Blog on workfare, and the response of Chris Grayling to the successful protest campaign which forced the withdrawal of Holland & Barrett.
Instead I will briefly look at the response to the news by the minister responsible, Chris Grayling. When I read his remarks yesterday morning, I almost choked on my Belvita breakfast biscuit:
“It is a disgrace that anyone should seek to target a company that is trying to help young unemployed people in this way. The people involved in these protests have absolutely no idea of the damage they’re doing to the job prospects of the next generation. I’m determined to stand up firmly against these protesters. What they’re doing is totally unacceptable.”
So, Holland and Barratt have replaced a third of their workforce with workfare so that they can help young people? Grayling et al must have really chortled over their foie-gras dreaming up that ‘gem’.
In a typically cynical attempt to discredit the anti-workfare campaign, both the government and Holland and Barratt are claiming that protesters had intimidated and assaulted staff, and had also damaged property. However, they could not produce any evidence to support these claims. Then again, they don’t really need to, because as soon as it is reported in the ‘Daily Mail’, it becomes the truth, regardless of evidence.
I have personally been on at least ten workfare demonstrations outside Holland and Barratt in Liverpool, and I have never witnessed and intimidation or violence against staff. I have however witnessed threatening and intimidating behaviour from the ‘private security staff’ that Holland and Barratt, and other stores, have employed across Liverpool City centre, in an attempt to ‘deal with’ protesters.
Being honest, Chris Grayling is not someone I knew too much about, but good old Wikipedia set me straight. It transpires that Grayling is an expenses cheat, a liar, and a homophobe. If you add his penchant for modern day slave labour, it becomes clear that Grayling almost has the full set of traditional Tory values.
So it would seem that everyone wins from workfare. Based on Holland and Barratt having 1,000 workfare staff for the last year:
*Holland and Barratt saved themselves £1.5 million in wages.
*Holland and Barratt gained 1.920,000 hours of unpaid work.
*The Government were able to manipulate unemployment figures.
*The unemployed were able to work for around £2 an hour
*Could it be that this is the ‘responsible’ capitalism that ‘Red’ Ed Milliband has told us about?
Surely that writing is now on the wall for the workfare scheme, and hopefully the same can be said for Iain Duncan Smith’s errand boy, and slippery toad, Chris Grayling