cheap booze rather than buying food and other items for their kids.

    Had I been able to get on the radio (I did try), I’d have reminded this shopkeeper that a substantial part of his profits, income and therefore lifestyle for he and his family relied on those people he criticised. Furthermore, if he were so aghast at people spending habits, he could stop selling alcohol and tobacco products within a month!

  36. A friend of mine 20yr old daughter had to do voluntary work at Tesco for six months as part of some government scheme she turned up every day and worked harder than most of the paid staff in the store. At the end of the six months they were told there were no vacancies. She went into the store the following week to find another intake from the Job centre so they are using scheme as a way to save money on wages

  37. https://twitter.com/Old_Holborn/status/318050044358045700

    British Libertarians still 100% loony (like their collectivist hero Ayn Rand and ‘Murkan Libertarians)

  38. I was born post war, I remember going to school with holes in the bottom of my shoes, you had one pair and only got a new pair when they were well and truly used. But I don’t ever remember food banks, food rationing, but not food banks. I’m getting really pissed off with running the gauntlet between the various charities rattling their tins at the supermarket exits, So now as the greatest taxed nation on earth we are expected to give to food banks. Now tell me, do they charge anything or is it food for free? And when Tescos along with the Trussell Trust, can anyone say how much the ‘charity trust’ director gets? his pension pot, his secretary and the administration of the FREEBIE food? Then why is it, with such high levels of unemployment and the welfare payments (hardly good them benefits) do we have being queuing at our borders to gain entry to the flea pit nation that we have become. As for bedroom tax – remember that housing benefit is paid on need, number in family, sex mix and age, there are lots of young families who can’t get larger homes, because some ONE (one \ two) is living in them, now answer what is fair? Queue up in Britain, homes for free, free food – where’s the free new clothes? There is something very wrong with our nation, it only needs to be sorted once for the future, else we will continue in the downward spiral with no sense of self worth, so why bother a couple more kids and ”nanny state’ much bemoaned provides.

  39. This can indicate that a watch has spent some or all of its life within the tropics and was not serviced as regularly as it should happen to be.

  40. Clueless muppet Gove should keep his prissy nose out & stick to the job he’s hopeless at – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2355262/Michael-Gove-attacks-parents-let-children-school-eating.html

  41. Pingback: Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit Sanctions As Profits Dipped | seachranaidhe1

  42. Pingback: Tesco Called on Government To Scrap Benefit San...

  43. And of course Tesco’s own research ‘demonstrates’ Food Poverty – http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=17&newsid=790

  44. I know someone who donated 8 weeks of their time to B&Q- they worked really really hard but nobody (out of 5) was given a job. B&Q obviously never had any vacancies or any intention of employing anyone at the end of the placement – all had been referred from the jobcentre at risk of losing benefits yet they STILL had to go through an ‘application’ process to get in the door. 6 weeks later I heard they had more people in doing the same. It’s sickening. Free labour for big companies is just a ridiculous idea.

    What have we come to in this country that we prop up banks and big business while people starve.

  45. Anyone going on them workfare slave labour and working for nothing,should steal offa them then,do a bit of shop lifting,lmfao.

  46. It’s truly a great and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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