Under the work programme job seekers can be forced to work for their dole money at companies such as Tesco and Matalan. Of course for the company this is free labour. If the job seeker refuses to work for “free” then their benefits can be cut.
Tesco was more than happy to back the government’s flagship policy – and of course get free labour. Things have changed, however. According to a report in the Guardian “Supermarket group Tesco said it has asked DWP officials to make the work experience scheme voluntary after thousands of angry customers wrote in and posted messages on Twitter and the company’s Facebook site accusing the multinational of profiting from hundreds of thousands of hours of forced unpaid work”.
In other words faced with growing public protest Tesco has changed its mind; of course if there had been no such protest then Tesco would have continued with the work programme. This shows yet again the importance of campaigning.
To read the Guardian article please go here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/feb/18/tesco-jobless-scheme-work-experience?newsfeed=true