Poundland: still using workfare

Despite being the focus of the court judgement of 12 February which ruled workfare regulations unlawful, Poundland continue to use unpaid labour. In a statement after the judgement, Poundland boss Jim McCarthy said

“Poundland recognises the importance of offering work experience to people looking to get back into work.

“We have been working in partnership with the Job Centre Plus over the last few months to launch our own work experience programme for those considering a career in retail. Our work experience programme is completely voluntary – no one has their benefits taken away from them at any point during the process. This programme replaces any involvement with the
Department of Work and Pensions prime providers and their work experience schemes.

Solidarity In Action on Brighton Poundland Picket

On Saturday Brighton Solidarity Federation were joined by Brighton Benefits Campaign on our first picket in the national campaign against Workfare profiteers Poundland. Over the course of two hours we handed out a thousand leaflets and struck up many conversations with the public at their North Street store. This follows the high court ruling that the DWP were within the law to force two unemployed workers out of voluntary work and into unpaid labour at the store.


Workfare means unemployed people being forced to do unpaid work for their benefits. Workfare is a state subsidy to private businesses, providing free labour and undercutting the minimum wage. We say end unpaid work. Use the tabs for more background information, or see below for the latest.



Myth #1: The unemployed are lazy so they need to be forced to work - if they tried, they could get jobs

In reality, the vast majority of the unemployed can't get work, because there's no work for them to go to!  There are now more than 2.6 million unemployed people in the UK, chasing around 450,000 jobs. The unemployment total is at its highest in nearly 20 years and will rise even further because of the government's austerity programme.


About workfare

What is workfare?

Unemployed people being forced to work for free for up to 6 months with no guarantee of a job afterwards, many of them for major high street companies.

Does workfare help the unemployed?

The government’s own research found that in countries that introduced workfare it could actually lower a jobseeker’s chances of finding a job. Where previously these roles would have been filled by paid staff, employers get to take advantage of a growing pool of jobseekers they won’t have to pay.


Avoid workfare

1. Don’t volunteer for “Work experience”!

Once you volunteer for job centre ‘work experience’ it becomes mandatory. Then if you stop doing this work experience, your benefits can be stopped.

Make sure this doesn’t happen to you:



contact info: 

You can get in touch via solfed[AT]solfed.org.uk, which will put you in touch with your nearest SF Local or relevant SF collective.