Workfare in Shoe Zone this Christmas

This week, Boycott Workfare has been contacted by a concerned member of staff working at high street retailer Shoe Zone. Their first hand experience, which they bravely wanted to share with us all, provides yet more evidence that workfare is replacing paid jobs. As with Argos and Superdrug, Shoezone are using ‘work experience’ from the job centre to cover the busy Christmas period instead of employing temporary staff or giving current staff the option of over-time. Here is their story:

“I work in Shoe Zone in the south east. This week our manager has held three ‘interviews’ with people sent from the job centre. They are to help us for up to 30 hours a week for 8 weeks over the Christmas period. One of them stated he would only be getting his bus fare paid by the job centre. This is to be called ‘work experience’. If there is work to do over Christmas surely we could hire staff for 8 weeks in a proper fashion? I am sickened that my manager imagines they are doing these people a favour of some sort to ‘let them experience work’. I get the feeling that head office will be very pleased with themselves too to keep a store running smoothly over Christmas without actually using any extra resources, when these work experience placements can pick up the slack.

The three people start today on this ‘work experience’ and I am terrified by the idea that head office think they don’t need to pay their staff and can run a store with people from the job centre. i myself am on part-time minimum wage and if they can have workers for free now what is to stop them making my position redundant and using job centre people to run the store at no cost to themselves? If my hours are cut next year, i shall know why.

I do not feel its right these people will be expected to do the same work as our usual staff. Even worse, i will be expected to keep an eye on them to make sure no mistakes are made when pulling stock and writing labels etc- extra work we could do without at Christmas time. They will not be authorised to use the tills or ordering system but everything else including dealing with customers, they will be expected to do. Its a disgrace. I fear for the safety of my job at the moment and in the future if this ‘work experience’ continues.”

If you would like to contact Shoe Zone about this:
Twitter: @shoezone
Facebook: click here

Also Birmingham are taking action against the use of workfare in high street stores over Christmas on the 8th of December during the week of action.


Comments (9)

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Ed McArthur

I posted the following note on the Shoe Zone facebookpage

I bought my last two pairs of shoes from shoe Zone but they will be the LAST TWO PAIRS I EVER BUY FROM SHOE ZONE
if you dont cancell your support for workfare this Xmas and either take on paid temporary staff or offer your current staff extra hours

Eric Greenwood

"They will not be authorised to use the tills or ordering system " So this part of their work experience will not exist.

Shoezone has said on twitter, they dont force people to do the work programme, that may be true but they accept others being forced to work for them. It isnt my fault sort of thing. When they have to take responsibility to say this is unfair.

But they dont have to accept workfare people, but they do so they actually agree with it.


you guys take the absolute mick! There is plenty of people such as students that want to work, and these people who go are BEING forced to work?

One day the government and businesses like 'ShoeZone' will feel the fruits of life from the people of Great Britain! Take a stand now people and get rid of the Prime Minister!

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This is disgusting. No wonder why there arnt any sales assistant job vacancies and only managerial vacancies on the shoezone website. I will not be buying anything from shoe zone until they start paying all of their staffs.


When a relative of mine (a university graduate) was forced to work for Poundland last Xmas - they got extra staff for christmas - all the workfare staff were made false promises of jobs (to get the best performance out of them) and then they got the next "batch" of jobseekers.
No one that is forced to work on workfare no longer believes the lies about job offers.
In my relative's break, she went job-hunting to every business in the shopping mall (where Poundland was) and was truthfully told by the manager of The Entertainer store: "As long as the company is getting free labour off the JCP they're not going to pay for employees"
Now you tell me how this is fair?