This person’s experience on workfare placements from the Work Programme is typical:
I was forced onto a Work/Slave Placement for four months for Bookers Wholesale through Work Programme provider Prospects.
At the start I thought I would get a job at the end of it, how wrong I was. The manager said to me, “Work hard and we will employ you”. Another gentleman named James, who must have been in his 40s, was sent from Prospects about 6 weeks earlier than me so I could base on what happened to him at the end an idea of what would happen to me.
The first day was horrible. They sent me in the chill room to work with no fleece or gloves. Apparently there were none. I noticed the other staff not doing any hard jobs, making me do hard lifting. They were being paid and not doing as hard work as me. The more I saw this the more resentful I became.
When James left before me they didn’t offer him a job. I asked the manager about it and he said they would offer James a Saturday job if anything was available. “He is 40, not 14” I thought. James told me he asked them and they had said they would employ him. The turning point came when two brothers who worked there part-time were sacked for stealing some alcohol. I thought “job for me and James” but then I noticed they employed the brother of someone that worked there.
Prospects job hunts were disgusting, they treated us like children. James told me one of the women talked to him like he was 5 all because his bus was late. Being the bigger man he dismissed it, it’s amazing how someone could manage it.
Near the end Prospects told us to ask our slave masters about volunteering for one day a week. I asked the manager just to see what he would say. He said there are no jobs but you could continue as you are, like “You wont employ me but you will use me as slave labour??? “ I couldn’t be bothered to say anything, I just left in disgust.
The last week I had 2 days left out of my 5 to take off (James took none), I said to Prospects “I’m taking the days off”, they said “What if they are counting on you to be there?” I just laughed and said “If they are, then employ me!” They tried to force me to go, but I yelled “You’re supposed to find me a job not turn me in to a slave!!“