Workfare – It Doesn’t Add Up

I wrote to Tesco today.  They’ve spent the last couple of days making claims that they just can’t justify in 140 characters or less on Twitter.

They stepped up with an outrageous remark this morning.  Apparently, the people who are working for nil pay are doing so because they want to!  No threats, no compunction, these people are walking in off the street and apparently saying “Hi, high street behemoth with mammoth running costs and similar profits, I’d like to join your team and do so for the princely sum of ZERO POUNDS!  Yes, ZERO POUNDS!”

Call me a sceptic (the title might be a clue towards that) but I don’t think that’s happened.  Ever.

So naturally, I wrote to Tesco.  Do you know they want a landline and mobile phone number to even consider fielding your enquiry?  True.  So I gave their own number and changed 0870 to 0770 for the mobile (my numbers are for friends and necessaries and Tesco fit neither) and sent this:

On Twitter today, you replied to a tweet regarding your policy of using slave labour to fill vacancies with “Jobcentre Plus has assured us that all of those who have come to Tesco have done so as volunteers.”

Volunteering England and the TUC have a charter.  It states

“The involvement of volunteers should complement and supplement the work of paid staff, and should not be used to displace paid staff or undercut their pay and conditions of service.”

It further states

“The added value of volunteers should be highlighted as part of commissioning or grant-making process but their involvement should not be used to reduce contract costs.”

Your claim that these WorkFare slaves are “volunteers” entirely subverts that charter.  I would appreciate a full and frank reconciliation or response.  I intend to publish the same.  Please respond within the week or I will assume a “nil response”.

Let’s see how far I get


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