STOP PRESS - Stop Workfare Update - New Target: WHSmiths!
Friday July 06, 2012 14:03 by B.A.R.F.
Week of Action already a Success! Major Blow for Government as Holland & Barrett pull out of Workfare!
Before it even starts, Boycott Workfare's 'Week of Action' has had a major success: Holland & Barrett who have been using workfare on a huge scale (1,100 placements a year amongst a workforce of 3,500) that “the 60 people currently undertaking the work experience scheme will be the last to complete the eight week placement. After this time Holland & Barrett will not participate further in that scheme.”
Unable to acknowledge people’s ethical concerns about them using an unpaid workforce on a massive scale, they have made the claim that the decision is due to the threat to customer and staff safety from our peaceful protests planned this weekend. These follow regular pickets called by Solidarity Federation who co-ordinated a national campaign against the company’s involvement in workfare.
But Holland & Barrett aren’t totally off the hook yet. They continue to use the current 60 workfare placements until these finish. Their announcement indicates that they intend to replace workfare with apprentices, which would allow them to pay a wage of just £2.60 an hour, far below the living wage.
Nevertheless, despite this success, protests will continue this week to target other brands still involved. These include WHSmiths, British Heart Foundation, Argos, Superdrug, ShoeZone, Asda, Tescos, Wilkinsons, The Works, the list goes on. These companies still make happy use of unpaid, coerced slave labour, as part of the Con-Dem’s controversial ‘Workfare’ scheme. Despite slavery’s apparent abolition in the British Isles back in 1833, the unelected Con-Dems and their buddies in the business world have concocted this new plot to squeeze out more profit from the people they’re meant to serve and undermine the jobs of other workers lucky enough to still have jobs. Wilburforce will be turning in his grave.
As a result of this move, activists in B.A.R.F., Bath Anti-Cuts Alliance, and others will instead be targeting WHSmiths for their involvement in the scheme - we will be outside their branch on Union Street in Bath from 11.30 on Saturday the 7th July. The protest will mark the first day of the national Stop Workfare week of action – running until the 14th July – and will coincide with other actions in the westcountry, and up and down the country.