Saturday, February 18, 2012

Workfare, Tesco and Hysteria

Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 2/18/2012 10:10:00 am

Please note: I am not the Devil.

We should be boycotting Tesco, apparently. Not because their stores are cold, sterile shit holes full of employees who seem to be pushing for the accolade of the worst possible customer service ever. Not because they are surprisingly expensive given their rhetoric about cheap prices. No, we should boycott them for taking part in a government scheme:
Tesco has come under increasing pressure from customers to stop participating in government unemployment schemes which allow the company to take on jobseekers to stack and clean shelves for up to eight weeks without paying them.

After a link to a job centre advert was posted on Twitter on Wednesday evening, appearing to show that the supermarket giant was hiring for a permanent role as a night shift worker paying only jobseeker's allowance, customers began bombarding the supermarket chain with complaints on Twitter and on the company's Facebook site and threatening to withdraw their custom.
So what's the problem here? Must be the fact that the scheme is for eight weeks, whereas this job was is permanent. Which leads us to this acknowledgement from Tesco:
Tesco said an IT error was behind the posting.
Fine, so that's sorted then. We can all move on, right? Wrong. The problem, it seems, is the programme itself:
The campaign group Boycott Workfare has said it is organising a protest for 3 March to target firms involved in what it has described as modern-day slave labour.
Oh, here we go. First of all, if you have a problem with Workfare, then the single best thing to do would be to try to get the government to change that programme rather than attacking those companies who take part in a scheme that is, well, perfectly legal. This is the whole tax avoidance thing all over again. Want companies to stop avoiding tax? Get HMRC to be less shit at what they do rather than attempting to attack those companies whose behaviour is perfectly legal.

The second point is that those who do oppose workfare should calm the fuck down when it comes to their hyperbole. Slavery involves being owned entirely by another human being and being paid nothing for what you do. So this workfare programmae is not slavery. These people are being paid to do what they do - they are being paid the JSA to do work for those companies involved in workfare. Sure, the rate might not be particularly good. In fact, it is actually pretty piss poor, since a back of the envelope calculation reveals that the rate paid is less that £2 an hour. Furthermore, these people have a choice - they can either do the work (which, from my understanding of a scheme whose terms seem to vary depending on which article I read, they have to have shown some sort of an interest in) or lose their JSA. Sure, the choice might not be particularly edifying, but it remains a choice. Slaves are not paid; slaves have no choice whatsoever. To call this arrangement slavery is pretty ignorant; in fact, it borders on the offensive.

Behind all this lurks, I suspect, a certain level of snobbery about the jobs that tend to be offered as part of workfare. A lot of people don't want to work in retail. And I can understand why - the work is often tedious, pointless and a lot less inspiring that most people's dream job. But not everyone can work in their dream job. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the vast majority of people don't work in their dream job. They compromise. And a lot of people start from the bottom and work their way up. This is not an inspiring message, I know. But it is a realistic one. Particularly given the current economic circumstances and the fact that the government can no longer afford to keep so many people on long-term benefits.

But I digress. By all means boycott Tesco, and by all means oppose workfare (or whatever it's called). But for God's sake please try to be reaslitic and not hysterical as you do so.

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Posted by The Nameless Libertarian at 2/18/2012 10:10:00 am

37 Blogger Comments:

Anonymous Mr Ecks said...

The slavery stuff is overhyped bollocks.

However what the political shite are doing is providing Trashco with "free" workers at the taxpayers expense. While they do so lots of people who might want a job--you know, wages and all--won't get one stacking at Trashco thanks to blue Labour.

Govt can't afford all the youth now on benefits thanks to minimum wage and all the other shit?. Then start reversing the welfare fucking state. What the stste scum are doing here is helping their special favourite business buddies out without having to hand back any tax money so that real jobs can be created. If they did that their power over peoples lives would diminish and they don't want that do they?.

2/18/2012 10:49:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't give a crap. I just go to wherever is cheapest and minimise my tax, or accept that if I want to stay in a certain country, I will be taxed at a certain rate. Fortunately, there are many places I can move to unlike some people.

2/18/2012 11:33:00 am  
Anonymous Mark Wadsworth said...

Mmh. You are being very fair and even handed about this, not much I can disagree with there.

But maybe you overlook that the big companies which will benefit from this scheme ARE the government (or have a lot of influence on it), it was probably at their behest that this scheme came in.

And of course the Home Counties authoritarians love it, they are always on the side of the big and powerful rent seekers (such as themselves) and against the little rent seekers (i.e. people who want dole money).

2/18/2012 12:24:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

So the scheme is marginally better than slavery, while unemployed families in high cost rental areas are to be made homeless - what is there not to like?

2/18/2012 12:38:00 pm  
Blogger The Nameless Libertarian said...

While maybe not perfect, it is considerably better than slavery. And the post makes no mention of those being subsidised by the tax payer to live in expensive areas. The point is not that this scheme is perfect; rather, the hysterical reaction to it does little to address the problem that the state cannot afford to pay for people to be in LT unemployment. And that's before you get onto the debate of whether it is right for the taxpayer to subsidise such people to not work...

2/18/2012 01:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Lee said...

I wonder how many people reading this would be happy to work 30 hours a week for under £50?

2/18/2012 01:39:00 pm  
Blogger The Nameless Libertarian said...

But equally, we're not happy to subsidise people not to work in the long term through our taxes...

2/18/2012 01:54:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

Likes have got nothing to do with it once people are reduced to industrial fodder - even so, paddy farmers in places like India can only dream at a mouth watering £2 per hour.

2/18/2012 01:56:00 pm  
Anonymous bella gerens said...

I am wondering if the question here depends on the value of the work to Tesco. If Tesco attaches value to the work, it should pay the worker to do it. Thus workfare becomes unfair, because Tesco could be paying that jobseeker a wage, or paying some other jobseeker a wage, for doing the work.

However, Tesco might attach value to the work that is nevertheless smaller than $6 an hour. In which case, it is not allowed to pay the worker to do the work. In this case, workfare is still unfair, because Tesco is getting the value of the work being done without having to pay for the work to be done. The cost of paying for the work is borne, not by Tesco, but by both the jobseeker, who is giving uncompensated time to Tesco that could be used to look for a proper job, and the taxpayer, who is paying for that jobseeker to live while he or she adds value to Tesco.

The disconnect comes from including Tesco in the equation. If workfare involved jobseekers working in some role that would otherwise be paid for by someone's taxes—say, janitoring at a public building—then the taxpayer would still be paying for the value of the work, but would also be receiving the value of the work, and therefore break even.

However, I bet the Public Building Janitors' Union would have something to say about that, which is why it doesn't happen.

2/18/2012 04:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Mr Ecks said...

To be forced to work 30 hours for 50/60 pounds is not acceptable in a society where state socialist thieving and meddling is the cause of the reduced number of jobs anyway. To be in a situation which amounts to "Oh we've (all the political shite for the past 100+ years) fucked up the economy and kept young snots like you down with minimum wage laws but now you are costing us too much so you'll be working for 2 pound an hour anyway and you won't be getting a real job anytime soon".

Again--cut the welfare, return the 100's of billions stolen to the taxpayers, dissolve the moronic regulations and jobs and busineses will return like gangbusters. The reason it won't happen is because of power and rent seeking scum at the top aided and abetted by socialist dross who daily call for poor people to be ground under the heel of the state.

A time of violence is coming to this world including what is left of this country. It is not clear if freedom or tyranny will win because one free soul is worth 100 state arsekissers but there are one hell of a lot of arsekissers.In the chaos and disaster let us hope that a lot of deserving candiates around this nation will have their wagons well and truly (and very, very painfully)fixed.

2/18/2012 07:41:00 pm  
Blogger The Stigler said...

This all comes from things like the minimum wage and benefit withdrawal.

At one time, people got paid shit to start a job for a few weeks. Then after those few weeks, they went up to normal rate and progressed.

The problem of the minimum wage is that you can't do that. You can't pay someone £5/hour for a few weeks as that's breaking the law, yet call them an intern and pay them absolutely nothing all and in this fucking insane country and that's fine.

What people like Tesco are doing is basically job trials, but in disguise, and the gov is giving them the trial period for free (which is entirely rational).

Of course, the statist wankstains that came up with the minimum wage still thinks it helps the poor.

2/18/2012 07:59:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"A time of violence is coming to this world including what is left of this country" - is that because one or two bankers have been shamed into giving their bonuses back?

This thread is full of kindred spirits of the PM shagger

2/18/2012 08:51:00 pm  
Anonymous kitler said...

Crap as they are, Tesco didn't get rich by being idiots. They know that keeping anybody against their will and making them feel undervalued will only result in disruptive unco-operative staff who will damage company property, act abusively to customers and co-workers and without doubt steal everything they can possibly get away with.

And if Tesco don't realise this they soon will.

2/18/2012 09:30:00 pm  
Anonymous farmland investments said...

Oh the drama of it all. Is this what the liberal society has come to - people actualy being asked to do something in exchange for public money/taxes instead of just sitting on the dole on their rears. I like the part about hating TESCO - its a miserable place to shop - but I'd never boycott them for something like this.

2/19/2012 03:53:00 am  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"Oh the drama of it all. Is this what the liberal society has come to - people actualy being asked to do something in exchange for public money/taxes".

Precisely, and some of them seem to think that £2 per hour is just not good enough - for heavens sake, haven't any of these feckless layabouts heard of sudanese subsistence farmers?

2/19/2012 09:10:00 am  
Blogger Dr Evil said...

They should be paying the minimum wage if they requie a worker. Also Tesco is expensive. I have discovered Aldi and truly inexpensive shopping for products with a very good quality. So much cheapoer than Tesco, Sainsbury, Witrose et al.

2/19/2012 04:15:00 pm  
Blogger SadButMadLad said...

@A&E Nurse "paddy farmers in places like India can only dream at a mouth watering £2 per hour"

Earning £2/hr in India is more like earning £10/hr here. Compare like with like. The standard and cost of living in India is nothing compared to the UK.

So yes, a paddy farmer can dream of £2/hr in India, but would probably settle for £1/hr as being pretty good.

2/20/2012 01:13:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

A tad pedantic SBML - the broader point being made was that the race to the bottom still has a little way to go before those in the UK with minimal political clout enjoy the sort of working conditions one normally associates with exploitative economies - but don't worry TESCO are doing their bit to get us there, after all 'every little helps'?

2/20/2012 02:38:00 pm  
Anonymous Steve Perrett said...

I'm not at all sure I undestand the arguments going on here? Tesco (and presumably other businesses?) are taking on some long term unemployed people to give them some work experience? These people aren't losing anything, because they draw jobseekers allowance! But they are gaining some work experience. I suspect that Tesco (and the other businesses) are savvy enough to weed out any jobseekers with an ounce of potential, and possibly offer them a position with the company! (Well that's what I would do) As I see it, these jobseekers are, presumably, actually seeking jobs, and will therefore make every effort to catch the eye of a potential employer (in this case Tesco), and therefore, will put in the maximum amount of effort to impress their prospective employer, or at least to get a very good reference from them that might be used in future job seeking! That all sounds like a pretty good scheme to me! And were I to be unfortunate enough to be long term unemployed, I would be happy to attend such a position were it offered. However. Our old friend the A&E Nurse seems to think this is some sort of retrograde step into third world slavery! And frankly Nurse, I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about? I have seen lots of long term unemployed people, and the one thing that strikes me, is that most of them don't want to work. (I'm not saying all) Most of the young people I've seen just want more benefits. Or they want jobs that it has taken others years of hard graft to attain.

2/20/2012 04:38:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"Tesco (and presumably other businesses?) are taking on some long term unemployed people to give them some work experience?" - yes, experience the feckless can only learn during unpopular nightshifts - putting beans on the shelf during daylight hours is a different skill entirely.

Your personal experience of the scroungers, sorry I meant long term unemployed, adds a great deal to the analysis - thanks for sharing.

2/20/2012 04:49:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been amazed by how little people notice of what occurs around them. Tesco and Asda restock the shelves at night, Sainsburys and Morrisons are closed so maybe they do it behind closed doors?
If the supermarkets/retail are such bad employers how come so many work for them?

2/21/2012 10:54:00 am  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"If the supermarkets/retail are such bad employers how come so many work for them?" - oh, that's easy, limited choice in the job market.

The more interesting jobs are gobbled up by the A's and B's (and always have been) - look at the social demographics for most of the elite professions - very few from the working class succeed in these spheres.

The rest of the workforce have to scramble for less rewarding jobs (financially and intellectually) against a backdrop of growing unemployment - official figure of 2.67 million (8.4%) although some say the true figure may be even higher - even so we still the highest rate in the last 16 years.

In such a climate many workers who have not had the advantages of being brought up in an affluent family must take whatever breadcrumbs are thrown from the table unfortunately - I mean it's hardly rocket science, is it?

2/21/2012 12:16:00 pm  
Anonymous Steve Perrett said...

Why A&E Nurse. I do believe you're a snob? :)
"Very few from the working class?" Aren't we all working class? (Apart from those without a job that is!) Are you not in an elite proffession? Does the demographic include you? What is it with this politics of envy and greed that you spout? Why would you want to take away from somebody who has attained in their lives and pass it to somebody who hasn't? Are you suggesting that we don't give the rich kids an even break? I don't understand your logic. I daresay you'd like to see the Grammar schools closed wouldn't you? So that everybody gets an even chance. Except for those who are a bit smarter than the average. They should be held back to make it a fairer society. Well I'm sick to the back teeth of listening to people like you, who have no fucking idea whinging on about a faire society! My sons best friend at school was a lot brighter than my son! They each had the same opportunities. His friend went on to a grammar school and is now a solicitor. My son works in the local Co-op. But he's quite happy doing his job. Stacking shelves and serving people. That's what he's good at. What he doesn't need is fuckwits like you telling him he's being stiffed by those who have a bit more money than HIS parents! And it's ONLY people like you, who think the world would be a fair place to live if only everybody had the same, that make this world a miserable place to live. I know this is probably impossible for you to understand, but actually, we're not all alike! And let's get this absolutely and perfectly clear. If you keep taking from the rich to give to the poor, then we'll all end up as poor as the poorest person. Because that's what happens in your fucking socialist utopia. And the only people to benefit are the people lucky enough to be in charge. And for fucks sake stop wittering on about third world contries. If you're that concerned, fuck off to Africa and share your misery out there! Or pay more tax and help some of the poor you care so much about! Or send me some money and I'll make my sons life a misery and force hime to attend evening school so he can get an 'elite' Job in about twenty years!

2/21/2012 05:51:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"If you keep taking from the rich to give to the poor, then we'll all end up as poor as the poorest person" - I think you'll find it's the other way round.
In real terms those with the greatest gains during the last 30 years are the supa-rich, in other words it is the rich who keep getting richer - hardly surprising when they can get eople to work for no wage.

Anyway, TESCO have decided to abandon any further participation in this crappy scheme, although why, with profits in excess of £3 billion they couldn't throw a few bob towards those getting their 'experience' on the shitty night shift is beyond me.
Incidentally I've heard it said that fewer than 20% who participate in these exploitative schemes actually go on to find a real job.

The bigger picture here is that the tories are hellbent on developing a mindset in the workplace that would give your average daily heil reader a hard on, surely you can see that - overall, these madcap schemes will have a negligible affect on our economic recovery?

You are very wrong to say I look down on people like your son, not least because my mum spent most of her working life behind a shop counter.
You are half right about grammar schools - even though I went to one myself they are not my preferred model - having said that I am against those who would wish to ban them.

2/21/2012 06:23:00 pm  
Anonymous Steve Perrett said...

Well we had 13 years of Socialist spending that made absolutely no difference to anything! Now we have god knows how long of another useless bunch of twats trying to do something 'for the community' If they stopped treating the 'community' like a comodity or a fuckin pet, and let the 'community' sort itself out, I'd be a lot happier. If they stopped spending billions of pounds on useless fuckin wind farms, there'd be more money to go round! If we stopped spending £50,000,000 a day on a useless, corrupt, unaccountable monstrosity like the EU, we'd have even more money to go around. And there lies the trouble doesn't it? Politicians are fuckin useless at spending our money. And if we didn't have to give them so much to spend, we'd all be much better off wouldn't we? And I really think you need to get away from this envy of rich people. They employ a lot of people. And they don't all get there money from beating poor people into the ground! If you don't like Tesco, don't use it! If enough of us don't use it, it'll close eventually! That's what you want is it? To close down Tesco and Sainsburys? So we can all live in you socialist dream?

And if you seriously think we will all be rich by taking away somebody elses wealth. You my friend need help.
13 years of a Socialist government. Enough time to make an impact I would think? Considering the vast amount of money spent! Came into power with a pretty healthy economy, left power in disgrace and the country on the verge of bankruptcy. Not a brilliant record is it? But you want more of that. You want the Socialists back in so they can borrow even more money to help us out of the pit they got us into. Are you serious? Have a quick look at Greece will you. Yet another bailout so they can almost pay back the interest on the other bailouts. That's going to help the Greek citizens isn't it? A social disaster. More people in the public sector than the economy could sustain. So no matter how you look at it friend, we need people to 'make' money. Not just spend it.

I admire your mother. Not because she worked behind a shop counter. But because she worked. (And somehow, she managed to get you a decent education in a Grammar school.) And I have respect for anybody who holds down a job. But there are still those who have no intention of working while they can get paid to not do so. I once had 3 jobs on the go to feed my family and pay my rent. But the mindset of today is different. Because people like you think that others should share what they have with those less well off. Well I've had a crap 3 years, how about you sharing your money with me?

And I'm right about Grammar schools. They are good places that turn out good and well rounded individuals. And I would have happily swapped my crappy council estate Comprehensive school for your Grammar school.

2/21/2012 07:24:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"we do not class the disabled as needy. They're that way because they did something bad in a previous life" - well said, phil.'keep-him-going'-201202214918/

2/22/2012 09:56:00 am  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

2/23/2012 08:30:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find Tesco sell what I want to buy at a price I am willing to pay and provide me with car-parking while I am doing it. What more could I ask?

2/23/2012 02:46:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

"I find Tesco sell what I want to buy at a price I am willing to pay and provide me with car-parking while I am doing it. What more could I ask?" - exactly, why bother to trouble ourselves with how we have arrived at this type of shopping nirvana

2/23/2012 04:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the scheme is for the long term unemployed, so saying that they are working only for £65 odd pounds a week is misleading, as at this point they have had that, plus their rent etc, for many months if not years without having to do any “work”. So seven weeks work, say, every year actually amounts (quick back-of-the-envelope) to around £12 per hour, above minimum wage, and my calculation doesn't include housing paid for and so on – just JSA for a single person, no housing benefit, no Tax Credits! So they are actually earning way, way over minimum wage, and not having to pay and tax & NI. Hardly slavery.

And if slavery is working full time merely to cover your rent, food and bills with nothing left over, then many people are in “slavery” particularly after the government has taken its cut.

Besides, haven't we spent the last decade blurring the distinction between private firms and public welfare by forcing employers to pay a minimum wage and conform to employment legislation that makes it difficult to dismiss unproductive workers? After this, maybe the all-controlling state should throw in a few “free” workers as part of the deal.

2/25/2012 12:50:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And here's another thought - has it not occurred to insta-mob that taking on no-experience staff actually costs the firm money in the short term as they are likely to be minimally productive and require training and supervision by existing staff? Why do these people think that firms prefer to take on experienced workers?

Paying a workfare participant minimum wage for a few weeks and then replacing them with another worker that requires training just as the previous one was beginning to justify their wage in productivity isn't necessarily a great deal for any firm......

2/25/2012 02:41:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

Dear, oh dear, oh dear ........

2/25/2012 10:05:00 pm  
Anonymous livescore said...

Gorgeous dress and lovely fabric choice! Don't be sad about sbo moving to London, think of all the lovely vintage social events you ผลบอลสด can go to. Also London has great fabric shops!

2/25/2012 11:24:00 pm  
Anonymous Steve Perrett said...

Well Nurse, you're pretty good at posting links, but pretty crap at debating previous posts! I suspect that you are the devil himself playing Devils advocate! :) Nothing you say, or point to makes any sense?

2/26/2012 12:39:00 pm  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

The staff in the local tesco,are not insulting,they simply do not speak English,just jabber together in small groups."slaves have no choice whatsoever"guess we just blew it as far as deciding upon our futures then?

2/27/2012 02:14:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

He-hee, the Mash seldom disappoints

2/27/2012 09:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Companies such as Tescos provide career paths for those who do not have good academic records- a first from Imperial is not needed. If one is hard working and show a bit of initiative, then retail can provide a career.

3/03/2012 01:23:00 am  

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  • "a powerfully written right-of-center blog..."—Mangan's Miscellany
  • "I tend to enjoy Devil's Kitchen not only because I disagree with him quite a lot of the time but because I actually have to use my brain to articulate why."—Rhetorically Speaking
  • "This blog is currently slamming. Politics certainly ain't all my own. But style and prose is tight, fierce, provocative. And funny. OK, I am a child—swear words still crack a laugh."—Qwan
  • "hedonistic, abrasive but usually good-natured..."—The G-Gnome
  • "10,000 words per hour blogging output... prolific or obsessive compulsive I have yet to decide..."—Europhobia
  • "a more favoured blog from the sensible Right..."—Great Britain...
  • "Devils Kitchen, a right thinking man indeed..."—EU Serf
  • "an excellent blog..."—Rottweiler Puppy
  • "Anyone can cuss. But to curse in an imaginative fashion takes work."—Liftport Staff Blog
  • "The Devil's Kitchen: really very funny political blog."—Ink & Incapability
  • "I've been laffing fit to burst at the unashamed sweariness of the Devil's Kitchen ~ certainly my favourite place recently."—SoupDragon
  • "You can't beat the writing and general I-may-not-know-about-being-polite-but-I-know-what-I-like attitude."—SoupDragon
  • "Best. Fisking. Ever. I'm still laughing."—LC Wes, Imperial Mohel
  • "Art."—Bob
  • "It made me laugh out loud, and laugh so hard—and I don't even get all the references... I hope his politics don't offend you, but he is very funny."—Furious, WoT Forum
  • "DK himself is unashamedly right-wing, vitriolic and foul mouthed, liberally scattering his posts with four-letter-words... Not to be read if you're easily offended, but highly entertaining and very much tongue in cheek..."—Everything Is Electric
  • "This blog is absolutely wasted here and should be on the front page of one of the broadsheets..."—Commenter at The Kitchen
  • "[This Labour government] is the most mendacious, dishonest, endemically corrupt, power-hungry, incompetent, illiberal fucking shower of shits that has ruled this country..."—DK


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