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Anti-Workfare Superdrug Picket
A pocket of seven BARF members, local SWP and friends found themselves outside Superdrug on Southgate Street this Saturday gone, the 19th, as part of a continuing national campaign against the supporters of the government’s Bond villain-esque ‘Workfare’ scheme. The by-the-numbers demo lasted a couple hours and featured the usual killer combo of banner display, leafleting and a very Bathonian politeness, but we like to think of it as just one link in a very long chain: a long chain of gentle persuasion that has already seen companies like Holland and Barrett, Sainsburys, Waterstones, Boots and others keen to distance themselves from being tarred with the modern slavery brush. Revolution it was not, but at least it didn’t piss it down like on the last one!
To quote the leaflet:
“What is Workfare?
Unemployed people being forced to work for free for up to six months with no guarantee of a job afterwards, many of them for major high street companies, such as Superdrug, WHSmiths, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Greggs the Bakers, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Tesco, and more. Workfare is just another way for the bosses to get around paying their workers properly. There is even evidence that Workfare makes people LESS LIKELY to find employment, as bosses get used to the idea of forcing Jobseekers to work for free.
What if I have a job already?
Workfare means employers can lay-off their staff or reduce hours and overtime. The point of Workfare is to drive down wages and working conditions, undermining even the minimum wage which many struggle to survive on. It also helps large companies to undercut independent shops (who pay their staff), closing more local businesses.
Doesn’t Workfare save us money?
Actually Workfare is hugely expensive to the government. It saves the private companies money, but tax payers end up with the multi-billion pound bill. It’s another way the rich steal from the poor; just like bailing out banks, or paying wages so low they have to be topped up with tax credits and benefits. Workfare means less pay and jobs for us, and more profits for them.
What can we do to stop Workfare?
A massive campaign has already forced many companies supporting Workfare to pull out of the scheme as it’s becoming an embarrassment to greedy bosses and politicians. As a Jobseeker, you have the right to refuse Workfare. To find out more about the campaign, or your Workfare rights, check out www.boycottworkfare.org.
Workfare shafts workers and the unemployed, and puts more money in the pockets of bosses! Together, we can fight back!
To find out more, email: bathagainstcuts[at]yahoo.co.uk“