Tony Greenstein | 03 January 2018 | Post Views:

This is an Older Post From 2013 Which Has Been Updated

Boycott Workfare – Boycott Homebase

The Lies Homebase Tells to Increase Profits
Homebase do one thing and say another

Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

 Know your rights on workfare schemes!  

This poster was leaked from the Haringey Homebase store.  I’s called Stage 1 of the Work Experience Experience.  Now of course a free 750 hours will benefit any store, or rather the profits of that store.  But for the staff it’s a different matter.

It shows exactly how employers view workfare: an easy way to cut the wages bill. Homebase claim “We ensure they work alongside, not replace, paid colleagues”, but a staff member has told us that since tens of workfare placements were brought in, overtime has been cut for everyone. Some people’s hours have been cut from 48 down to 8 – far below the threshold for Working Tax Credits – because that is all they are contracted for.

It turns out 750 hours with no payroll costs – the figure for just one week in just one of Homebase’s 342 stores – does have a massive impact on the paid work available. Apparently it’s an effect that is popular with the regional manager, who we’ve heard has been trying to get all Homebase stores in her region to use workfare, and has been suspending or moving managers who don’t.


Homebase have been quick to claim that the scheme is voluntary, but our source told us that workfare workers have all been told “work for free or lose your benefits”. As Boycott Workfare have exposed, even on paper the Work Experience scheme is only voluntary if you say ‘yes’, since it is backed with the threat of Mandatory Work Activity which carries up to three year sanctions.

The new slavery –    Workfare

Haringey Homebase is not advertising for workers and we’ve heard that managers have been instructed to tell people on workfare that there are no jobs for them. This, despite the fact that last year the boss of Home Retail Group – who also own workfare exploiters Argos – was paid £1.1 million.

The public response to this story has been immense with hundreds of comments on Homebase’s Facebook page deleted, and the company taking it offline at times. But it hasn’t yet been enough. In a week where people claiming benefit have been smeared by the Chancellor, the fact of the matter is that it’s not people on benefits who are scrounging off the taxpayer, it’s businesses. We need to show Homebase that they can’t get away with workfare exploitation and we won’t go away until everyone working in their stores is paid.

Contact Homebase and their parent company Home Retail Group. Order leaflets from Boycott Workfare for a pop-up action at your local store. Help spread the word!

Oh, and if you were ever tempted to think this is a one-off mistake, this is what someone else told us this week: “a friend of mine who was working 40 hours per week at Argos has just had his hours cut by half because they have been getting workfare in. Now he can’t afford his rent.”
Feel free to contact Argos, Homebase’s sister company, too.  

Oops! Homebase let cat out of the bag about using workfare to reduce wage bills

Crosspost from Pride’s Purge

On their Facebook page today, Homebase have denied they’re using unemployed people from the government’s Workfare scheme to work for them for free:
Posted by Tom Pride in hopeless naivety (it’s not satire – it’s workfare!)

Only someone very naive could believe private firms are participating in the government’s workfare scheme because they want to provide work experience for unemployed people out of the goodness of their own hearts and not as a way of reducing their wage bills by using forced labour at taxpayers’ expense.

But ask any of them and they’ll swear the workfare people they’ve taken on are extra to their requirements and are not – repeat not – replacing jobs they would normally have had to pay someone a proper wage to do.

Well. It looks like Homebase have accidentally let the cat out of the bag.
Here’s a poster currently displayed on the wall in the manager’s office of Homebase Haringey – which clearly shows the company is using workfare as a means to reduce their payroll costs:
This is particularly interesting, as Homebase have recently been lying to telling the public they’re not participating in workfare at all. See my previous post about that here:

Looks like Homebase just can’t stop themselves telling porky pies about workfare, doesn’t it?

Homebase are so embarrassed about using workfare – they’re reduced to lying about it

Saturday Mar 2013

On their Facebook page  today, Homebase have denied they’re using unemployed people from the government’s Workfare scheme to work for them for free:

Which is a bit strange when you consider the above tweet from Finsbury Park Job Centre Plus on Wednesday:

See what I mean?

Could it be that Homebase are so embarrassed by their participation in Workfare that they’re reduced to telling porkies about it?

Related articles by Tom Pride:
Salvation Army denies existence of Workfare scheme it participates in (no – not satire)
Victory as online campaign forces Sue Ryder off Workfare scheme
Sue Ryder executives looking to profit from the privatisation of NHS services
The Sue Ryder charity and its sinister Orwellian doublethink
Admit it UK charities – you were conned by Cameron and his so-called ‘Big Society’ garbage
Cameron’s Big Society – TOFFS paying SPIVS to rip off PLEBS
A4e given over 45 million of taxpayers money – to give classes on using toilet paper

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