Jobseekers have been volunteering at a Poundland shop after being told that they’re likely to lose their Jobseekers’ Allowance if they don’t do voluntary work.
A new leaflet from the Department for Work and Pensions includes private sector companies on a list of places people can volunteer. Heather Allen, manager of Volunteer Centre Dacorum, said:
“The voluntary work being done by these people is mainly stacking shelves. At best, that is work experience rather than volunteering. At worst, it is exploitation. When these unemployed people appear at our door, they are demotivated and they are volunteering only because they are afraid of losing their benefits.”
One of the businesses that actually benefited from the recession is now exploiting the unemployed.
Everything’s £1 at Poundland. Except the wages.
UPDATE: Poundland is now denying that it uses volunteers to stack shelves in its shops, but claim that it does take people on “unpaid mandatory work experience placements”. In a statement given to Third Sector the company claim:
We work in partnership with JobCentre Plus and other government-funded organisations to implement a comprehensive Work Placement Programme designed to provide on the job training for those looking to retail as a career opportunity,” the statement said. “A placement lasts for four to six weeks, and during this time jobseekers continue to receive benefits.