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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Miserable Christmas for workfare staff at Asda

Posted: January 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Name and shame, Personal accounts, Uncategorized | Tags: | 7 Comments »

Boycott Workfare has consistently pointed out that if people are placed in mandated unpaid work on threat of losing even the tiny income of £53/week benefits, they are in a position where they can easily be exploited. This account from a young person in mandatory “work experience” at Asda shows that companies are quick to take advantage of this situation. Workfare workers were forced to work Christmas eve and New Year’s eve while paid workers were sent home:

I’m one of the DWP work experience lot at Asda. The store has been sending home paid workers early and using workfare workers. The store has somewhere between 10 and 15 people on DWP work experience. Not long after my group started work paid staff started mentioning people being sent home early while work experience people were kept in (and a second group of five or six work experience people was actually taken on a couple of weeks ago). At the same time everyone from the managers and team leaders down were talking about large overspends on stock. All of the work experience people that I know personally are working christmas eve and new year’s eve and while I’m not exactly in a position to know exactly what the rosters are for those days it seems pretty unlikely that they’re going to have normal levels of paid staff working on extra pay when they apparently can’t afford to pay them all normal wages in the course of a regular week.

Read another account of supermarket exploitation over Christmas here.


7 Comments on “Miserable Christmas for workfare staff at Asda”

  1. 1 Boycott Workfare in Kings Heath | Birmingham Against The Cuts said at 3:35 pm on February 12th, 2012:

    [...] These placements are full time, and can last for up to 6 months. Meanwhile, people are finding hours cut or paid jobs lost, as companies use people on workfare schemes for [...]

  2. 2 Tesco’s Secret Workfare Slaves | the void said at 3:36 pm on February 16th, 2012:

    [...] Tesco (and ASDA) are forcing workers to work nights, for which they would usually pay their paid employers a [...]

  3. 3 All’s fare in love and (class) war | York Anarchists Blog said at 3:48 pm on February 27th, 2012:

    [...] to undermine paid workers in order to cut costs, as happened over Christmas when a branch of Asda sent home its paid workers early, relying on “work experience” staff to pick up the [...]

  4. 4 Christmas Advert Chaos Begins – The Monitors said at 6:43 pm on November 8th, 2012:

    [...] ad, featuring a Mum slaving away without assistance in preperation for the big day like, well, an unpaid Workfare shelf-stacker , is sexist. The Drum asked a selection of ‘creatives’ (or ‘people who work in the [...]

  5. 5 Workfare Week of action kicks off tomorrow! Brighton Benefits Campaign picket Saturday 8th December. | Hastings Anarchists said at 6:09 pm on December 7th, 2012:

    [...] We’ve had reports that Argos and Superdrug are systematically replacing paid Christmas staff with workfare. They’re not the only ones. Asda was definitely at it this time last year. http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=306 [...]

  6. 6 Workfare Week of action kicks off tomorrow! Brighton Benefits Campaign picket Saturday 8th December. « Wessex Solidarity said at 11:16 pm on December 7th, 2012:

    [...] We’ve had reports that Argos and Superdrug are systematically replacing paid Christmas staff with workfare. They’re not the only ones. Asda was definitely at it this time last year. http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=306 [...]

  7. 7 ASDA Are Austerity Profiteers – Boycott Them! | the void said at 9:31 am on April 2nd, 2013:

    [...] surprising.  ASDA are well known for also forcing people to work in their stores without pay.  A post on Boycott Workfare’s website reveals how ASDA took on unpaid workers to deal with the Christmas rush and even forced people to [...]


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