The DWP’s new Minister of Death Priti Patel last night handed out an award to a company who pays just 11 pence an hour more than the minium wage to staff in a supervisory role whilst retail staff on Apprenticeships earn just £2.68 per hour.
Patel was the main speaker at the annual awards ceremony held by the Employment Related Service Association (ERSA), the trade body established to lie of behalf of the welfare to work sector. Every year the likes of G4S and A4e gather for a slap up meal at a luxury London venue to celebrate another year of fleecing the tax payer and dole out awards to employers who have helped them gain ‘job outcome’ payments.
This year’s Large Employer of the Year award went to Poundbakery, a not very large employer who run a chain of bakery shops. Accrding to ERSA, this was for demonstrating “exceptional commitment in creating opportunities for disadvantaged and long term unemployed jobseekers.”
Some of those ‘”fantastic and rare” opportunities involved working in one of their shops on the Apprenticeship scheme for as little as £2.68 p/hr for 24 hours a week. These apprenticeships could last for up to two years, reflecting the length of time it takes to train people to sell loaves of bread rather than just being an excuse for the company to dodge minimum wage laws. Or at least that’s what grasping employers claim to ensure this grotesque exploitation remains legal.
Other vacancies for the company ask for people with “ideally some retail management experience” to work as supervisors for the princely sum of £6.61 an hour, just 11 pence more than the minimum wage.
You might have thought that the welfare-to-work industry would want to give awards to ethical employers, who pay at least the Living Wage, but sadly this is far from the case. Previously the Large Employer award has gone to companies involved in unpaid schemes such Greggs and B&M Stores who will be the target of workfare protests later this month. It is unclear whether Poundbakery also making use of Jobcentre programmes providing free labour, but with their retail assistants working for the pittance of £64 a week, they hardly fucking have to.
Bakers everywhere can fight for better wages by contacting the Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union
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