Following the excellent blog post that revealed workfare at the Jubilee, today the Guardian exposed the full shocking story of the conditions faced by workfare stewards and security guards at the Queen’s Jubilee. Unfortunately this story would not be a surprise to those carrying out workfare at Argos.
Earlier this year, Argos admitted it was using forced unpaid work to cover its “busiest time of year”. Then under pressure from the public and media, Argos said it would suspend its involvement in workfare. However, we have been contacted by someone forced to work in an Argos store in the East of England whose story shows that Argos is back at it, and intent on getting as much free work from unemployed people as possible…
I just thought I’d tell you that I’m currently being forced to do mandatory work experience at Argos. They have three of us and we were doing 10 hours extra a week more than any member of staff at our level so they’re obviously doing it so they don’t have to give overtime to their current members of staff.
It was only when I phoned up Seetec and complained about the amount of hours extra we were doing compared to everyone else that they cut us down to 16 hours, it makes you wonder how many other people who are too scared to speak out against it are doing huge amounts of hours for no pay.
Seetec failed to contact me about the placement at Argos until 20 minutes before I actually had to be there (my Seetec advisor’s excuse for not letting me know sooner was that she was in Barcelona on holiday, must be nice for some)!
I was sent by Seetec to do work experience, they told me there was a job at the end of it and that I could quit at any time if I wanted, but I have received nothing in writing about the placement and was threatened with loss of benefits if I quit it. As soon as I turned up at Argos they said there were no vacancies at the moment.
I’m doing it for four weeks but when I started there was a person that was referred directly by the jobcentre who was doing it for six weeks.
My advisor at Seetec was very patronising over the phone and I could tell she thought I was a ‘jobseeking scrounger’ as you must well know people in my position experience when it comes to signing on.
Since Argos found out that if they get people from Seetec they only get us 16 hours a week, they’ve moved to other work providers as they will give people over for 30 hours a week.
So they’ve got two more people starting next week to cover the lack of hours from the current work experience people. Really shows they’re going out of their way so they don’t have to pay people to work there.
Want to let Argos know what you think?
- Email them via their website
- Leave a message on their Facebook page.
- Tweet what you think to @Argos_Online
- Or call their Head Office (01908 690333) or Customer Services (01785 710253)
It really does have an impact. Last week online action convinced Body Shop to pull out of workfare!