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Poundland said it had signed a deal with the DWP to take jobseekers on work experience on condition that it was voluntary [Image: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters].

Poundland seems to be turning into a serial abuser of jobseekers.

It is now five years since Cait Reilly (remember her?) took the DWP to court for forcing her to stack shelves at one of the discount retail chain’s stores. It was forced labour, not voluntary, the company paid her nothing (she only received benefit money) and pocketed all the profits.

In May 2013, This Writer worked out that companies using jobseekers in this way were making profits of almost £1 billion per year – and were being funded by the taxpayer to do it. The public purse lost more than £16 million in the 2012-13 financial year.

And they’re still doing it.

Because nobody has ever bothered to stop them.

Poundland has been criticised for employing jobseekers, without pay, for up to two months under a deal with the government.

Several of those who have worked on the scheme told the Guardian they had worked up to 30 hours a week for at least three weeks stacking shelves in Poundland. They were told that the work experience was voluntary but one said: “I had no say in it really.”

It’s not clear how many jobseekers have been used by Poundland under the scheme as the government said it did not collect information centrally and the work experience was managed locally by jobcentres across the country. However, one store in Bolton has taken on 21 placements since last August, according to information provided in response to a freedom of information request by the Boycott Workfare pressure group.

Source: Poundland ‘gets jobless to work for free under government scheme’ | Business | The Guardian


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