I really am surprised Obama hasn’t forced people here to do the same thing:
Britain’s young unemployed are being sent to work for supermarkets and budget stores for up to two months for no pay and no guarantee of a job, the Guardian can reveal.
Under the government’s work experience programme young jobseekers are exempted from national minimum wage laws for up to eight weeks and are being offered placements in Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Sainsbury’s and a multitude of other big name businesses.
The Department for Work and Pensions says that if jobseekers “express an interest” in an offer of work experience they must continue to work without pay, after a one-week cooling-off period, or face having their benefits docked.
Young people have told the Guardian that they are doing up to 30 hours a week of unpaid labour and have to be available from 9am to 10pm.
In three such cases jobseekers also claim they were not told about the week’s cooling-off period, and that once they showed a willingness to take part in the scheme they were told by their case manager they would be stripped of their £53 a week jobseekers allowance (JSA) if they backed out.
Twenty-two-year-old Cait Reilly is currently completing three weeks at Poundland, working five hours a day.
Last week, Reilly, who graduated last year with a BSc in geology from Birmingham University, found herself with five other JSA claimants stacking and cleaning shelves at Poundland in south Birmingham.
Reilly says there are around 15 other staff at the store but unlike them she will receive no remuneration for her work.
“It seems we’re being used as some free labour especially in the runup to Christmas,” she said.