Watch out for workfare!

boycott workfare new logo

Our last week’s post about unpaid work for M&S got a huge response. We have collected some of the comments below. Please let us know if you are being asked to work for nothing. Businesses that are exploiting the unemployed need to be NAMED AND SHAMED.

J – 3 years ago I worked for M&S for two weeks full time unpaid with the promise of a job at the end of it… guess what I’m still waiting

K – I’ll be getting put on this in October as “it will help get me experience”

A – I did 4 weeks with M&S. Got a job out of it for 3 months. Told they would extend my contract but didn’t
Went back on benefits and went from JSA to UC losing out on £250 a month

M – I was on that scheme for 4 weeks and it was horrible

Was hoping to get a job out if it

I was sent there by a scheme who help people who are struggling to find work…
It was a year ago and my experience told me not to work for M and S ever
They only care about sales and you have to be pushy even in food it was horrid…

What struck me is that I told the people who sent me to M and S that I’m not good at approaching customers and sales, assuming they’d pass this along to M and S. Nope, so when I was not very good at this and not pushy with upselling stuff I was told off, and I’m like I am not good at this and I hate it as a customer so why would I want to do it to other customers…

I mean, I was told that I could get a job out of it, that’s why I did it. Out of the 4 people who started including me, the only one who got a job was the guy who had come out of retirement. We weren’t all disabled we were just finding it hard to find work. There were 2 girls as well one who was in a wheelchair who didn’t get jobs; then again the store was not wheelchair friendly if you were staff…
I was getting shit from the Jobcentre for not looking for work at the same time, even though I thought it was better to concentrate on the placement to help improve my chances…

Also we had a £3 allowance for lunch each day but in M and S you’d be lucky if that got you a basic sandwich.

I did a similar scheme for Tesco but within 2 days of being there, they wanted to hire me cause I was able to stack shelves. I’ve been there 9 months almost.

[This writer liked the fact that he could prove he could do the Tesco job and didn’t have to struggle with an interview – but of course he could and should still have been paid for his trial period.]

C – M&S have been doing this for a long time. My friend did unpaid work for weeks and then had to apply for a 6 month post, at the end of which had to apply for another 6 month post. No job security, sick pay etc. Took years of this before she was eligible to apply for a permanent post.

N – The management there are terrible. They lie and cheat saying they help people with disabilities which is untrue, they just care about making money and profit. I used to work for them until November 2016. Only for 23 months.

W – Serial offenders. About 5 years ago, a friend’s daughter who was of 6th form age answered an M&S advert targeted at school leavers. She was attempting to do the right thing by working whilst her longer term plans materialised. After two weeks work in the store, she was given her first payslip which showed zero pay. She was told this was because those two weeks were ‘training’. It was the first she had heard of this and was very upset. Within weeks, her employment was terminated. The reason given for this was that she had reached the age where the minimum age applied (they had been paying less than the minimum wage). Other recruits in her cohort were subject to the same rule.

L – They [M&S] joined [this scheme] a few years ago using the Prince’s Trust… only a few [people] are kept on temporary to see them over their busy period, then they are let go. Very few if any will actually get a permanent job as most of the staff are on short term contracts

B – Brilliant! That means we can go into an M&S and just take stuff without paying.

G – Total sham – so every manager should work for free too then

D – Let the shareholders work for nothing.

P – I have boycotted Marks & Spencer since Rose was CEO and said that Companies which stopped using workfare because of protests were cowards. M & S has always not only used it but promoted it.

[Here’s a link to what the writer is referring to.] 

R – My wife did 3 unpaid trials for Premier Inn at 3 different hotels. They just wanted extra people to help with their breakfasts. Absolutely disgraceful

Remember that a task set by the jobcentre is only mandatory if it is part of your claimant commitment, or you are given a Jobseeker’s Direction (JSA) or a Requirement (Universal Credit). If you are 18-21 and have been unemployed on UC for 6 months you can be mandated to go on training or a work placement.  If you are sent on a mandatory work placement you can still refuse to sign the documents that are needed for them to process it, so long as you show willing to do everything else. (See our Work Programme Survival Guide.)





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