Friday, 30 March 2012

Glasgow Picket Against Holland & Barrett Workfare Sat. 31st March Meet 12 noon St Enoch's

Glasgow Picket Against Holland & Barrett Workfare
Saturday 31st March
Meet 12 noon outside the front entrance of St Enoch's Underground Station to move on to the Workfare target - Holland & Barrett 9 Queen Street, Glasgow, G1 3ED.

Holland & Barrett are set to become one of the biggest exploiters of forced labour with plans to take on 1000 unpaid work experience placements from the Job Centre over the next year. With a workforce of only around 3,500 people this could amount to almost a quarter of their current staff on Workfare – work for dole money.

All 5 Workfare schemes still have sanctions in certain circumstances i.e. benefits are cut, so they are not entirely voluntary. Job Centres use every trick in the book to force benefit claimants onto nominally voluntary schemes. The Guardian has reported that young people who refuse the Work Experience scheme face Workfare under a different scheme.

These schemes represents a huge public subsidy for Holland and Barrett who make millions in profit. At present they offer a four week induction programme followed by more specialized product advisor training.  Under the Work Experience scheme young people can be required to carry out a two month period of workfare, under the Work Programme it can be as long as six months.  Therefore Holland & Barrett can use these schemes to cover wages during their induction and training periods.  They have the added advantage of having workers with no employment rights who can be laid off at a moments notice.  So the ones they like they keep, the ones they don’t they can get to stack shelves or hump boxes about for a bit and then farm them back to the dole office. Holland and Barrett have taken on 500 young people for 8 week periods since last summer and of these only about 20% have been taken on permanently.

Holland & Barrett can therefore use publicly paid for schemes to fund both their recruitment costs, staff training and to make up any extra staff at busy periods.   This will have a devastating impact on the staff to whom they actually pay wages, who will no doubt see hours and over-time cut. If Holland and Barrett are using free staff who are paid only meagre  Government benefits then that means they are recruiting less staff than they would otherwise.  Workfare is causing, not curing unemployment.

Boycott Holland and Barrett! Boycott Workfare!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Glasgow Picket Against Workfare Sat. 31st March Meet 12 noon St Enoch's

Glasgow Picket Against Workfare
Saturday 31st March
Meet 12 noon outside the front entrance of St Enoch's Underground Station to move on to the Workfare target
Phone 07799285998 if you are late

What is workfare?
Unemployed people being forced to work for free for up to 6 months with no guarantee of a job afterwards, many of them for major high street companies.

Does workfare help the unemployed?
The government’s own research found that in countries that introduced workfare it could actually lower a jobseeker’s chances of finding a job. Where previously these roles would have been filled by paid staff, employers get to take advantage of a growing pool of jobseekers they won’t have to pay.

What if I have a job already?
Workfare means employers can lay-off their staff and replace them with people they don’t have to pay. The point of workfare is to drive down wages and working conditions, undermining even the minimum wage which many struggle to survive on.
Workfare isn’t about saving money – in fact these schemes are hugely expensive to the government. Workfare is a massive subsidy to private companies: providing them with free labour at public expense. The government has long been subsidising companies that pay low wages by topping-up poverty pay with benefits and tax credits. Workfare means less pay for us and more profits for them.

The state and businesses are colluding to undermine all our conditions.

There are plans to introduce Workfare for people in the Work Related Activity Group for sickness benefit (ESA). Most people who get turned down for sickness benefit win their case on appeal with the help of an advice centre. However some are conned by the Dept. for Work and Pensions into claiming Job Seekers Allowance, while appealing, and forced onto Workfare even though they are unfit for work.

Organised by Claimants Resisting Unfair Treatment Cuts and Harassment

Supported by Glasgow Anarchist Federation and Glasgow Solidarity Federation

There are now at least 18 pickets against Workfare on March 31st. More info here:

March 31st is a national day of action against workfare called by the Solidarity Federation. This ties in with the international days of action against austerity called by the International Workers Association (IWA) - which includes a general strike in Spain on March 29th - and the M31 European Day of Action Against Capitalism.

Facebook Event Page: