Work for free and 'be of benefit' to a multinational like Tesco

So now we know. Back in August last year, I wrote a comment piece for the Guardian, focusing on the increasing noise about people being forced to work in return for their jobseeker’s allowance – an idea whose roots extend well into Labour’s time in government. It focused on two things: so-called mandatory work activity (MWA), whereby people are forced – via the threat of their jobseeker’s allowance being suspended – to put in 30 hours a week doing work “of benefit to the community”; and other “work experience” schemes, in which people do up to eight weeks of unpaid labour, with one proviso: they can refuse to take part or pull out during the first seven days, but thereafter the work becomes compulsory, under pain of their benefit being withdrawn.

 

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