Poundland ‘gets jobless to work for free under government scheme’

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

Several of those who have wo rked 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.”

“Considering it is supposed to be work experience you’d think they would teach you how to work the till. But we have just been stacking shelves all day,” one person on the scheme told the Guardian.

Poundland paid no wages and made no other contribution. Participants said they were not provided with any paperwork to record the time they had spent in a store.

All the participants contacted by the Guardian said they had been told they needed to do work experience by a “work coach” at their local jobcentre. The coach selected Poundland from a list of potential employers.

Poundland said it had signed a deal in January with the Department for Work and Pensions, which oversees the Jobcentre Plus work experience programme, to take jobseekers on work experience on condition that this was voluntary and not part of any benefit assessment.

It said the programme was designed to “help provide a taste of the world of work” largely for 18- to 24-year-olds with placements lasting between two and eight weeks and for between 25 to 30 hours a week. Those taking part continue to receive their benefits.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]