Petition Closed

The workfare scheme is exploiting unemployment, not solving it -- it's putting more people out of work at a time of high unemployment by giving large companies like ASDA, Poundland & Topshop free temporary staff.

The Government says that it’s putting people on the job ladder but having been through the scheme myself it’s more of a barrier to employment than a help. That's why I'm asking for all partners to stop participating in the workfare scheme and provide proper employment schemes for those on Job Seekers Allowance.

I’m a qualified computer games programmer and finished university last year but have found it hard to find work so started claiming job seekers allowance whilst I was looking. I was made to participate in the Government's Workfare scheme at Maplin Electronics store for 8 weeks as the Job Centre told me that it was the only way I'd be able to gain experience to get a job - if I didn't participate I could risk my benefit.
Whilst there I performed the same duties as their staff for no pay or extra allowance, the Job Centre also told me that I wouldn't be able to take a day off should an interview or such thing that could benefit me in my search for full-time work appear.

I understand the need to gain experience to get a job but the whole idea of unpaid placements like this are unfair. We're doing the same amount of hours and work as actual employees and temp staff are doing, and we're doing it just as well but with no guarantee of a job at the end of it, meaning it could potentially be all for nothing.

The Government say they’re helping people get jobs but really they’re keeping people unemployed by forcing them into unpaid labour.

Companies who are making huge profits in a time when unemployment is at its peak should be paying the people who work for them, not exploiting them. A Tesco manager even told a workfare participant that they had no incentive to hire extra staff when they could get people for free for six weeks.

Already Waterstones, Sainsbury's, TK Maxx, Matalan & Maplin have pulled out of the scheme. Join me and tell the CEOs of ASDA, Poundland and Topshop (Arcadia Group) to stop participating in the workfare scheme and instead to provide proper paid work-experience for those who work there.

Find out more:

Young jobseekers told to work without pay or lose unemployment benefits
Tens of thousands of unemployed people made to work without pay
Boycott Workfare

Letter to
ASDA CEO
The Arcadia Group CEO
I just signed a petition calling for you to end your company's participation in the Government's unpaid workfare scheme.

The workfare scheme is exploiting unemployment, not solving it -- it's putting more people out of work at a time of high unemployment by giving large companies free temporary staff.

People are being sent to work for you for free, often full-time, in order to receive their job seekers allowance, if they refuse their allowance is stopped. The Government says that it’s putting people on the job ladder but it's more of a barrier to employment than a help.

At a time of austerity, it is disappointing that a prestigious company such as yours is profiting - at taxpayer’s expense – by exploiting people claiming social security who are forced to work for you.

A company such as yours can afford to pay wages. That you choose not to in the current economic situation and worse still profiteer from it is wrong. That is why I'm asking for your company to stop participating in the workfare scheme and provide proper employment schemes for those on Job Seekers Allowance.

Companies who are making huge profits in a time when unemployment is at its peak should be paying the people who work for them, not exploiting them.

Sincerely,