There has been huge outcry in response to a job advert from Tescos for a 30 hours a week nightshift UNPAID through the Job Centre Work Experience scheme. This isn’t a one-off. A year ago, Boycott Workfare spoke to someone at the job centre who had just finished seven nights on the trot of forced unpaid work at Tescos.
Tescos tries to defend itself by saying the placements are voluntary. But what is voluntary about having to work 30 hour weeks unpaid or risk losing the meagre £53 a week Jobseekers Allowance that young people have to survive on?
Tescos says it has recently employed 300 people through the scheme. But even if you believe this figure, that is only 21% of the 1400 people who have already done their stint.
Once people are on these schemes have very little recourse to challenge bad treatment, and managers take advantage:
- One woman was made to work without protective clothing in the chilled and freezer section in Tescos
- Another store took on twelve people to cover the busy Christmas period but offered not a single job
- Other people placed in supermarkets report being forced to work the worst hours, paid staff being sent home and childcare needs being ignored
Last week Sainsbury’s withdrew from the scheme after public pressure. Following today’s public outcry, TK Maxx has also stepped back! Help us step up the pressure on Tescos and other stores accepting workfare!
- Use this handy webpage to Tweet at the brands still taking workfare
- Email Tescos CEO (Ceo.Customerservice@uk.tesco.com) and other CEOs (some workfare companies can be found on this list) with your thoughts on their exploitative practices. If you don’t have time to draft your own letter, feel free to use this text.
- Take part in the National Day of Action on 3rd March. Which stores on your high street will you visit?