Good news: Waterstones ends forced unpaid work placements!

In a promising sign for our campaign, The Guardian has today reported that Waterstones will no longer accept workfare at its stores. It seems it was embarrassed into the decision when the paper exposed the practice at one of its stores: “They got me to do a lot of the grunt work, such as moving entire book sections around the store. I never saw anybody else do this kind of work.”

The reality of workfare is gradually being exposed. This month someone who was placed at Bookers Wholesale told us: “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.”

This is a key time for push for other high street stores to end workfare as well. Come to our meeting on Wed 8th February, 7pm, 11 Goodwin Street, London, N4 3HQ to discuss how we’ll do it. Or email us to feed in your ideas beforehand.

Unfortunately, we have this week heard that the postal workers’ union has agreed to allow workfare in the Royal Mail for a trial period. Please contact the union to ask them to reconsider their policy.

There are loads of ways to support the campaign:

  • If you use Facebook, please like our new Page.
  • Submit a Freedom of Information request to find out where workfare is taking place in your area.
  • Get the information out there! Print leaflets and leaflet your job centre / welfare to work provider. Email us for a copy or the latest version will be on the website soon. (We can help pay for printing – email us for details).
  • Approach Trade Union branches and ask them to support our campaign and make a donation (see our union motion here)
  • Get in touch if you’re tackling workfare in other ways and we can help with resources or publicity!

Thanks for supporting Boycott Workfare. Stay in touch!


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