It’s the week of action against workfare and there’s walks of shame, pickets and surprise visits planned in twelve towns across the UK. Please help us to step the pressure up online by contacting the workfare exploiters below.
There’ll be a new online action every day this week so please keep checking back!
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer’s use of workfare hit public awareness last week when they announced 1400 new placements in their stores and a benchmark of 2% of the workforce to be unpaid. But this isn’t the brand’s first encounter with workfare. Despite their CEO earning over £2 million a year, they are also profiting from unpaid work through another workfare scheme in Scotland, which targets single parents. It’s likely their involvement is much more widespread – we recently heard from someone sent on a 4 week placement at one of their outlet stores as well.
There has been an incredible response on social media, with M&S forced to disable comments on their Facebook Page at times. Several pickets and walks of shame will pay a visit to their stores this week. Please feel free to contact them with your thoughts as well:
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.
In May, B&M won an award from the workfare industry for its involvement. But the reality of this involvement is harsh. One person has reported: “B&M stores have started using workfare Jan 2013. Receiving free labour and stopping overtime for employees with contracts. The people forced to do this free labour are not happy and neither are the employees!”
Let them know what you think!
Whole Foods Market
Also getting into the forced unpaid work game are luxury food company, Whole Foods Market. They too are using Sector Based Work Academies to profit from six weeks’ unpaid work whilst putting people on the schemes at risk of sanctions and hunger. Please tell them what you think.
A list of the numbers for the contact details for their UK stores can be found here. Each has its own Twitter and Facebook, but we could start with the Camden and Stoke Newington stores, where it’s likely this placement is taking place:
Facebook: Whole Foods Market Camden & Whole Foods Market Stoke Newington
Twitter: Tweet to @WFMcamden
Tweet to @WFM_STK
And to contact even more workfare exploiters, see a longer list of those involved here. More online action to come this week!