The statement goes on to say: “We continue to support entirely voluntary work experience programmes, in particular those for the young, the disabled and ex-military. We define ‘entirely voluntary’ as programmes where candidates will not lose any benefits where they do not participate in the programme, and normally candidates are paid to complete this experience. We do not support programmes if attendance is mandatory for benefits to be retained, for example Workfare.”
It is unclear whether this means they are still involved in the Government’s Work Experience programme. When the workfare row broke out at the beginning of last year the DWP was forced to make Work Experience officially ‘voluntary’. Unfortunately due to the current regime at the DWP nothing can be said to be voluntary anymore as claimants live in permanent fear of losing benefits the moment they put a foot wrong.
Claimants who refuse voluntary workfare can simply be sent on Mandatory Work Activity somewhere else instead. Whilst the DWP continues to use benefit sanctions to punish claimants – with 2.25 million benefit sanctions imposed since this Government weren’t elected – then no Jobcentre run scheme is voluntary.
And even if someone does ‘volunteer’ to work unpaid for a private company it should still be resisted. Wetherspoons are not a charity and have no right to be exploiting young people’s fear of unemployment to trick them ‘volunteering’ to increase the profit they make. Every worker deserves a wage.
Clarification is needed from Wetherspoons on their true position on workfare. And whilst they’re at it they can have a fucking word with themselves for allowing their pubs to be used as EDL social clubs.
Wetherspoons are on twitter @jdwtweet and on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/wetherspoon/168018523150
To join the fight against unpaid work visit Boycott Workfare.
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid