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.