Dial-A-Provider Day 2: A Private Call

Dial-a-provider! Image: Kristian Dela Cour / Flickr

Join the communications blockade on Wednesday 11th July targeting companies that are using workfare.

The sheer nerve of workfare is startling: the Work Experience scheme, for example, a programme that, by license of the current government, actively allows potential employers to strip back paid work from within their organisation in a franchise that guarantees a zero-paid, reduced health & safety work force. Work Experience occurs both very loosely as a ‘voluntary’ six/eight week placement under the DWP Sector Based Work Academies and Work Experience schemes, and as a component of the Work Programme.

A Work Experience scheme can be characterised by navigating the dumbest and most offensive route through the following set of questions:

Does an organisation have work available?
Would this organisation – given the option by a fuzzy-headed government – prefer to:

a) give the job its title and pay a wage? (as normal)

b) call it a great little ‘Work Experience’ opportunity and NOT pay a penny?

Does this ‘valuable opportunity’ look very similar to other, regular, non-skilled work in its duties (stacking shelves, cleaning, sweeping up etc.) that many do, or have memories of doing with an attached paycheck?

Will a person be accused of being a “job snob” when they’ve the wherewithal to notice this and want paying for their work?

Does it mean regular, contracted, paid staff losing out on overtime?

And finally, having wasted a job seeker’s time and hopes of paid employment does the process repeat over?
Overwhelmingly so


Savers are up to this nonsense. Boycott Workfare have recently heard from a young woman forced to work 240 hours as part of a Work Experience scheme (that’s the ‘voluntary’ one). And what could have minimally worked out for her as a net take home pay of £1459.20 (assuming a £6.08 min. wage rate) paid instead absolutely nothing. All those missing jobs? That was one. Right there. Did you notice it? Because this twitter user definitely did. Apparently pleased enough with with her efforts for all that time, Savers couldn’t quite bring themselves to pay a wage or offer a job at the end – even at the piddly minimum wage rate. Now on the Work Programme with Seetec, she is set to undertake another forced work experience placement.

Customer service number: 0845 671 0709
Head Office: 01582 884 791


As far offering a chance to gain employment – a tremendous advantage of the Work Experience scheme say its supporters – there stands “only a one-in-ten chance of getting a permanent job” for those put on the scheme at Poundland. To ready its 100 ‘volunteers’ for this ‘fantastic opportunity’, Poundland go about things in an apt manner, offering as they do, no pay, travel expenses, or food money. And, if you please, they would rather you refer to their unpaid workers as ‘volunteers’ – because just who wouldn’t want this?

Head Office: (0)121 568 7000


Though Argos had said it would suspended its involvement in workfare back in February, Boycott Workfare was later contacted by a person forced to undertake Mandatory Work Activity, quite despite the fact that this type of placement isn’t meant to occur within the commercial sector. The campaign received an excellent response to this news with site visitors tweeting and e-mailing Argos in good numbers; though now things have died down again. As Holland & Barrett’s recent withdrawal from the WE scheme shows, persistence is crucial – Boycott Workfare asks that you keep the pressure up on this one.

Head Office (01908 690333)
Customer Services (01785 710253)

As with Monday’s action, please keep your conversations civil.

Finally, having made your calls remember after to mark them in the following poll by means of encouraging others to the same, this will demonstrate to the next person that they are not acting alone.

Staying Online

If making a call is too expensive then please keep up the momentum online by tweeting, e-mailing, and messaging the companies’ Facebook pages.


e-mail (head office):

Contact form:

Contact form: Here.


Comments (3)

Leave a Reply

Charlie D

Have you considered targeting one company at a time, rather than trying to take them all on at once?

trev h

it should also be said that companies make money off 0845 calls so check for a free phone version on

Martin O'Neill

Savers appears to have withdrawn form Workfare for now:

Dear Mr O’Neill ,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding work experience.

We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously and work with a number of bodies to give people the opportunity to get a foot on the jobs ladder. So far in 2012 one in ten of our store based vacancies has been filled by someone who has taken part in work experience in our stores.

We are supportive of any initiative which is voluntary and where candidates do not lose their benefits if they choose not to participate, and are working closely with Government Ministers to clarify the situation. Until then we will not be taking on any new work experience placements under this current scheme.

Thank you for contacting Savers.

Kind Regards


Savers Customer Relations