No to workfare at B&M Bargains – two reports

Nick J and Marc R from South Leeds Left Unity write:

BM 3 group

Left Unity members took part in a protest outside B&M Bargains Leeds Middleton. Around 20 people took part to expose how the poor, sick and disabled unemployed people are being exploited.

Under the Mandatory Work Activity scheme unemployed people are forced to work for the profit of the host organisation. Failure to do so will result in loss of benefits for three months. The third refusal could lose benefits for three years. The scheme is open to abuse as companies use unpaid labour instead of creating jobs. Find out more by checking out the Boycott Workfare website.

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Stuart King from Lambeth Left Unity writes:

Lambeth and Southwark branches of Left Unity organised a picket of the Old Kent Road branch of B&M Bargains as part of a national day of action against workfare.

B&M Bargains takes large numbers of workers from the dole who are forced by the DWP to “work for benefits” – that is, for no wages. The firm has a reputation for taking groups of young workers on workfare for 12 weeks and then replacing them with new DWP wage slaves, while at the same time cutting hours for full time staff. No wonder it made £100 million profit last year.

At Old Kent Road we ran a picket of the car park and the pedestrian entrance on the main road. Most customers stopped their cars to take a leaflet, most were shocked to hear that the store had people working for no wages. Some went elsewhere, others agreed to complain to the management and reported back to us on management response. The workfare workers, management said, were on “work experience” and more than that they were given “lunch money” – such generous employers!

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