Scrap this scheme

FOLLOWING protests at Tesco stores calling on them to pull out of the compulsory work experience scheme for the unemployed, I carried out on a Friday afternoon, a survey of employers in Wisbech.

Out of 17 retailers contacted, 12 said they do not have people referred by the Job Centre on unpaid work experience. However, five said they do. They are: Argos, Boots, Holland & Barrett, Poundland, and Savers.

Tesco met huge opposition when they advertised a full-time, permanent position for which you would receive a dole payment plus expenses - all part of the Con-Dems’ Work Programme.

The protests at Tesco stores up and down the country has already had an effect with Tesco announcing that it will offer paid placements and guaranteed jobs for all those who complete the work experience scheme at its stores.

And others have taken note too. TK Maxx, Waterstones, Matalan, 99p Stores and Sainsbury’s and others have pulled out of the scheme. Poundland has announced that they have suspended their involvement in Workfare.

As a member of Unite the union, I support the union’s policy that all unemployed people currently on a workfare placement should be taken on with a proper wage.

The Work Programme should be scrapped. The national minimum wage should be increased for all workers to £8 an hour, regardless of age.

We must keep up the pressure to force all companies remaining part of the Work Programme to withdraw immediately.