The last week has seen two more victories in the ongoing battle against the governments workfare scheme!
Homebase & Argos (both owned by the ‘Home Retail Group’) have ended their involvement. Homebase was only exposed for using the scheme in April, and originally boasted it was getting them ‘750 hours (work) with no costs’. Turns out there was a cost after all. Bristol Anarchist Federation launched a week of action targeting their online presence and branches of their stores. Along with members of the Solidarity Federation, Boycott Workfare, and thousands of angry folks on twitter/facebook we managed to get their attention.
The big weekend! Homebase have been quiet since Wednesday, when they released a frankly lame statement about maybe suspending further commitment to workfare. They’re probably waiting to see what happens so lets make sure we get their attention.
If you can, get down to a protest, listed on facebook and indymedia (Bristol Bath) or grab a friend, print some of the boycott workfare leaflets and head to your local homebase to talk to staff/customers!
If neither is possible call them on 0845 077 8888 or try 0800 0850565 (always be polite to ppl who work in call centres).
You can also drop them a fax for free using Continue reading
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