UPDATE: Homebase are feeling the heat, time to turn it up! Bristol Demo This saturday ( Facebook / Indymedia ) Bath on Sunday ( Facebook / Indymedia) and two demos called in London. More in the works… In the mean time keep up the pressure online!
Yesterday, sources including Tom Prides blog, revealed that Homebase had been recruiting unpaid workers via a ‘work experience program’. Even worse they were actually boasting about getting extra hours of work by exploiting job seekers and reducing their ‘payroll costs’. A poster was spotted in a management office asking ‘would 750 hours with no payroll costs benefit your store?‘. Few companies are this brutally honest about their motivations!
Our first response was to ‘politely contact’ homebase online, and we were far from the only ones. Angry comments on twitter & facebook were popping up faster than they could delete them. They managed to remove ours, only for a many of our facebook friends to repost it. All these responses seemed to worry the management at Homebase and they quickly put out a couple of rushed statements including:
‘[..] The company has not signed up to the workfare programme, but, on occasions, works with local organisations to help unemployed people into the workplace. A number of unemployed people have recently joined our Haringey store through JobCentre Plus in a short, voluntary programme, to gain work experience. They are entirely under no obligation to participate, nor will non participation affect any benefits. Colleagues at this store also have not been impacted by this programme in any reduction of hours.’ and ‘Some of our best colleagues have joined us having previously been unemployed […]’ Continue reading
Last Saturday over 50 people gatherd in Broadmead for an anti-Workfare demonstration called by ourselves and Bristol Solidarity Federation. Aswell as friends from Bath Anarchists (BARF), the IWW and the Socalist Party there were plenty of new faces we hadn’t seen on previous demos.
Before we had even set off our spirits were lifted by the news that Superdrug had already pulled out of workfare just before the demonstrations set to take place across the country, Result! The first stop on our tour of companies using forced labor under the workfare scheme was Dorothy Perkins in Cabot Circus. Its always good to reclaim spaces like Cabot that are technically no longer public but in the hands of private owners. The security were powerless to stop us due to our weight of numbers, and ability to resist their clever mind tricks such as saying ‘don’t you want to go that way instead?‘. Continue reading
The spring & early summer saw an active campaign against companies involved in workfare in Bristol; Youth fight for jobs organised a demo, followed by three more organised by ourselves. We saw successes as part of a national campaign that resulted in numerous high profile companies pulling out including Boots, Sainsburys, BHS and Holland&Barratt – who now pay their new staff.
However since then things have been a bit quiet, and the government has taken this as an oppurtunity to push the scheme again convincing retailers to take people on workfare schemes instead of hiring temporary christmas staff or giving existing workers more overtime.
So its about time it all kicked off again! Our Friends over at Solfed have called for a demonstration focusing its attention on Poundland (solfeds workfare target nationally), taking place this Sunday. Bring yourselves, banners, flags and your mates!
Where: Poundland, 42 – 46 East Street, Bedminster.
When: This Sunday(18th) 11.30am – 1pm
(those of you in east bristol can get the train from stapleton road > bedminster (changing at templemeads, takes half an hour)
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/556646751018678/
Indymedia Event: https://www.bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/711772