Friday, 3 February 2012
The Guardian is keeping up its interest in the subject of workfare with an article on those firms which have taken people on placement - including Waterstones, which has decided to make its branch managers end the practice "as it did not want to encourage working without pay". Other companies involved say that they can't give figures because the placements are arranged locally. One point raised by an anonymous member of Holland and Barrett's staff was that they believe the placements are destroying paid work. "We have had a number of placements in our store and have noticed that the hours for part-time staff have been reduced. Staff are upset because we are all struggling to make ends meet," the employee said. "The real benefactors of this scheme are the companies who receive millions of pounds worth of labour absolutely free of charge and the losers are the jobseekers who see potential jobs being filled by workfare placements for months at a time and the loyal part-timers who find their regular overtime hours savagely cut." The article also updates us on Cait Reilly's action against the DWP. Court papers have now been filed. The DWP's defence is "that having benefits docked does not equate to forcing the unemployed to work." "Where a person is required to perform a task and, if he or she does not do so, loses benefit, that is not forcing a person to work." Well, yes. Very interesting.
That appearance by Emma Harrison yesterday on The Daily Politics - I'm still wondering how and why she came to be there.