Easter Monday protest against new Homebase Harringay work placements
April 1, 2013
Last Wednesday, 27th March, Finsbury Park JobCentre Plus sent out a tweet to “congratulate” themselves on the news that 21 claimants were being put on a “work placement” scheme at Homebase in Harringay. On hearing the news, some members of Haringey Solidarity Group kicked into action to protest against this.
The “work placement” was no more than people on benefits being forced to work five days a week for their meagre benefits. For somebody under 25 this is £56.80 a week. If they have to work 35 hours a week, that’s £1.63 an hour. On April Fool’s day we were protesting against this disgusting work practice.
We handed out leaflets to shoppers at Homebase letting them know that it was using cheap labour and doing people in Haringey out of proper, decently paid jobs. Every forced work placement means one more person who won’t be employed on the Homebase standard pay scale.
This at the same time as Homebase’s parent company, the Home Retail Group, expects to make annual profits of £83m and has paid their boss a salary of £1.1 million.
The reality of workfare (the so-called work placement programme) is that it does NOT get people into jobs. A recent government report found that just 3.5% of people on workfare actually find paid employment lasting more than 6 months (and many of those would have found work anyway). The government then handed yet more money to scheme providers, which shows that workfare is about driving down wages and subsidising the private sector.
Workfare also makes it harder to find work. The government’s own research found that “there is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work. It can even reduce employment chances by limiting the time available for job search and by failing to provide the skills and experience valued by employers.”
As part of the leafletting, we want Homebase to pull out of the Workfare (forced labour) scheme.
We spoke to lots of customers and passers-by asking them to:
– Boycott Homebase until they agree to pay staff properly
– Speak to the manager of this branch and tell them if you don’t agree with them using unpaid labour
– Contact Homebase HQ on 0845 603 6677 or 01908 692 301 or firstname.lastname@example.org
– Boycott Argos until unpaid claimants are replaced by properly paid staff.
Links: Boycott Workfare website
Tags: workplace organising