Thursday, 16 February 2012

Free labour for Tesco

Many people will have seen the news today about Tesco's use of free labour.  It started with a "job" advert on the government's own website for a night shift worker in Tesco in East Anglia.  Pay - "JSA + expenses".  Outrage spread via Facebook and other sites.  Then Left Foot Forward showed how this was far from a one-off.  Guardian journalists had found several similar adverts.  Tesco's response fluctuated.  First they told people that they were helping young people by taking part in a government scheme; then they said at had been a mistake.  Now John Harris has written a considered piece in the Guardian about what he calls the "sinister reality" of such schemes.

I can add little to what has been written.  But it will be interesting to see whether the story is taken up by the rest of the media.  Newsnight, perhaps?  If you're one of those driven to boycott Tesco because of their use of free labour to save on employment costs, bear in mind that Sainsbury's and the Co-op have decided to steer clear of the scheme, and can be patronised with a clear conscience.


  1. Well it seems Newsnight failed to follow up the bad publicity surrounding Emma's £8 million bonus . I wonder why ..... Surely at the very least they could follow this very worthy story? I hope so.

    I hate Tesco anyway. So hard for me to make a stance against Dame Shirley Porter's practices. Any other suggestions? Maybe a letter to my MP who I think is Malcolm Rifkind ?

  2. I wonder if this 'vacancy' will be gone by this time tomorrow?

    No doubt we will get the idiotic "you are working for your JSA". Such comments are made by complete ideological fools or wind up merchants.

    If they cannot see that Tesco's wage bill is effecively being part subsided by the state, then they really do need to wake up. There is far too much of an 'I'm all right Jack' mentality in theis country right now.

    When a govt minister waffles on about 400,000+ jobs in the economy, they of course must include vacancies such as this very Tesco example and others like it that often lead nowhere.

  3. Seems I was right. The vacancy seems to have disappeared.


    Or more like Tesco hates bad publicity generated by being caught out fair and square from placing such a blatantly exploitative vacancy.

  4. This type of vacancy is prevalent in many of the high street stores - as an ex employee of A4e, I know that places such as Tesco/B&Q/Pound shops actively take on A4e 'job placements' with a view to a job at the end and 9/10 they finish them at the end of their 4 week placement and demand a new placement. It's free labour, with minimal training/guidance and little support - they know they dont have to tick all the boxes as this 'member of the team' will be gone in 4 weeks. I bet at Xmas these companies are rubbing their hands together at the free labour. Its a crying shame...I know of many cases where the manager has promised them something at the end of it - only to find out it's either a temp contract - or less than 16 hours (and A4e dont want you doing that - it's not claimable as a job outcome for them!).

  5. This is their comment that they are pasting on everyones posts. Its voluntary only because if you refuse you are punished, so you can decide to take the punishment or do it.. Very funny voluntary work...

    JobCentre Plus yesterday wrongly advertised a short work experience placement at Tesco as a permanent, unpaid job. This has resulted in widespread misunderstanding of our position. We are happy to re-state the facts:

    - Tesco has been working in partnership with JobCentre Plus for many months to offer work experience opportunities lasting up to four weeks for young unemployed people who are struggling to find jobs. No one is under any obligation to take part in the scheme, and JobCentre Plus has assured us that all of those who have come to Tesco have done so as volunteers. Tesco would not take part in any mandatory scheme. This is all about helping young people who want to find a job.

    - We would never offer longer term work on an unpaid basis. The Department for Work and Pensions has acknowledged that the advertisement was an error on the part of JobCentre Plus. Work experience at Tesco should, wherever possible, be a pathway to a paid job with Tesco. That has already been the case for 300 work experience participants with us so far and we hope it will be for many more people.

    - We understand the concern that those who stay in the scheme longer than a week risk losing their benefits if they drop out before the end of their placement. We have suggested to DWP that, to avoid any misunderstanding about the voluntary nature of the scheme, this threat of losing benefit should be removed.

    We remain committed to offering long-term, sustainable and rewarding paths into employment for thousands of young people.

    Peter – Customer Care

  6. The power of the people. TK Maxx, Marie Curie, Oxfam, Shelter, Sainsbury's. and more are pulling out. I beleive in charitable work, and goverment, Not for profit organisations, but when profitable companies get these free workers in thats Wrong.

    The Department for Work and Pensions has come under pressure from Britain's biggest private employer to fundamentally change the terms of one of its flagship unemployment schemes following complaints that jobseekers are being used as taxpayer-subsidised labour in high street chains up and down the country.

    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.

    Under the scheme, jobseekers work up to eight weeks for 30 hours a week in placements organised by job centre managers. These can take place in private businesses after the government changed the rules at the start of 2011. Before that, work experience placements were limited to two weeks and could only take place at charities and public bodies.

    Under the scheme, jobseekers work up to eight weeks for 30 hours a week in placements organised by job centre managers. These can take place in private businesses after the government changed the rules at the start of 2011. Before that, work experience placements were limited to two weeks and could only take place at charities and public bodies.

    After the eight weeks those who have worked in store are promised no more than an interview. Companies have no obligation to have a job on offer before they enrol the unemployed on a placement. According to the latest figures 34,000 people were put through the scheme between January and November last year.

    If jobseekers pull out of a placement after the first week they face having their benefits withdrawn.

  7. I am one, I do 30 hours a week at a Tesco 3 miles from my address, no pay no expenses. The company responsible made 41m last year of un-payed work.


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