Marks and Spencer’s mealy mouthed response to criticism over their use of mass workfare has prompted the company to furiously deny that the scheme is anything to do with the DWP.
Whilst this piles yet more humiliation on hapless Iain Duncan Smith – who is fast running out of friends – it also appears to be an admission from the company that their workfare scheme is illegal.
As has been repeatedly pointed out this week by @BoycottWorkfare, so called ‘work experience’ programmes are only exempt from the minimum wage laws if they are government backed schemes.
This hasn’t stopped some of the UK’s largest companies flouting the laws with flaky unpaid work experience jobs or internships. Several of those interns have been successful in claiming money back from the companies who expected them to work for free. They have had an unlikely ally in the tax office, who even have a special hotline for people to discuss possible breaches of minimum wage laws at: https://www.gov.uk/pay-and-work-rights-helpline
The Government themselves issue very clear guidance to employers on whether the minimum wage laws should apply. It is clear from these guidelines that four weeks stacking shelves at Marks and Sparks for no pay is almost certainly illegal.
M&S not only hope to save a cool £1 million in wages due to their use of unpaid workers, but have even been attempting to try and use it as a PR strategy to show how much they care about young unemployed people. That hasn’t worked out well for the greedy wage thieves who have been bombarded on social media with people outraged at the company’s gross exploitation.
Spread the word and make sure they know that if they exploit us, then we will shut them down (and grass them up to the tax office).
For all the latest news on this week’s action against workfare keep an eye on: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid