P2185197 RtWC Tesco Anti-Workfare Tesco (Lo Res)
Anti-Workfare protesters occupy Westminster Tesco Express - London 18.02.2012
A group of Right to Work Campaign and unemployed activists protesting against Tesco's involvement in the Government's Workfare Scheme - which has seen unemployed people receiving Job Seeker's Allowance being forced to work for no wages under the threat of losing their benefits completely, but who have no guarantees of employment when their stint of forced labour is over - occupied the small Tesco Express directly under Portcullis House on Bridge Street, opposite the Houses of Parliament for approximately two hours on 18th Feb. 2012 before dispersing quietly.
This mandatory work activity (MWA) forces people to work for at least 30 hours a week for up to eight weeks, and has been gleefuly taken up by many major retailers who have used this constant supply of forced labour to increase their profits. As well as Tesco, it is known that Poundland, Asda, Boots, Argos and infamous corporate tax-avoider (and frequent target of campaign group UK Uncut) Sir Phillip Green's Arcadia Group, which includes TopShop and Burtons, are using this indentured workforce, and already ordinary full and part-time staff are finding their hours reduced. There were reports over the weekend of staff being laid off because their employers can now get labour for absolutely nothing.
All photos © 2012 Pete Riches
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