Not to be outdone by Tesco’s sense of entitlement to profit from forced labour, Argos is also defending its widespread use of workfare, and has issued this shameless response to complaints raised by members of the public:
“We can confirm that Argos does not have a policy to recruit colleagues through the governments Work Experience Programme, but we do make use of it to offer work experience… Christmas is our busiest time of year and we are pleased to provide the opportunity for work experience during this time.”
Not much overtime for Argos employees over Christmas then. Despite increasing calls for Tesco’s to quit workfare and action which shut one of their shops for an hour today, they are still clinging on to the boost that forced unpaid labour gives their profit margins.
Elsewhere, great news that Scope have suspended workfare, let’s keep up the pressure for them to pull out completely. This takes us onto Oxfam. Last year Oxfam informed us:
The Mandatory Work Activity is not compatible with Oxfam’s stance on benefits… In addition to this, there are ‘sanctions’ attached to the scheme which could result in participants having their benefits removed… which would create situations where people were being driven into poverty. This is not compatible with Oxfam’s aims and beliefs.
However, Oxfam’s name has since come up on Freedom of Information requests about workfare. We would suggest that this would be an ideal time for Oxfam to publicly confirm their opposition to workfare given their stated mission to work “with others to overcome poverty and suffering” and to ensure that their stores are sticking to their policy.
Our campaign is just beginning. Workfare could affect everyone in every workplace, everywhere. After all, as Tesco’s shows, if you can get staff for no wages then why hire them?
More and more groups and across the U.K are joining the national day of action. You don’t need loads of people or resources to join them. Even handing out leaflets outside a local store will add up to a massive impact. Get involved and let us know if you’d like to announce an action in your town.
Thanks for stepping up the pressure again. Keep it up!