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!