Singing a Different Tune on Unpaid Work

Labour MPs are so consumed by “national living rage” in the run-up to Christmas that they have released a single accusing dozens of major employers like Waitrose and B&Q of cutting perks, slashing overtime pay and abusing workers’ rights. They sing: “be ashamed of how you treat your staff“. The choir was led by Siobhain McDonagh who this time last year trumpeted a “work experience opportunities scheme” in her Mitcham and Morden seat. Most places on the scheme were completely unpaid. A “Work Experience Opportunites” booklet produced by her office states:

“You do not need to sign a contract, but it is best to discuss/agreewith your employer, what experience you will gain during the placement. Any work experience placement is an informal agreement that can be broken with 24 hours notice by either you or the employer.”

McDonagh’s pet project effectively arranged free labour for dozens of local employers but also household-name retailers. The two biggest on the scheme? Waitrose and B&Q. Local priorities make principles flexible…


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