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Unions call on UK high street giants to halt unpaid work schemes.

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    Reported in The Guardian.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2...d-work-schemes
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    why should they? if people want to be paid for the work they do shouldnt they apply for a job that actually pays and not one like this?
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    the background to this is employers try to get round labour laws through contractual arrangements so that employees are deprived of their statutory rights, i.e. unfair dismissal, sick pay, etc. this applies to 'internships' but also agency workers, part time workers who they claim are not really 'employees' but are 'workers' so as to disentitle them to statutory benefit. this traditionally affects the most vulnerable workers; women, foreigners, graduates. kind of similar in a way companies try to disentitle consumers from their statutory rights with store 'policy'.
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    The problem is you can't create jobs from nothing. These schemes are supposed to give people that have no experience something to say they've done - or best case scenario, an offer of a job from the mentor company.

    If it were possible to have the positions available paid - the company would have just created those jobs anyway - and probably given them to someone completely different who had some experience.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    The problem is you can't create jobs from nothing. These schemes are supposed to give people that have no experience something to say they've done - or best case scenario, an offer of a job from the mentor company.

    If it were possible to have the positions available paid - the company would have just created those jobs anyway - and probably given them to someone completely different who had some experience.
    they're not. that's what they say it's for. but they want free labour. if it didn't benefit the business, they wouldn't do it.
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    (Original post by Rancorous)
    they're not. that's what they say it's for. but they want free labour. if it didn't benefit the business, they wouldn't do it.
    Of course. Why should they? Should they do things that are a detriment to their business?
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    As much of a leftist as I am, (and believe me, I am one), it's not exactly "working for free" is it? The article explicitly says that these people are on benefits...

    :dontknow:

    Seems like they're being paid a wage for the privilege of having employment arranged for them. They should count themselves lucky. If they think they'd fare better otherwise, they should voluntarily end their benefits and find a job themselves that they'd prefer.
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    Thank you for posting this. I have read similar stories about this issue before, where people are employed and led to believe they are going to offered a job position at the end and then dismissed without pay. Whilst I believe that getting people off benefits and giving them work experience is a good thing, and I really do support them for trying to break the repetitive and self-fulfilling cycle of no experience, no job, it has to be carried out fairly and not to the exploitation of workers or to profit businesses.

    I remember when I was unemployed and started seeing minimum experience levels of 1 or 2 years for extremely simple jobs such was Warehouse Assistant which used to be abundantly advertised in every paper when I left school in 2004. If I may quote the article:

    Sainsbury's, which has more than 1,000 stores in the UK, says it only now participates in the work trial programme, in which people work a maximum of 16 hours a week for four weeks in an actual job vacancy, and can pull out at any point without sanction.
    I think this has it right. It will be fair on those willing to work and they are not forced to do it. However, whilst this leaves it open to 'dossers' who habitually sign up for jobs to please their Jobcentre representatives, then do not bother turning up, this system of work trials should be able to weed out those willing to work from those unwilling to work, and it is those unwilling to work who should not receive benefits. It is this abhorrent system of money for nothing which has caused huge areas of my local town to become nothing but estates of alcohol, violence, drug-dealing and general squalor where people at the very bottom of society congregate together and turn it into an area where nobody wants to go without fear of being mugged or beaten for the change in their pocket. This has to stop.
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    (Original post by Clip)
    Of course. Why should they? Should they do things that are a detriment to their business?
    are these people employees?

    if so, by law, they are entitled to renumeration and statutory rights like unfair dismissal, sick pay etc.

    if not, what are they?

    interns with exactly the same responsibilities and tasks as employees?

    does that not sound like a 'sham' contract? sham contracts are well known and the employment tribunals and the courts have found them often in relation to agency workers, part-time workers, casual workers. These people are usually amongst the most vulnerable in society. In this case, young people.
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    why should they? if people want to be paid for the work they do shouldnt they apply for a job that actually pays and not one like this?
    What jobs?

    These companies are leading people on with work experience claims for essentially slave labour to save money in the recession....its basically a loophole to not pay your staff.
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    I could understand the scheme if it was directed at long-term employed.

    But most of the people doing it are young people, so its basically its free labour and might stop those businesses from creating a real job. Bit outrageous IMO.
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    (Original post by chrislpp)
    What jobs?

    These companies are leading people on with work experience claims for essentially slave labour to save money in the recession....its basically a loophole to not pay your staff.
    how are they being led on? when you apply for said job youre aware if youre going to be paid or not for it, its not a lottery seeing if youre lucky enough to receive a pay cheque.
    and besides it does make for good work experience, you can quite happily add such work to your CV and apply else where for paid labour.
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    It was a good system set up with good intentions.......but like everything else had been used and abused.

    In reality I believe if you scrap such schemes then the only one who loses out will be the unemployed who genuinely want to work but don't have the necessary skills or experience. Either way there will need to be some form of reforms to the entire system.
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    (Original post by jumpingjesusholycow)
    As much of a leftist as I am, (and believe me, I am one), it's not exactly "working for free" is it? The article explicitly says that these people are on benefits...

    :dontknow:

    Seems like they're being paid a wage for the privilege of having employment arranged for them. They should count themselves lucky. If they think they'd fare better otherwise, they should voluntarily end their benefits and find a job themselves that they'd prefer.
    You'd be happy working 30 hours a week for £53.45?
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    Personally I think they should only work 10 hours a week but also have to volunteer for a charity for say another 10 hours a week. That way they still get minimum wage and also get additional work experience and also get time to apply for jobs.

    TBH you will learn nothing in Tescos
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    (Original post by Herr)
    It was a good system set up with good intentions.......but like everything else had been used and abused.

    In reality I believe if you scrap such schemes then the only one who loses out will be the unemployed who genuinely want to work but don't have the necessary skills or experience. Either way there will need to be some form of reforms to the entire system.
    Do you pay your workers nothing until they have been trained?
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    how are they being led on? when you apply for said job youre aware if youre going to be paid or not for it, its not a lottery seeing if youre lucky enough to receive a pay cheque.
    and besides it does make for good work experience, you can quite happily add such work to your CV and apply else where for paid labour.
    Why should people without experience be paid nothing? Who decides when someone has enough experience to be paid? Why do employers who take part in these schemes have a continuous stream of new workers when it would make more sense to retain the workers that they have already trained if the real reason was not free labour?

    Would a hospital hire a junior doctor and pay him nothing for 10 years because he hasn't enough experience to be a consultant?
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    "I couldn't get a job for 2 years, but now thanks to extra experience in stacking shelves, the job offers are flooding in!"
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    (Original post by Maker)
    Do you pay your workers nothing until they have been trained?
    In Switzerland you mean? Then the answer is no.

    In Liechtenstein, no.

    In Germany, you're crazy?? No one will work for free there.

    In UK, yes.... no more than 12 hours in two consecutive days though, usually more as an evaluation of whether or not I want to take them in for training..... most of these are normally people who've either never worked before and already aged 21 or above or someone who hasn't had a job for over a year or is without a job and previously had a history of not sticking with a job.

    (Original post by Maker)
    Why should people without experience be paid nothing? Who decides when someone has enough experience to be paid? Why do employers who take part in these schemes have a continuous stream of new workers when it would make more sense to retain the workers that they have already trained if the real reason was not free labour?

    Would a hospital hire a junior doctor and pay him nothing for 10 years because he hasn't enough experience to be a consultant?
    You need to understand the way placements work, especially when you're sent there by your government agencies.

    Placement =/= job.
    Training scheme =/= job at the end of it. This is true even for a lot of graduate entry schemes.

    Where a company can offer placements usually the JobCentre and Council will arm-twist them into not hiring someone if it means those placement slots comes to an end.... these departments need placement slots to remain open as to them they want as many people as possible to be able to have a placement. Once you start giving out a placement that's the end of it... you'll be hounded and hounded to ensure it is open or they take it among themselves that the placement is there and just send them over anyway.

    In short, if you've such anger over being asked to work for free, please direct it to your government and not companies.

    Oh yeah, when one of those on placement comes to me all I do is I make them clean tile or stone grouts with a tooth brush, sit in an office to stick labels and every now and then I make them answer the telephone.... though most of the calls aren't real enquiries, just people I purposely ask to call in to over-stress that person see how she handles it. After 2 shifts, I'll give her a free meal voucher and pay either her bus or train fare. Then she is either put on a list of reject, keep in mind or discreetly call back for further training.
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    To be honest have you seen some of the workers in Tesco, I wouldn't hire them. When I did work experience (we are going back a few years now) I worked in superdrug as a shelf stacker / cashier and during the 2 weeks the manager said I was doing better than any previous work experience placement and better than most of his current staff (mainlya s my attitude was good, I learnt quickly and I can manage my own time well. What did the other guys do, lay about moaning about the work, doing the bare minimum and complaining that they were not praised for it.
    After the time was up I was offered a part time job as I was good at it. In general most people just do not try.

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Updated: February 29, 2012
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