Opinion, Politics

Workfare Slavery

Earlier this week it was seen that Tesco were (apparently mistakenly) advertising for permanent slaves. tesco logo on the side of a store to illustrate an opinion piece on workfareOops. In fact I believe the slavery contracts are supposed to be temp only. So, whatever, does anyone fancy going and working night shifts at Tesco for free? You know, learning really valuable skills that will look great on your CV? No? Well, I hope for you you’re not unemployed because you may actually not have the choice.

Anyway, there was justifiable outrage. There are calls to boycott Tesco. It’s a good reason to boycott them. Another good reason. If I lived in the UK I wouldn’t set foot in the place. For me it is the most despicable of the supermarkets, ruthlessly bullying farmers and small business owners in its quest for profit.

Other businesses are falling over each other to tell the world how they will not use Workfare. Tesco are mightily embarassed. They are working 24/7 furiously deleting critical posts on their Facebook page.

Tesco are not the only bullies outed by this furore. The world is finally opening its eyes to the government’s schemes to starve people back into work, to thieve back the benefits from those who need them most. The Department for Work and Pensions, led by Ian Duncan Smith are still churning out abhorrent policies which seem to be a deliberate attack on the most vulnerable.

What can you do? Not much actually. Write to your MPs, tell them how appalled you are at the government sponsored slavery and other initiatives aimed at stealing from the poor. Lend your support to the Boycott Workfare campaign. Boycott companies who are benefiting from the disgusting schemes.

And remember the Tories will not do anything to help you and me. It is all about helping the rich people. They may have squealed a little about the bonuses of the bankers a few weeks ago. But honestly? A few people’s bonuses aren’t going to change anything. Bonuses, despite what the press said, don’t create the recession. They may be pretty huge sums of money to you and me, but they are in fact peanuts in the whole scheme of things. Rich people are getting richer under the Tories. Which is fine. Nothing against rich people at all. It’s just when the government steals from the poor to enrich its friends that I feel very very very nauseous.


One thought on “Workfare Slavery

  1. I’m actually not opposed to work experience or unpaid internships. The work experience that I had under my belt was a large part of the reason why I got the job I presently have.

    What I am opposed to is sheer opportunism on the part of big companies masquerading as work experience or an unpaid internship. Job seekers have rights. It’s not a crime for them to have certain expectations. And if Workfare is intended to help people back into work, then job seekers should come out with new skills or, if they’ve done good work, a glowing reference. They should come out with something that puts them in a better position than before the placement. This isn’t like Year 11 work experience, it isn’t enough to show people what the working world is like. Most of the time, they already know, or they’re more than willing to find out.

    When a placement is only of benefit to the company, then that’s not ok. Just look at Cait Reilly. People were really spitting poison at her, saying that she thought herself too good for retail, that she was somehow superior to retail workers. Now I’m rather sensitive to that kind of thing, as I spent three years being sneered at for being a mere retail worker. Never mind that I worked hard, never mind that my colleagues worked hard, never mind that we were treated like dirt and people thought that it was ok to treat us like dirt. We were just retail workers after all. And Cait Reilly just didn’t give me that impression. She didn’t give me the impression that she had expectations that flew in the face of how tought the graduate jobs market is at the moment. But she did give me the impression that she expected the placement to be of benefit. I’d have that expectation too. She didn’t turn down paid work, she didn’t turn down the prospect of new skills, as she already had retail experience. Had she done either of those, I wouldn’t think too highly of her either.

    Cait Reilly simply railed against being used, against having her time wasted. I simply do not see how that makes her arrogant.

    Posted by nicolajames | April 23, 2012, 2:59 pm

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