Superdrug out – let’s make it more! Day 4 of the Workfare Week of Action

Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty challenge Superdrug replacing paid staff with workfare

Superdrug have pulled out of workfare ahead of a weekend of action on high streets across the UK

A busy week of action has seen Superdrug pull out of workfare – the promise of demos taking place across the UK this Saturday must have helped!

Unfortunately other high street chains are still profiting from unpaid work. What you are doing works! We are winning so let’s keep it up and let more businesses know workfare is wrong!

Please contact the following companies today. If you’d like to use a standard letter, there’s one here.

Note: Retailers like to claim these schemes are voluntary. Read more about why they’re not.


Debenhams has 165 stores across the UK and Ireland and has a turnover of £2.2 billion. They too have been taking advantage of wageless, rightless workers supplied by the DWP at the taxpayers’ expense. They’re very keen to insist that the scheme they’re involved in is voluntary, but DWP rules say if you don’t get take part you’re referred to a scheme which carries 3 year sanctions. So it’s only voluntary if you say yes.

Press Office: 
Customer services: 
Company secretary: (Paul Eardley) 
Facebook: Debenhams – the official page 


Countless reports of workfare in Poundland’s stores have emerged, and the retailer has come under particular pressure since Cait Reilly successfully challenged her Poundland placement in the courts. So much so that instead of staying involved in the existing workfare schemes, they have set up their own. They tell us: “We currently have people taking part in work experience placements across 71 of our stores, and since launching the scheme, 20% have been offered a job with us”. That’s 80% who have worked for free for nothing. Poundland profits soared to £40 million last year. If Poundland needs people to work in its stores, it can pay them.

Feedback form: click here
Press centre:
Chief Executive (Warburg Pincus – their US based private equity fund owners): 
Facebook: Poundland 


Asda has been at the heart of workfare in the UK, helping the government relaunch its “Work Experience” scheme last year. We have had reports that one of their stores in Manchester uses disabled people on workfare on the night shift. They are frank about their involvement here.

Asda contact form: Click here
Facebook: Asda


Argos appears to be using six week placements from the Job Centre on a massive scale. Multiple reports of Argos using workfare placements so that paid staff hours are being reduced and fewer Christmas temps employed have emerged.

Business email: 
Corporate responsibility (HRG): 
Media relations (HRG): 
Managing director:
Head Office (01908 690333)
Customer Services (01785 710253)
Facebook: Argos


Tesco has committed to 3000 workfare placements, and so far 80% of the 1500 people who have gone through their stores have not been given a job. In response to public pressure, they have introduced a fudge which offers people a place on their own scheme instead but this misses the point.

Tesco’s profits last year were £1.7 billion. 1500 eight week, thirty hour placements would mean the company has so far profited from 360,000 hours of free labour on the schemes. Tesco need to stop fudging the issue, pull out of workfare and start paying every single person who works in their stores a living wage.

Head office email address:
Customer service email address:
Phil Clarke, Current CEO of Tesco’s:

Telephone: 0845 7225533 (Head office number) or 0845 600 4411 (This is the number for Tesco direct)
Facebook: Tesco

And to contact even more workfare exploiters, visit the handy list of contact details on Another Angry Voice’s blog and see an even longer list of those involved here.


Comments (14)

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shows they on back foot and scared dnesot it . free speech that went yrs ago tbh they eroded that long since, unless your arse licker you dont have rights!

Ian Beattie

I will not shop in any of your shops whilst youuse workfare to get people to do menial jobs. If there are jobs to be done in your businesses you should have the morality to employ people to do these jobs at the going rate for the job.
It is not the role of tax payer, whom Mr Osborne, claims is overburdened, to subsidise your profits.

Ron Houghton

This from Tescos From my tweet
Tesco Customer Care Tesco Customer Care
@Rono66 We have never taken part in a scheme called workfare, we would never take part in any mandatory scheme.
10:43 AM - 21 Mar 13


Interesting to see that Debenhams is actually calling the scheme they use "WORKFARE".

(Lies and evasions) from their facebook page:

"We know that many of you are still asking about the workfare scheme that we are involved in. We would like to assure you that we operate a voluntary scheme and our participants still receive benefits. For more information about the scheme we are involved in please visit >>


All of these companies are utterly abhorent and immoral for using unpaid labour and the government should be ashamed of itself for allowing them to do this. What sort of country is this? Even Adolf Hitler paid people to work on the autobahns but then again Adolf managed to get Germans into REAL jobs and engineered a REAL economic recovery something which the fuckwits of Labour and Tory wouuld never be able to achieve in a million years.

Ed McArthur

I thought pound land had pulled out after the court case and had ended my Boycott. Now I will have to resume it
(BTW Yes if anyone looks my website does need updateing as of 12.39pm 21st March will get to it asap)


Oh look.

Gary Donaldson

debenhams announced a profit warning recently and i'm not surprised I used to shop there regularly but stopped when they signed up for the slave labour programme , me personally I buy nothing whatsoever from anyone involved in Workfare I used to do a few hours voluntary work for Sue Ryders but stopped when they got involved , as far as i'm concerned anyone involved in it is Boycotted for life Superdrug may withdraw now but it's too late I will never ever use them again .


The retrospective legislation that was passed this week to prevent sanctions being repaid to people who were forced on Workfare style schemes has created much backlash amongst traditional Labour supporters.

Please sign, and pass on, the following petition to have it overturned:

If anybody thinks that this was a Liam Byrne only issue then read what the Guardian has just reported:
“Senior members of the shadow cabinet were obliged to follow the instruction to abstain from the Commons vote. Following a briefing from Ed Miliband at Monday’s meeting of the parliamentary Labour party, they had been warned that anyone who stepped out of line would be sacked."

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