Sainsbury’s misleading customers over their use of workfare labour

Following the news that Waterstones have stopped delivering government workfare schemes, Boycott Workfare has been keeping up the pressure on other shops to do the same.

It looked for a moment as though Sainsbury’s might have followed Waterstones example when they started telling their customers on Twitter:

“We don’t have any arrangements in place with the government in relation to their work programmes”.

Sainsbury’s sent this message out to several of their customers who had asked about their use of workfare.  This understandably led people to believe that Sainsbury’s were no longer involved.

However, when Boycott Workfare questioned them further about this Sainsbury’s admitted that some of their stores have made arrangements with Jobcentre Plus to provide unpaid workfare placements. We know that Sainsbury’s have previously provided workfare placements for private providers such as A4E. We asked if Sainsbury’s still have any arrangements with private providers but they chose not to answer.

Last year Sainsbury’s made profits of £665 million. Their boss Justin King earned £3.2 million.  The young people working for their benefits in Sainsbury’s get £1.78 an hour. Sainsbury’s pay them nothing.  Rather than trying to mislead their customers, Sainsbury’s should follow Waterstones example and abandon the use of forced, unpaid labour.

Superdrug have also been caught out.  They told one of their customers on Twitter that “Superdrug do not use workfare labour”.  When Boycott Workfare pointed out to them a recent advertisement for an unpaid workfare position at Superdrug, they chose not to respond.

Update on 11th February: we kept up the pressure and Sainsbury’s stopped taking workfare!


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Work Programme

Check out Ipswich Unemployed Action's website for details on workfare vacancies :)

Boycott Povertypimps

Email to Povertypimps:

I am writing to inform you that I am joining the growing number of people boycotting your organisation forthwith, until such time as your organisation stops taking part in schemes such as the Work programme. You are exploiting the vulnerable unemployed people being forced to work for your organisation without pay under threat of destitution by the sanctioning of their benefits if they fail fail to comply. Yet you describe yourselves as ethical.

For this reason I will be taking my future custom to a reputable organisation and will actively encourage others to do likewise by publicising your policies and practices.

I have sent the above email to:Tesco, Sainsbury's, Argos, Asda, Maplin, TK Maxx, Matalan, Primark, Holland & Barrett, Boots, McDonald's, Burger King and the Arcadia group all of which which were named in the excellent Guardian Waterstones article article

The email addresses of these organisations are copied below (in the same order they appear above) the only exception is burger king as this is the one contact email I have been unable to trace. BK helplines close at 4pm everyday! and there webform says they will respond in 14 days! (how about that for customer service) I am still working on establishing their email but have posted the others in the mean time should others wish to join me in contacting these povertypimps.
The more of us who inform them we are Boycotting them the more worried they will become over their participation in the exploitation affecting their profits in the current recession.

Stephen Holmes

The ConDems are evil bastards and I am disgusted absolutely disgusted by this turn of events
I wish our politicians would all die

Workfare Collapses | the void

[...] is unclear whether Sainsburys have genuinely pulled out of their Workfare schemes as reported in the Guardian, however the fact they are claiming to have done so is revealing.   [...]

Seen it all before

Stephen Holmes: some/all ConDems may be evil, but similar schemes (New Deal) ran under the previous government.

Bruntsfield Memories, Supermarkets Shopped | Edinburgh Eye

[...] are expensive places to shop. They may provide jobs (though Sainbury’s uses workfare) and they shut down other local businesses that were also providing jobs. From 2010: For example, [...]


Is an absolute disgrace..England needs a revolution ASAP!!...for poorer for richer...for younger for old !!