Week of Action Against Workfare Starts Early As Marks & Spencer Bombarded With Boycott Threats

mands-workfareHundreds of people bombarded Marks & Spencer on social media last night after the company boasted of their use of workfare earlier in the week.

The company were forced to lock down their facebook page in an attempt to silence criticism and are now preventing people from posting on their wall.  This has simply led to people leaving hundreds of comments threatening to boycott the company on their gaudy posts advertising over-priced food instead.

The ‘workfare party on the M&S facebook page’ as one person described it seems to be holding strong this morning whilst the company haven’t fared any better on twitter where they can be found @marksandspencer

Things are not likely to get any better for the company with a Week of Action Against Workfare beginning this Saturday where they will face further protests along with other greedy companies who don’t pay their staff.

As well as online and offline action targeting workfare exploiters the week will also see people leafleting Jobcentres and providing information to claimants about their rights.

The latest announced events are below.  Join in and contact contact Boycott Workfare to be added to the list.

Brighton – Poundland London Road, 12 pm Saturday 13th

Edinburgh – to come

Glasgow – meet outside M&S on Argyle Street, 1pm Saturday 13th July
(note link isn’t working for all, but details above are right!)

London – Hackney – Marks and Spencers, Hackney Narrow Way, Saturday 13th https://www.facebook.com/events/181572138678606/?context=create

London – Brixton – Infostall outside Brixton Job Centre, Brixton Road, from 11am (to about 1-2pm) on Wednesday 10th July https://www.facebook.com/events/486042374807869/

Sheffield – Town Hall, 1pm Saturday 6th July

Let the workfare profiteers know: If you exploit us, we will shut you down!

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

99 responses to “Week of Action Against Workfare Starts Early As Marks & Spencer Bombarded With Boycott Threats

  1. Pingback: Week of Action Against Workfare Starts Early As...

  2. Arbeitsscheu_UK

    This is M&S’ definition of social networking – do as they please and any criticism can be swept under the carpet as it will blow over in a couple of days. This demonstrates that these dinosaurs have little more understanding of the Internet that they do of current retailing.
    Oh how the mighty fall….but Legends are supposed to die young, like Monroe and James Dean, not publicly convulse in their death throws a century on.

  3. Hmmmm Marks and spencer, the New IG Farben…surely the Jews Remember the exploitation and free use of slave labour…short memories.

  4. OFF TOPIC- can anybody please advise me i have just had my contract terminated due to fustration of contract, i have been off work with stress and depression, whilst i am fully aware the employer has the right to termainate at any time because it was a 6 month probationary period, i still have 3 weeks to run on my current sick note.

    Where will i stand for benifits as i am still unfit for work and as the termination isnt due to gross missconduct or volunarily leaveing the position but to fustration of contract will i still face the possibility of sanction?
    I got this of CAB
    What does not count as dismissal – frustration of contract

    Frustration of contract happens when an employee cannot fulfil their contractual obligations because of an unforeseen change of circumstances. If a contract has been frustrated, this means that it no longer exists and neither the employer nor the employee has any obligations under it. There is therefore no dismissal.

    The two most common ways in which a contract may be frustrated are long-term sickness or injury of the employee, and imprisonment of the employee.

    It is common for employers to claim that the employment contract has been frustrated when they are actually dismissing an employee unfairly. If your employer is trying to claim the contract has been frustrated.

  5. As my disability prevents me from attending a demo I am going to ring them up to let them know I will no longer shop there. I shall also e-mail them.

  6. Marks & Spencer Annual General Meeting – Wembley Stadium, Wembley London on Tues 9 July 2013 at 11 am. I think it would be more effective to protest there.

  7. John J,
    I am no expert so check with everyone that has those expert skills.
    However, why not just let your employer know how poorly you are and that you won’t be coming back to work. Then, go onto ESA as they will not let you sign on to JSA if you are poorly.

    • something survived...

      Strange, that; as I’m disabled, have health conditions and am currently sick on top of that. Despite all that, I can’t get DLA/PIP, IS, ESA, etc.; and am forced to sign on and do work programme. Forced to be on JSA though am not ‘fit for work’. Did Atos questions online to see how many points I’d get, was very tough on myself, still automatically got 45 points. Enough to be in the Support Group of ESA 3 times over! WPP lying to JCP that I’m ‘ablebodied’, just as JCP lies to WPP’s it’s sending ‘ablebodied’ people to work programme, and WPP lies to workfare companies it’s sending ‘ablebodied’ people to workfare when it’s actually sending disabled people. Partly because the companies running workfare want to not be a ‘health hazard’, no employment contract as workfare slaves are not covered by insurance, not paid, no SSP, not in unions, not in workers’ rights. And to claim everyone on workfare is ablebodied. And so that they are not ‘knowingly’ (sic) employing (sic) disabled people in dangerous jobs, so that if they get hurt/sick at work they can blame the SLAVE for their illness or injury. ‘They didn’t say they were disabled’, even when this is obvious and/or the slave has stated they are disabled.

  8. Sorry John, I note that you have already had you contract terminated.
    Still, ring up for ESA straight away!!!!

  9. Obi Wan Kenobi

    John J:

    Jobcentre national phone number: 0845 6088556

    They will be able to help you, and help you make your benefits claim.

  10. Many thanks everybody What i really want to know is do the DWP have grounds to sanction when i make the claim? as this is not dismissal.
    And i thought i have to wait 3 days now before makeing any claim for esa?.

    • Hi John J, Ring the new claims benefit line as soon as possible:-

      0800 055 6688

      You have to wait several days for them to send out the forms for you to fill in and send back, so don’t delay.

      Make sure you backdate your claim from when your employer stopped paying you. Go and see your Doctor and get a new sick note to send off with your claim form.

      It will take about 3 weeks for them to process this so do it straight away.

      All The Best,

      LIndsay x

    • John,J The DWP do a assessment over the phone then send you the form to sign. Just make sure you have all your answers ready. For example, why did your job finish? Because, I have been poorly for a while and the employer felt that it would not be fair to keep my job open as I am not getting any better. Do not assume you will get sanctioned, especially, as you will be claiming ESA. You are not fit for work!!!!!
      Good luck.

  11. Hi, you can post on the M&S wall, you need to click on the ‘highlights’ button at the top of the timeline so you can see ‘posts by others’

    • I didn’t know you could do that, will have to remember it for other pages.

      However it still doesn’t negate the fact that they removed the original section “other posts” which was more obvious and was becomming quite full of posts about its use of workfare via the Princes trust who are I believe signed up to it.

  12. I buy a lot of my clothes from M&S and some food so this is disappointing to hear. I have to say though that I recently bought a suit from there and the checkout woman was very rough with the way she handled it i.e wrapped it was not as you normally get/expect in that store. I wondered afterwards if this woman was a Workfare participant? I ended up returning it as I was not pleased with the sloppy service.

    I think they risk damaging their reputation if they employ ‘forced’ labour who don’t have any pride in their job/don’t want to be there, like that woman that dealt with me recently. Put me off!

    • This is what far too many employers fail to see – pay people badly, (or don’t pay them at all) and the service provided by the workers isn’t going to be the best. Pay people a decent rate for the job increases the sense of individual self-worth that translates into the worker providing a service that is good. It doesn’t always follow, as you always get those who are pretty rubbish, but most of the time people who are valued, and feel valued will provide a good service.

  13. LowerClassPeasant

    Hope someone can help me 🙂
    Where is the best website to get advise on best practice for someone aged 36, on income support/illness from 2008- 2012 then esa 2012-2013. Soon to be on work related activity group, I’m not appealing the atos decision, as many are sicker than me, so I’m now stuck in the quagmire of potential workfare hell.. What is the first thing I should do when meeting the jc advisor having been on sickness benefits since 2008 etc etc?

    Are there any legally correct leaflets,sites that detail my legal rights and what should I do to avoid workfare legally as I really don’t fancy slave labour right now. I wouldn’t mind trying if I was earning even minimum wage, but I don’t fancy being in a void.

    • overburdenddonkey

      lowerclass…if you feel that you cannot do something…make good use of the word no, and mean it…..don’t agree to do anything that you are not ready to do….see blacktriangle site…

    • You might try the Umemloyment Movement forum. Plenty of clued-up people there.

      • LowerClassPeasant

        Thanks, Sundstein.

        • something survived...

          Say you are happy to do workfare if it is untrained and unsupervised work ‘fixing Iain Duncan Smith’s car’. [crashing noise]

          • LowerClassPeasant

            Please don’t give me such thoughts. I’m already wondering if I can become a professional business saboteur.

          • Iain Duncan Smith

            Address to the Unemployed, the Sick, and the Disabled

            My name is Iain Duncan Smith,
            And I am here to say
            That I am Lord of all the Sith
            And you can’t get away.
            I’ll starve you, and I’ll beat you,
            I’ll spit you on a steeple,
            At last I will defeat you,
            You horrid little people!

            You think you’ve got the best of me
            But I know all your lies,
            I’m cunning as the wily flea,
            My dark star’s on the rise.
            I’ll kick you, and I’ll bite you,
            I’ll boil you in a stew,
            I’ll slight you and I’ll spite you,
            And what are you to do?

            Though I’m rich as was old Croesus
            And live in some estate
            Some call me the Creeping Jesus,
            It’s me they love to hate.
            I’ll slap you, and I’ll clutch you,
            I’ve got you in my claw,
            If Law says I can’t touch you
            Why then I’ll change the law.

            The Devil’s in you, plain to see,
            And I will drive him out,
            I and my sturdy DWP,
            Of that there is no doubt.
            I’ll scratch you, and I’ll slice you,
            I’ll shoot you with my gun,
            In less time than a trice you
            Will find your race is run.

            And when I’m done this blessed isle
            Will flow with milk and honey,
            And I can add to my great pile
            A hill of fresh new money.
            I’ll punch you, and I’ll butt you,
            You won’t know right from wrong,
            I’ll hook you and I’ll gut you
            Until you’re good and gone!

  14. Don’t know if anyone else on here has posted this,.The lord Fraud fuckwit on foodbanks – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/04/lord-freud-food-banks

    • No it’s not but being in the house of lords is a way to get a subsidised lunch.

      • That last reply was in answer to Lord Freud stating ” going to a foodbank is a way to get a free lunch”.

        • something survived...

          Fraud is thick. He doesn’t even know how to get foodbank food, though he is making the policies that control the lives of the poor. Idiot.
          Foodbank: You have to be referred.
          JCP: We refuse to refer you.
          Foodbank: No food then!
          As for free lunch: if given a can of beans and no can opener, no cooker, in the middle of the day while walking in town – you still get no lunch.

          What if your ‘free supper’, and the entirety of the food bank, is meat? And you’re vegetarian? That still counts as a food bank session though you got no food, and you only get 3 food bank sessions.

  15. Rosemarie Harris

    There you have it… The answer by JD just do what this Assistant did and their profits will soon suffer lol !
    This is one way to get your own back.Don’t just take it fight back

    • Rosemarie Harris

      To clarify I don’t buy clothes that often actually but when I do I find quality tends to be cheaper in the long term.

      The way she tossed my £160 suit into a carrier then dropped a dirty pair of shoes on top of it (unwrapped) left a lot to be desired I thought. I am sure when they receive them from their supplier they are very well protected. I have bought suits in the past years from them and they used to come in a suit bag now it seems they’re just tossed into any old carrier like a bag of laundry. Very sloppy.

  16. just had a response off M&S slave exploiters….Conversation started Wednesday

    Glynis Millward
    can you tell me why you have removed ALL the comments and concerns about workfare…

    Marks and Spencer
    Hi Glynis, as you can see from our wall there are a number of posts about this still on the wall. We have only removed comments if they contain inappropriate language. We’re more than happy for customers to express their views on the page, but we do ask they are suitable for a general audience. Thanks also for your comments about our new scheme, ‘Make Your Mark’. By working with The Prince’s Trust, our aim is to help young people build the skills they need for the retail industry to get them into sustainable jobs. The initiative is not affiliated with any government scheme and M&S has invested in the training provided by youth charity The Prince’s Trust to boost the skills and employability of young people. The participants are there purely to learn and get experience and are not replacing any other role. We aim to help them get valuable training and build their skills and confidence, whilst still keeping their benefits. Ultimately we aim to offer many of them a paid job. For more information on this scheme, please take a look at our full press release. Thanks. http://bit.ly/12zeF2L.

    Glynis Millward
    Thank you for your response, the latter part of which is automated (based on your responses to other posts)
    The crux of the matter is that M&S a multi billion pound turnover company IS NOT paying those workers; as I have previously stated, by not paying the workers (who are in effect funded by the tax payer by way of JSA) M&S escape paying PAYE income tax, Class 1 NIC (employers and employees contributions) this in turn decreases the amount of profit upon which corporation tax is payable, so in effect M&S is robbing the tax payer twice!
    I am really disappointed in the stance of M&S on this issue

  17. Eric Greenwood

    was at st georges hall for the jobs fair it pays to work, 7 apprenticeship agencies, 4 colleges, the work programme work experience scheme.. all useless as i am 40. but it was another go or else by the dwp 200 people plus queuing up outside.

    • Yeah, my lad went to one of these…

      One of the “apprenticeships” was as a “kitchen assistant” in a small local cafe :-/

      Seriously I can understand a real apprenticeship say at Rolls Royce or the like where over time you will gain not only experience but also qualifications and real training in fields such as accounting, draftsmanship, cad/cam, cnc, etc…

      But what sort of additional training do you get to get in a small cafe? Sod all! Its just a way to legally reduce the wages bill through a reduced hourly rate and a kick back from the governement…. which is disgusting.

    • Obi Wan Kenobi

      Without mentioning the Citys name, would that be the St Georges Hall opposite the Queens pub.

    • something survived...

      jobcentre forces me to go to careers events that invariably turn out to be apprenticeships/workfare or internships, all for young people only. And nothing for disabled either as all are for ablebodied people only. Often you also have to be a driver as the job involves driving or is in the middle of nowhere. Jobcentre is so out of touch that (even after being told) it still sends people on JSA (at signing on) to an agency/scheme for the unemployed. However when you go to the scheme, they tell you that nobody on JSA is allowed on it! You tell the jobcentre, and the jobcentre respond by trying to stop your dole – because they sent you somewhere you aren’t allowed to go! I wonder who the scheme is for, as you have to be ablebodied (no ESA) and not in work etc. So do they mean people not on any benefits who live at home with their parents?
      Jobcentre sent me before to a volunteer bureau who said you are too disabled. When Jobcentre sent me to Remploy, Remploy said the exact same thing. Jobcentre is also pushing people to join the army!!!!! You can’t join if you are disabled (if you even agree with war in the first place), and most of the ‘ablebodied’ people being told or mandated to apply, are too sedentary/obese/unfit to do the medical and the physical tests/assault courses etc, and a lot are not able to do the basic literacy/etc. exams to get in. Not to mention that the lowest rank, private, where they might accept a ‘bottom score/pass’ on the intelligence or skills tests, has an age limit so you can’t even apply if you are over it. AND since JCPs aren’t in the business of handing out free meals to build us up, people attempting to pass the medicals and assault courses and so on, on JSA, will be doing so after years of starvation and malnutrition, and perhaps/likely while actually starving. I’ve been asked a couple of times. Reiterated that I’m a pacifist (did not mention ‘anarchist, and chronically allergic to being yelled at by a div/rupert with some fucking stripes on his shoulder’). Also wondered that how Remploy said ‘go away you are too disabled for us to work with you’, if I’m suddenly apparently brilliant material (read ‘cannon fodder’) for the military? According to the military’s own promotional literature, I’m meant to apply to be an officer, based on age, life experience, higher skillset, blah blah blah. And of course higher qualifications (did you forget I’m disabled?). Even if they forced me to do it I’m not happy about yelling at people especially to do stupid pointless shit, or to fight stupid pointless wars. Not even going into the macho bullying culture, institutional racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, jingoism/xenophobia, ablism, bullying-related suicides, rape and sexual assault cases, homophobia, its EDL contingent….
      (At one point in history most of those killed in wars were the combatants. Now most killed are civilians.)
      Oh (and this applies too if you are neutral or pro-military) – the armed forces are included in the Cuts; and perhaps thousands of military personnel are in the process of being, have been, or will be, laid off.
      Adding to the ‘Worklessness’ (sic) figures. Possibly they will/should (!) be happy to work stacking shelves at Asda or Tesco? And if so what was the point of all their training, including training for skilled jobs/higher ranks? And all the ‘necessary’ taxpayers’ money spent on that training?
      You really don’t need much training for putting beans on a shelf. It is really intellectually stimulating work (!) and you could be doing it the rest of your life. Enjoy.

      Funnily enough, when forced to apply by JCP to supermarkets for these excellent career opportunities (!), I have been given all the following reasons why I’m not suitable:
      -Too old; too intelligent; too skilled; too overqualified; too long on benefits; too non-driving; too disabled; too short; too light; etc.
      As a customer now it’s about 9 times out of 10 that when I ask a member of staff where an item is (they change the position of goods all the time),
      they have no idea where it is. I’d suggest that if actually training people, this knowledge could be part of their training? This even happens in small shops with hardly any customers. The staff can’t have looked hard around their own store to know what they do or don’t sell, and often can’t help you. As there are few customers, it makes you wonder what the staff do all day. I think they do have an instructional DVD, but it’s called ‘Rogue Traders’. You know, the building etc. firms that get secretly filmed charging hundreds of pounds for botched or no work, while sitting around doing nothing. It’s not meant to be copied!

  18. Fabulous response!
    It’s a shame as I really do love M&S, especially their underwear, but this really is unacceptable.

    • wonder who will win wimbledon ?? hmmm

      • something survived...

        I like the Python episode where the Scotsman in a kilt was in a wimbledon final versus a giant blancmange from outer space. My money’s on the blancmange.

  19. Obi Wan Kenobi


    You can’t put avatar pictures like that on here – you’ll be getting all the guy’s hot and bothered and maybe a few of the women too!

  20. Reblogged this on this 'n that and commented:
    M&S? Workfare is yet another con to reduce the unemployment level. And, it stinks to high heaven. So where is the Labour Party? Thinking how they can be more Tory than the Tories?

  21. This is as bad as some of the dreadful rubbish work placements given to teenage school pupils. But at least M&S commemorate it on their new bag http://tjrh.eu/twitter/1.jpg

    • I read on a previous forum that a few Yrs ago marks and start program were recruiting school kids..what the eff is that about ? And homeless? If you have no address how can they take you on ?

  22. something survived...

    This is not monkey puke, this is M&S monkey puke.

  23. M&S… Master & Slave, what’s your favourite?

  24. Why are Johnny void followers being accused of violent behaviour on LRS. ?

  25. Not a rascist but hate blacks, how nice of you. You are however a narcissist, in every definition of the word. Do not bother replying, as I will not feed your, delusional, self loving, garbage tip that passes in your interpretation of an opinion.

  26. Is this scheme similar to the one where they were recruiting school kids and what was the deal on their PLAN A scheme ?

  27. Stupid Labour

    The feckless group of dumb right-wing pseudo-tory students that make up Labour these days:

    https://twitter.com/jordannewell/status/352843855445491715 (replies in thread)

  28. Stupid Labour

    No wonder they’re not against workfare.

  29. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Off Topic but relevant info on UJM:

    DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
    Annex A

    e-mail: freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

    Our Ref: 2991

    02 July 2013

    Guidance current at 28 June 2013.

    Chapter 03 – Using Universal Jobmatch (UJ)

    Claimant has agreed a pattern of availability of less than 24 hours per week.

    101. Where a claimant has agreed a pattern of availability on their JSAg of less than 24 hours per week and the hours recorded on the job are clearly less than 16 hours per week, you cannot notify the claimant to apply for the job.

    102. However, if the hours of the job were not recorded by the company you can notify them to apply for the job if the job is recorded as part time.

    103. Where a claimant has agreed a pattern of availability on their JSAg of 17 hours per week and the hours recorded on the job are 20 hours per week, you cannot notify the claimant to apply for the job.

    DWP Freedom of Information Request Team.






  31. Obi Wan Kenobi

    There’s just been a motion in the house of commons for said house to sit in private – it has been defeated.

  32. Hello.

    Just back from the jobcentre, where this new adviser has just ‘threatened’ a sanction doubt die to that fact that i found no vacancies to apply for this last fortnight. I told her that is not sanctionable, but she said that will be up to the decision maker! I said it’s jobseekers allownance not jobapplication allowance!
    She is under the orders and unlike the other decent advisers who aren’t total drones, this new one is. Shame! It’s all to do with the fact I haven’t gone on the UJM yet.
    She made me an appointment where i am to be interrogated by some random person next week!
    I guess I will be geteting one of those ‘jobseekers directions’ to make an account. Oh well.

    One resisits the tyranny as best one can, but it seems like resistance is futile. I wont be allowing them access though.

    I suggested that perhaps I should just lie and apply for any old job whether or not is says experience essential.
    We aren’t even human to the drones. They are just following ze orderz.

    Schnell, schnell!

    Sick society! Well, a lot of it anyway.

    • Another Fine Mess

      “I suggested that perhaps I should just lie and apply for any old job whether or not is says experience essential.”

      That unfortunately, is EXACTLY what you/we have too. We’re all in the same sinking boat.

      • Quite right! Common sense has long departed from this country and as you rightly say you have no choice but to waste employers and your own time applying for jobs that you aren’t really suited to and know you will not get. I hope employers will understand that it is the dimwits in charge that are responsible for wasting their time not the poor old jobseeker with his back against the wall.

      • Another Fine Mess

        If anyone’s asked/forced to ring up companies ‘on spec’ always say you’re calling from jobcenter or WP provider, so they know where to complain to.

      • Ha! During our little exchange my adviser said this to me, it’s been said before by WP drones too, she said ‘We’re all in the same boat’.

        I replied, ‘Really? You are that side of the desk earning a wage and I’m this side struggling, how is that the same boat?’. She didn’t have an answer.
        My lack of applications on many fortnights has often been accepted by most of the JC advisers. Just this one was a bit over zealous.
        I await my appointment to ‘discuss’ this matter next week with interest.

        They stress me out a little, but they don’t intimidate me one little bit.
        I don’t tolerate bullies, they often find this out quite quickly.
        After being sanctioned for 7 and a half months i really don’t care anymore. i’ll survive, it’ll be a struggle, but I will have a roof and a meal.
        Just not much else! Good thing I’m not greedy.

        So many psychopaths doing these jobs too. It’s quite unbelievable.

        Stay strong people.

    • They probably want you to be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon or something.

      People are wasting their time applying for jobs they’ll never get. It’s just a total comedy – or tragedy.

  33. How comes my post is showing before that one even thouygh it’s a day later? Lol.

    Great site BTW. Good work! My typing is a bit off today. Stress I guess.

  34. There are one or two rather obnoxious people on here, are there not? These individuals seem to want to provoke everyone else here. Free speech and all that I know but, it can be only taken so far before it becomes tedious. Perhaps the ladies/gentlemen concerned would like to toddle off and, find a new group of people to bore stiff? Or, join the Conservative party where their views would be welcomed wih open arms. Until they too got so bored with the inane verbiage that the party told them to “go away”.

    • YAWN Yeah nothin worse than a boring bastard himself telling other people is there. why dont you “toddle off” you boring twathead

    • you sound like a tory twat youself anyway this is johnnyvoids site not yours so fuck off yourself don’t tell people to go away from his site you wanker.

  35. Pingback: Week of Action Against Workfare Starts Early As Marks & Spencer Bombarded With Boycott Threats

  36. Obi Wan Kenobi

    Sanctions regime tables for Jobseeker’s Allowance (current).

    Click to access jsa-sanction-changes.pdf

  37. If offered a Workfare placement is it mandatory to accept? Obviously you could refuse and be sanctioned but in legal terms are you within your rights to formally refuse?

  38. Pingback: Is M&S Workfare Scheme Illegal? | the void

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