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Sunday, February 17, 2013

List Of Workfare Companies

This is a list of contact details I have compiled of the grasping corporations that stand accused of taking advantage of mandatory unpaid labour schemes forced onto the unemployed by the Tory government and the DWP.

Here's an article explaining how these schemes are immoral, unlawful and economically illiterate.

The reason this list has been created is that the Conservative led government have flatly refused to release details of the companies involved in the mandatory unpaid work sentencing of the unemployed despite numerous Freedom of Information requests. Their stated reason for witholding this information from the public: The mandatory work programme would "collapse" if the names were made public, due to the likelihood of protests against the organisations involved.

Please keep up the pressure on these companies by emailing them to tell them what you think of their policy of helping the Conservatives to attack labour rights and undermine the National Minimum Wage, through their involvement in these schemes.

If we, the public, don't explicitly tell these corporations that we're boycotting them, the economic impact of the boycott could just be misinterpreted by these companies as a side effect of George Osborne's
self-defeating ideological austerity experiment. The more of us that take the time to explain our opposition to these schemes, the more likely it is that we will persuade these companies to cease participation in these outrageous Corporate Welfare Scrounging scams.

Please do not use these contact details to send abusive messages, doing so will undermine the case we are trying to make. The way to win the case is with good arguments, not with foul language and abuse.






THE WORKFARE COMPANIES 
This is by no means an exhaustive list, just an attempt to name-and-shame some of the biggest corporations to have taken advantage of mandatory unpaid labour
 
A4e
This company are one of the biggest beneficiaries of Tory welfare policy. In 2011 the company turnover was £180 million (100% of it from government contracts) out of this the bosses divvied up £11 million between them. Not only do they have a catastrophic record of failing to meet minimum targets on their lucrative government contracts, and accusations of fraud against them, they have also taken to using mandatory unpaid labour too. 
Contact Details:  
Complaints form: click here
Customer Service: customerservices@a4e.co.uk
Head of Communications: kmccrory@a4e.co.uk
Media Relations Manager: jkerr@a4e.co.uk
Twitter: @officialA4e

The AA (Deny involvement using what seems to be deliberately ambiguous language)
The breakdown recovery service is actually owned by a holding group called Acromas Holdings. The AA have been accused of taking advantage of mandatory unpaid labour at the taxpayers' expense.
Contact details:
Feedback form: click here 
Customer Service: customer.service@theaa.com
Press Office: press.office@theaa.com 
Chief Executive (Acromas): Andrew.Goodsell@saga.co.uk
UPDATE: The AA deny that they have ever been involved in mandatory labour schemes, but have not confirmed or denied involvement in "so-called" voluntary schemes. We should ask them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. The AA is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is AA company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

Arcadia
Arcadia is Philip Green's giant retail group, which is more famous for having avoided hundreds of millions of pounds in tax by paying dividends via Green's wife who is nominally resident in Monaco than for exploiting unpaid labour via Workfare. It has been reported that several stores within the Arcadia group (Topman, Topshop, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Outfit and Wallis) have also been using forced unpaid labour. What makes this such an outrageous example is that Philip Green is happy to cost the taxpayer £millions by dodging tax on family dividends from the Arcadia Group, but then he is prepared to cash in at the other end by taking advantage of free labour in many of his stores, all paid for at the taxpayers' expense!
Contact details: 
Press relations (Arcadia Group): corporatepress@arcadiagroup.co.uk
Complaints form (Topman): Click here
Complaints form (Topshop): Click here

Complaints form (Evans): Click here
Complaints form (Dorothy Perkins): Click here
Complaints form (Burton): Click here
Complaints form (Wallis):  Click here
Customer service (Outfit): customer.service@outfitfashion.com
Twitter: @TopmanUK, @Topshop, @Dorothy_Perkins, @Burton_Menswear, @Wallis_Fashion, @EvansClothing
Press relations (Topman): topmanpress@topman.com
Press relations (Topshop): topshoppress@topshop.com
Press relations (Evans): evanspress@arcadiagroup.co.uk
Press relations (Dorothy Perkins): dorothyperkinspress@arcadiagroup.co.uk
Press relations (Burton): burtonpress@arcadiagroup.co.uk
Press relations (Wallis): wallispress@arcadiagroup.co.uk
Press relations (Outfit): outfitpress@arcadiagroup.co.uk   


Argos (Admit involvement in unpaid labour schemes)
The familiar high street chain Argos is actually a subsidiary of the giant Home Retail Group that also own Homebase and brands including Alba, Bush, Habitat and Hygena. I'm sure they'd be keen to hear your concerns about their use of mandatory unpaid labour.
Contact Details:  
Business email: info@argos.co.uk
Corporate responsibility (HRG): gordon.bentley@homeretailgroup.com, corporate.responsibility@homeretailgroup.com
Media relations (HRG): media.relations@homeretailgroup.com
Managing director: john.walden@argos.co.uk
Twitter: @Argos_Online
UPDATE: Argos have confirmed that they are involved in unpaid work-for-your-benefits schemes, however they contest that they are not the mandatory type, however anyone that quits the scheme can still be sanctioned for up to three years, meaning that if anyone is tricked into enrolling on such schemes, the taxpayer is funding Argos with free labour and the participant has ability to quit without facing destitution. 

Asda
Asda is one of the big four supermarkets in the UK. They are owned by the US supermarket giant Walmart. Asda's own website admits involvement in unpaid "work-for-your-benefits" schemes. Here's what they say "If you are long-term unemployed and are on Job Seekers Allowance, you can still claim your benefit while having weeks of valuable work experience" The only form of payment these poor "workfare" workers can expect is that each day Asda will give them "feedback on how they're doing".
Asda contact form: Click here
Twitter: @Asda

Facebook: Asda
Walmart contact form: Click here
Walmart Twitter: @Walmart
Walmart Facebook: Walmart

B&Q 
B&Q is a large UK based multinational home improvement retailer which turned over in excess of £4.4 billion in 2010 and made a profit of £161 million. This hasn't stopped them from taking advantage of forced unpaid labour, with reports of several B&Q outlets relying on unemployed people serving Workfare sentences to carry out menial tasks. B&Q is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kingfisher Plc, which turned over more than £10 billion in 2012 and made profits of £639 million.
Contact details:

Contact form: Click here
Twitter: @BandQ
Facebook: B&Q

Customer enquiries (Kingfisher): customerenquiries@kingfisher.com
Media (Kingfisher): pressenquiries@kingfisher.com
Corporate Responsibility (Kingfisher): corporateresponsibility@kingfisher.com
Twitter (Kingfisher): @KingfisherPlc

BT 
The once-upon-a-time national telecommunications provider has, since privatisation, morphed into one of the largest and most profitable telecommunications companies in the world with 2011-12 revenue of almost £19 billion. This hasn't stopped them from exploiting rightless, wageless workers supplied at the taxpayers' expense by the DWP.
Contact details:
Press office:
newsroom@bt.com
Corporate responsibility: yourviews@bt.com
Chief Executive: ian.livingston@bt.com
Twitter: @BT UK 
Facebook: BT Lets Talk

Carrillion
Carillion has grown into one of the largest construction groups in Europe since it was formed through a demerger from Tarmac in 1999. The company had a turnover of over £5 billion in 2011 and it is so large that it brought up and subsumed the once iconic Alfred McAlpine construction group. This financial might has not stopped them from taking advantage of free, rightless labour provided by the DWP at the taxpayers' expense.
Contact details: 
Enquiries: enquiry@carillionplc.com
Press Office: rik.kendall@carillionplc.com 
Government affairs: anne.toms@carillionplc.com
Chief Executive: richard.howson@carillionplc.com
Twitter: @Carillionplc

Debenhams (Admit involvement in unpaid labour schemes)
Debanhams has 165 stores across the UK and Ireland and has a turnover of £2.2 billion. They too have been taking advantage of wageless, rightless workers supplied by the DWP at the taxpayers' expense.
Contact details:
Press Office:
press.office@debenhams.com 
Customer services: customerrelations@debenhams.com 
Company secretary: company.secretariat@debenhams.com (Paul Eardley)
Twitter: @Debenhams

Facebook: Debenhams - the official page 
UPDATE: Debenhams have confirmed that they are involved in unpaid work-for-your-benefits schemes, however they contest that they are not the mandatory type. We should ask them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. Debenhams is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Debenhams company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...


Greggs the Baker (Admit involvement in unpaid labour schemes, claim policy is now under review)
Famous for supplying junk food to the masses since 1952. They now have more stores in the UK than the Multinational giant McDonalds. Greggs pulled in revenues of over £700 million in 2011, but that hasn't stopped them from exploiting those unfortunate enough to find themselves without a job in these austere times. This use of unpaid labour seems to contradict their value of "fairness", which, according to their website involves "avoiding favouritism". I'd say that paying some of your employees a wage, whilst expecting others to work for no pay is a glaring example of favouritism, wouldn't you?
Contact details:
Feedback form: click here
Chief Executive: ken.mcmeikan@greggs.co.uk
Twitter: @GreggstheBaker
Facebook: Greggs the Bakers
UPDATE: Greggs have responded to numerous questions on their Facebook page that all of their "work-for-your-benefits" placements are "voluntary" and that they have a number of people "currently working through this system". I've asked them whether these "voluntary placements" are paid at the National Minimum Wage, or if the cost of their subsistence covered by the taxpayer through the payment of Jobseekers Allowance? We should ask them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1.Greggs is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Greggs company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...
PS, credit is at least due to Greggs for the fact that they have at least responded to the concerns of their customers, unlike other corporate Facebook pages that have mass deleted similar messages. 

  
Hilton Hotels (Deny involvement using ambiguous language)
Hilton hotels is one of the largest hotel groups in the world, a subsidiary of the United States based Blackstone Group LP, a gigantic financial services company which specialises in leveraged buyouts (loading up a company with debt in order to fund its own purchase, often followed by asset stripping and outsourcing of jobs). In 2010 Blackstone recorded assets of nearly $19 billion and revenues of over $3 billion, their chief executive Stephen A Schwarzman paid himself something in the region of £750 million in 2011. Despite this they still feel the need to profit on the misfortune of others by using mandatory unpaid labour supplied by the DWP. Do you wonder why the Tories are so keen to boost the profits of this US based company by providing them free labour at the UK taxpayers' expense?
Contact details:

Feedback form: click here
Press office: press.office@hilton.com
Twitter: @HiltonWorldwide

Facebook: Hilton Hotels & Resorts 
Enquiries (Blackstone): info@blackstone.com
UPDATE: In email responses Hilton Hotels deny involvement in one particular scheme (MWA) but do not mention any of the various other schemes that are collectively known as "workfare". We should keep up the pressure by asking them them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. Hilton Hotels is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Hilton Hotles company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...
 

Marriott Hotels (Deny involvement, awaiting official public statement)
Marriot is another US based hotel group accused of exploiting unemployed people at the expense of the UK taxpayer. Marriot had revenues of $12.3 billion in 2011 but despite this they still couldn't resist a few freebies from the UK taxpayer.
Contact details:
Feedback form: click here
President/CEO: arne.sorenson@marriott.com  
Twitter: @Marriott Hotels, @MarriotUK
Facebook: Marriott Hotels & Resorts 
UPDATE: Marriot have been responding to emails with emails containing the following statement. "It is our company policy that all employees are paid at least the national minimum wage.  Marriott does not participate in the U.K. government administered workfare schemes." If we could get them to make a public announcement to that effect it would be great and they could be taken off the list.

McDonalds (Admit involvement in unpaid labour schemes)
Everyone knows McDonalds, the gigantic fast food outlet with mind-boggling revenues of $27.5 billion in 2012 and assets of almost £33 billion. To put this into context, if McDonalds was a country they would fit between Paraguay and Cameroon as the 96th richest nation on earth. McDonalds have already shown that they care about public perception by rejecting the Olympic tax-dodge after a social networking revolt led by the protest website 38 Degrees. If enough people expressed their outrage at McDonalds exploitation of rightless and wageless labourers supplied by the DWP at the taxpayers expense, We should be confident that they would cease involvement in such schemes in order to protect their precious "brand image".
Contact details:
Feedback form: click here
UK Press office: pressoffice@uk.mcd.com 
Twitter: @McDonalds
Facebook: McDonalds, McDonalds UK
UPDATE: McDonald's admit that they are involved in so-called voluntary "workfare" schemes. We should keep up the pressure by asking them them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. McDonalds is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is McDonalds company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

Pizza Hut (Claim to have ceased involvement)
Pizza Hut is a wholly owned subsidiary of the US food and drinks giant Yum Brands, a company that recorded 2011 Revenues of $12.6 billion Yet another giant US based multinational that are accused of exploiting unpaid labourers at the expense of the UK taxpayer.  
(NOTE: I originally stated that the owners of Pizza Hut were Pepsico, that information was way out of date. Apologies for the error).
Contact details:
Feedback form (global): click here 
UK feedback form: click here
UK press office: pizzahut@lexisagency.com 
Twitter: @pizzahut
Facebook: Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut - UK
Contact details (Yum!): webmaster@yum.com
Twitter: @yumbrands
Facebook: Yum! Brands
UPDATE: Pizza Hut have claimed that they are no longer involved in "workfare" schemes. We should keep up the pressure by asking them them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. Pizza Hut is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Pizza Hut company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

Poundland (Deny involvement using ambiguous language)
During Cait Reilly's successful case against the DWP, her experience of being unlawfully forced to give up her voluntary work to stack shelves and sweep floors at Poundland for no pay became one of the most oft cited examples of Workfare "Corporate Scrounging". Poundland is one of the biggest users of rightless, wageless workers provided by the DWP at the taxpayers' expense. The company have made misleading statements on withdrawing from the mandatory work schemes, however they still admit to using unpaid labour. What a lot of people don't know is that Poundland is actually owned by the US based private equity fund Warburg Pincus. Yet another US company cashing in on free labour paid for by the UK taxpayer.
Contact details:

Feedback form: click here
Press centre: poundland@bottlepr.co.uk 
Chief Executive (Warburg Pincus): egustafson@warburgpincus.com 
Twitter: @poundland
Facebook: Poundland UPDATE: Poundland have been denying (in ambiguous terms) that they are involved. They have also taken to deleting questions and comments about their involvement in"workfare" from their Facebook page.
 
Poundstretcher (Deny involvement using ambiguous language)
Poundstretcher is another company that allegedly makes use of free labour provided by the DWP. The company is entirely owned by Aziz Tayub through a parent company called Crown Crest Group, of which he is the 100% shareholder. The Malawian immigrant has been described by an unnamed retail peer as "a very private man who likes to keep out of the media spotlight".  I'm fairly convinced that this man, who built his fortune from a single cornershop in Leicester might be fairly easy to convince, given sufficient public pressure, to distance himself from these mandatory unpaid labour schemes.
Contact details:
Customer support: customer.care@poundstretcher.co.uk

Twitter: @poundstretcher1
Facebook: Poundstretcher
UPDATE: Poundstretcher have responded with claims that they have never been involved in the "specific scheme" mentioned and that it is a case of "mistaken identity" with Poundland. The problem with this response is that Workfare is not a "specific scheme" it is a generic name for a bunch of unpaid work-for-your-benefits schemes, making the Poundstretcher response more than a bit ambiguous. We should keep up the pressure by asking them them to confirm (in an unambiguous press release or public statement) whether either of the following statements are true: 1. Poundstretcher is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Poundstretcher company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

Primark
The Boycott Workfare group exposed Primark as a company that takes advantage of free labour under these mandatory work schemes. Primark gets free labour to cut costs and increase their profits, whilst the taxpayer carries on footing the bill for the workers' unemployment benefits. One of the most disappointing things about Primark's involvement in these unlawful mandatory work schemes is that they make a great deal of their Ethical Trading stance on their website. Primark is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods who are more famous for their food brands such as Allinson flour, Silver Spoon sugar, Twinings tea, Patak's curry pastes, Ryvita biscuits, Ovaltine and Kingsmill bread. ABF had revenues of over £11 billion in 2011 and made a profit of £577 million, plenty enough to pay the statutory minimum wage to their trainees and employees.
Contact details:
General enquiries: enquiries@primark.co.uk
Facebook: Primark
Contact form (Associated British Foods): click here
General enquiries (ABF): info@abfood.com

Serco 
This company has been described by the Guardian as "the biggest company you've never heard of". They are one of the biggest outsourcing companies in the UK running all kinds of operations from privatised prisons to a 33% stake in the British Nuclear Weapons programme. They had revenues of over £4.6 billion in 2011 and recorded profits of over £175 million, this hasn't stopped them from taking advantage of mandatory unpaid labour though.
Contact details:

General enquiries: generalenquiries@serco.com
Corporate responsibility: corporateresponsibility@serco.com 
UK Media relations office: charles.carr@serco.com
Twitter: @SercoGroup 
Facebook: Serco Global Services

Shoe Zone (Claim to have quit "the scheme", 2 statements remain unconfirmed)
Shoe Zone is a retail outlet (which includes the Stead & Simpson shoe stores too) with 800 stores, over 5,000 employees and an annual turnover of over £500 million. They have their own charitable trust called the Shoe Zone trust which donates to a range of charities, which suggests that they perhaps take corporate social responsibility quite seriously. One imagines that they may be prepared to act swiftly to quit to Workfare scheme if they receive a large number of complaints.
Contact details:

General enquiries: info@shoezone.com
Press Office: shoezone@bottlepr.co.uk
General enquiries (Stead & Simpson): info@steadandsimpson.com
Twitter: @ShoeZone
Facebook: Shoe Zone
UPDATE: This is the latest copy n' paste from Shoe Zone: "Following feedback from you and other Shoe Zone customers, we have reviewed our involvement with the DWP’s work experience programme and wanted to let you know that we’ve decided not to participate in the scheme", which is good. However it wopuld be even better if we could get them to confirm these two simple statements:. 1. Shoe Zone is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Shoe Zone company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

The Works
The Works is a discount book chaim with over 300 outlets in the UK. They are owned by the Leeds based private equity group Endless LLP. Endless describe themselves as a "transformational investor" and boast about having revenues of over £1 billion on their website. Perhaps public pressure on Endless will convince them to take the "transformational" step of paying all of their workers in accordance with the statutory minimum wage instead of exploiting wageless workers supplied at the taxpayers' expense by the DWP.
Contact details:
General enquiries: enquiries@theworks.co.uk 

Twitter: @TheWorksStores 
 Facebook: The Works
 Contact form (Endless LLP): Click here
Managing Director (Endless LLP): chris.clegg@endlessllp.com
Chairman (Endless LLP): peter.yendell@endlessllp.com 
Twitter: @EndlessLLP 

Wetherspoons (Admit involvement)
JD Wetherspoon is one of the largest pub chains in the UK with 860 outlets. In 2011 they turned over £1 billion and made a profit of £46.8 million. They too stand accused of exploiting rightless, wageless workers provided by the DWP at the taxpayers' expense.
Contact details:
Feedback form: Click here

Ideas form: Click here (and tell them that it would be a nice "idea" for them to pay all of their employees in accordance with the statutory minimum wage)
General enquiries: myjdw@jdwetherspoon.co.uk
Twitter: @jdwtweet
Facebook: Weatherspoon

WHSmiths (Deny involvement, using ambiguous language)
The WHSmiths chain of newsagents and railway shops is one of the most iconic names in British retail. The company had a turnover of over £1.2 billion in 2012 and made an £84 million profit. They too stand accused of participating in the DWP's work for no pay schemes.
Contact details:
Feedback form: Click here
Customer relations: customer.relations@whsmith.co.uk
Twitter: @Whsmithscouk,
 Facebook: WHSmiths
UPDATE: WHSmiths have asserted in replies to email concerns that the that they do not use "the workfare scheme". The email I received showed absolutely no indication that my email had actually been read. "Workfare" is a generic name for several different unpaid labour schemes, so referring to it as a singular scheme in their copy & paste replies is at best ambiguous. We should ask that they clarify the situation with a press release stating whether either of the following statements are true: 1. WHSmiths is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is WHSmiths company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

Wilkinson (Deny involvement, using ambiguous language)
Wilkinson is a hardware retailer with 364 branches in the UK. They have been involved in the Workfare programme too, undermining the statutory minimum wage by exploiting unpaid labour.
Contact details:
Customer services: customer.services@wilko.co.uk
Twitter: @LoveWilko
Facebook: WilkinsonPlus
UPDATE: Wilkinson have asserted in a Tweet and on Facebook that they do not use Workfare. We should not accept unsubstantiated assertions and ask instead that they clarify the situation with a press release stating whether either of the following statements are true: 1. Wilkinson is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf. 2. That it is Wilkinson company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the national minimum wage. Awaiting response...

COMPANIES REMOVED FROM THE LIST

Toni & Guy 
From the moment they were contacted Toni & Guy have insisted that they have never been involved in any unpaid "work-for-your-benefits" schemes. Their head of Human Resources has contacted me directly and categorically stated that:

1.TONI&GUY are not involved in any unpaid work-for-your-benefits schemes

2. It is TONI&GUY’s Company policy to pay at least the National Minimum Wage to all employees (including trainees).

It seems that their inclusion on the list was a mistake, however given the heinous veil of government secrecy over which companies are involved in these "workfare" schemes it is almost inevitable that mistakes like this are going to be made. Censoring the verifiable information on who is involved doesn't magically make the labour rights protestors go away, it simply makes the organisation of effective protest that much more difficult.

Superdrug

Superdrug is the second largest chemists in Britain with 900 stores. It is part of the multinational Hong Kong based A.S. Watson Group which in turn is a subsidiary of the gigantic Hutchinson Whampoa group. Hutchinson Whampoa is 50% owned by the Cheung Kong Holdings group. On March 19 2013 Superdrug announced on Facebook that they have withdrawn from the "workfare" schemes they had previously admitted involvement in.


 Here are a few tips on what to write if you decide to use any of the email addresses provided:
1. Remember to be polite. A rude email is unlikely to convince anyone of anything, other than to harden their stance against anything you say.
2. Tell them that you are a customer and that you will be boycotting their store until you are certain that they have ceased involvement in mandatory unpaid labour schemes.

3. Request that they comply with the statutory Minimum Wage for all of their staff.

4. Be concise. The recipient is almost certain to be a busy working person. Try not to exceed two or three short paragraphs, anything longer and your message is likely to go unread.
5. Ask specific questions. Ask them to explicity confirm that they A. Are not involved in taxpayer funded "work-for-your-benefits" schemes and B. Pay all employees (including trainees) in accordance with the National Minimum Wage.
6. Request a response. Ask that someone in authority replies to your concerns.
7. Follow up: If no response is forthcoming, forward the original email to them after a few days with a covering note explaining that you are awaiting a response.
If you don't fancy drafting your own letter, I have provided a template letter that can be copy and pasted into your email in the next section.


 It is a much better idea to compose your own letter, since repeated iterations of the same template are much more likely to be ignored. However, if you do not have much time, or you are not confident in drafting letters, then I've prepared a template letter for you to use.


Simply copy and paste the following text into your email and replace the [blanks] as appropriate:
______________________________________________________________________________

Dear [Use full name if apparent]


I am a longstanding customer of [Name of retail outlet] but I have decided to boycott your company because I object to your involvement in mandatory unpaid labour (Workfare) schemes. I believe that the exploitation of unpaid labour is morally wrong and urge you to reconsider your involvement with these DWP Workfare placements.

I believe that as a responsible employer, your company has an obligation to meet the statutory Minimum Wage for all of your employees. I shall continue my boycott until I am provided with satisfactory evidence that your company is no longer involved in these mandatory work schemes and agrees to the principle that all employees deserve to earn at least the UK National Minimum Wage. I also believe that it is actually in your own interests that these unpaid labour schemes are abandoned, since workers with wages in their pockets are consumers and consumer spending is the principal driver of demand in the retail sector. It may seem counter intuitive that paying your staff better wages would increase your profitability, however Henry Ford demonstrated that he understand this economic principle almost 100 years ago when he made the decision to price his cars low and to pay his workers reasonably well.



I would like your company to make a public statement (press release) explicitly stating these two things:

1 That your company is no longer involved in any of the various unpaid labour or "work-for-your-benefits" schemes administered by the DWP or by private sector interests working on their behalf.


2. That it is company policy that all workers (including trainees) are paid in accordance with the National Minimum Wage.


I would appreciate it if the issues I have raised were dealt with by someone in authority. I shall look forward to hearing your response to these concerns.

Yours

[Your Name]
_________________________________________________________________________________




Aside from numerous email addresses and contact forms, you will have noticed that I have included a number of social media contacts too. I believe that these are just as important as direct messages. A demonstration of the power of social media is probably the fact that you are here at all. The vast majority of visits to this page have come via Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter

 If you send any messages via Twitter, please try to include the hashtag:

#CorporateWelfareScroungers  

It would be great if enough of us used it that it started "trending".

Facebook
If you are going to leave a message on the Facebook wall of any of these companies, please remember to be polite, these pages are perfectly within their rights to remove rude or abusive messages.

I'd be interested to know people's stories of their polite and reasonable comments being censored, or their experiences of being blocked from commenting on particular pages. Please let us know the details in the comments section if this happens to you.




If any companies have withdrawn from participation in these mandatory unpaid work schemes and would like to have their details struck from the list, please send a message to 
corporatewelfarescroungers@gmail.com
with links to supporting evidence (press releases, news coverage, a company letter to the DWP...) that your company has quit the scheme and agree to pay the National Minimum Wage to all employees. Upon receipt of such evidence your company details will be removed from the list as soon as possible.


THANK YOU


I'd like to say thank you to everyone that has given their valuable time to contacting some (or all) of these companies. Without your participation all of my work compiling this list would have been worthless.


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4 comments:

  1. I just had this response from Poundstretcher:
    ear Saskia,
    Thank you for taking the time to contact us. I believe you are mistaken; the participation in the Workfare scheme is attributed to, amongst other companies, Poundland, not Poundstretcher.
    I have spoken to our Human Resources department and can confirm that Poundstretcher has never participated in the specific scheme you have mentioned, nor do we have any plans to in the future. Whilst we have on occasion participated in methods to assist people in finding work, these frequently end in long-term employment for the participant, and are entirely voluntary and with the consent of the individual involved.
    I hope this serves to answer your question.

    Kind regards,

    Robert Hughes LLB (Hons)
    Customer Service Advisor
    Customer Service Department | Poundstretcher Ltd, Trident Business Park, Leeds Road, Huddersfield, HD2 1UA

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  2. They should go to work for their benefits. It's long term unemployed who have no reason more to work. I'm glad these companies have stepped up and tbh it will do them a favour as they won't be using gas or electricity at home. They shouldn't be able to afford a car cat and work is local with help or free travel they should be grateful they just didn't stop their benefits.

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  3. New Look fashion retailer appear on a JCP circular issued last week (w.c 11 March). They're offering a "voluntary work experience placement". The circular points out that "these are placements, not a job. Will last between 2-8 weeks and are designed to give you hands on experience in key skills".

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