Virgin Media are the latest company to sacrifice their public image to benefit from unpaid workers on Government schemes. According to the company, employing young people on Traineeships and paying them nothing can bring “corporate and commercial opportunities”.
The shocking admission comes in a leaflet advertising the Traineeship programme (pdf), which can involve up to six months work without pay. They have been designed to ‘prepare’ young people for an ‘apprenticeship’ at below the minimum wage and participants are often not even offered one of these at the end of the scheme. Instead they are given an ‘exit interview’ to pat them on the heads for all their unpaid work.
As pointed out by @boycottworkfare, unpaid work on Traineeships is not yet mandatory, although no doubt many Jobcentre advisors will try and pretend they are. They may soon be right. George Osborne announced in his Autumn Statement that in future people under the age of 21 who refuse some form of workfare in the corporate sector will be sent on an even longer workfare scheme with a charity instead. With the latest workfare scheme appearing to be in chaos, it remains to be seen if this particular threat will ever be fully carried out.
In the meantime Virgin Media seem quite happy with the new arrangements and say they will be recruiting unpaid workers on an ongoing basis. This is hardly surprising, according to the leaflet Traineeships were ‘developed in response to business needs’ and can help ‘build the workforce required for business success’. Virgin Media Loves not paying wages and that’s the name of their new twitter campaign. Let them know what you think @VMLoves
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