The fabric of Britain as we know it is being ripped apart. So much is changing, almost behind our backs, we haven't got time to notice what is happening to us. And it is happening fast.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Nice workfare if you can get it.

We thought you might be interested in this position working nights at Tesco - for your £67 a week JSA, plus travel expenses.

It's one of the 1,400 positions Tesco fills by using staff on 'workfare' schemes - that is, funded by taxpayers. They say that 300 of those obtained paid employment with the company.

Tesco's financial report last year (record profits of £3.5bn) boasted that they made £14,300 profit per employee. With an increasing number of their staff employed without wages, we expect that will increase even more. Lucky old Tesco.

Some people seem unclear about the way these schemes function: There is no job contract.

The employer has a deal with one of the scheme administrators, like A4E who get around £5k for each claimant placed. The claimant is sent on placement by the JobCentrePlus. The claimant doesn't get a choice and their benefits can be stopped if they don't do as they're told.

The employer/provider doesn't get to choose choose who is sent. Their contract is with the agency - to provide the place - and the worker is controlled by the government.

Since the employer doesn't employ the workfarer, employment laws do not apply to the post. With compulsory, indefinite workfare being rolled out for disabled and sick people, this raises concerns about bullying and abuse on placements as well as the obvious dangers to people's health.

Fellow Frother MmeLindor has blogged more on the Tesco job at

There are currently 8 job seekers for every job. Obviously, these schemes take vacancies off the market - why pay wages, when you can get the taxpayer to provide staff for free?

Read our first post about workfare here - take a look at the readers' comments. Find out more at

Mainstream retailers using workfare staff include:
Miss Selfridge
Dorothy Perkins
BHSMarks & Spencer
Holland & Barrett
Royal Mail (pilot scheme)
Burger King
Pizza Hut
Greggs the bakers
Booker Wholesale
WH Smith

Retailers who don't use workfarers:
The Co-op & Co-operative group
John Lewis & Waitrose
99p Stores has withdrawn
Waterstones has withdrawn
TKMaxx has withdrawn
Sainsbury's has withdrawn
Poundland has withdrawn
Superdrug say they will withdraw
Matalan has suspended its involvement
Argos has suspended its involvement
Greggs is reviewing its involvement
Tesco has altered the terms of its involvement

The Independent, 18th Feb 2012
The Independent, 24th Feb 2012
BBC, 24th Feb 2012

Tesco, Sept 2011 (Note dress code) 5 wanted

What can I do?

Boycott the companies exploiting staff on benefits.

Sign this petition:

Tweet your objections here:

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Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Save Our Free Health Service

We have until the 16th May to petition the Government to drop their Health Bill and call for a re-think.

For clues as to where the Health Bill will lead us in its present form, watch this Panorama report on America's underclass. Most ended up on the streets due to healthcare costs.

Add your name to the Health Bill petition here:

Please share this link as widely as possible:-

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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Here's to hoping you never get sick or lose your job...

It's hard to know what to write today.

Yesterday was a day of opportunity, a chance to put the odious Welfare Reform Bill a little bit to rights with 7 small amendments proposed by the House of Lords. Yes, each one reduced the amount of total savings projected in upfront terms - but long term the opportunities they provided disabled people, single parents and the unemployed in expensive areas would have saved a lot more. Instead, Financial Privilege has been used and abused to ignore the expert opinions provided by the House of Lords

Three concessions have been offered to the Welfare Reform Bill by the government as follows:

• Families affected by the £26,000 welfare cap will be given at least nine months "grace period" to adapt to the loss of benefits, by finding a job or moving house.

• A discretionary fund will be established for local authorities to use in "difficult cases" - such ensuring a family is not forced to move when a child is at a critical stage in its schooling.

• The lowest income single parents seeking support from the Child Support Agency will not be charged a fee (the current plan proposes a £50 fee for parents on out of work benefits)

@BendyGirl said the rest best, and we will leave it to her: The Death of Decency

#Frothers will keep running and campaigning - keep following for more updates on changes to Britain's Welfare State.

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