The attempt by the Department for Work and Pensions to place unpaid unemployed workers in Tesco’s supermarkets, giving the company hundreds of thousands hours of unpaid work, has been dropped.
Tesco claimed the placements were an IT/typing error. It was overwhelmed as tens of thousands of customers bombarded Tesco’s self-promotional social media sites with complaints over the exploitation of young people by this forced labour.
More than 100,000 placements have been created to try and mask youth unemployment. But following Tesco’s retreat, Sainsbury’s, Waterstones, TK Maxx and others are scurrying away.
The Department for Work and Pensions and ministers brazenly deny that they were providing free, not even cheap labour, to the employers but the threat of consumer boycotts has quickly changed the employers’ minds. It would be better named Department of the Workhouse as it oversees increasing unemployment – over 48,000 more in January 2012. ■