Monday, 20 February 2012

serf will get it clean

 So many reasons to boycott Tesco, so little time. The idea that unemployed people should be used as free labour is an obvious step in the direction of a feudal society, but it's still a bit odd looking at the banal reality of a Jobcentre ad for shelf-stackers offering 'JSA (that's Job Seeker's Allowance, if you didn't know) plus expenses (bus fare, presumably)'.

Tesco claim the ad was an IT error. If so, there's a lot of it around. I see that Superdrug in Bristol are offering the same terms.

I lean out of the window and listen to the birds. The dawn chorus is starting to get it together; robins, wrens, a dunnock, a blackbird chinking. A crow in the distance. Last year, to the day, I recorded blackbirds singing. I long to hear them again; they mark a serious waypoint in our journey into spring.


  1. So let's see whether Tesco employ an online reputation management company, shall we?

    In a way I don't blame the 'employers' of Workfare kids, as much as the Government that dreamed up the scheme. I suppose in the strata they occupy they think that if Tarquin can do his City internship for nothing then so can Wayne stack tins of cat food.

  2. Yes, it is the fiction that they might learn something useful that I find so objectionable. I've done night shift order picking as a temp; it took about 5 minutes to understand the job, and after that the main interest was getting into the zen of it, which took about half a shift... and observing local trends in yoghurt- the Birmingham suburbs are major consumers of Muller puddings, while Thunderbird-themed yoghurts were hugely in vogue in Farnborough....

    Got zilch response from my query on the Google messageboard- they work very hard at keeping a barrier between themselves and their users, evidently.

  3. It's opened up a whole new world to me here. I suppose people are so desperate to find work.

    I like the bit about free telephones - I wonder how many take it up.

    My B.I.L. was obliged to work in various places in order to keep getting his allowance, but there was no talk of refunding his travel expenses so he was worse off on those weeks.

  4. What? I had no idea this was happening. Back in the day I took part in a YTS scheme where there was an allowance of £ 25 per week with one day out taking part in forums and listening to guest speakers. It wasn't too bad as we all were moved around and had experience of every department. I wonder how much extra work these big businesses have to invest into their charges?

    I fear it is very little. This does seem a form of modern slavery. Why employ people when there is a pool of free folk for the drudge?

  5. Good picture- says it all!
    Anji, afaik you have to claim the travelling expenses- they rarely remember to offer

  6. Dru, thought you might like to know about this-pass it on to anyone too

  7. Was that in France, Anji?

    A local farmer had a bunch of YTS youths building drystone walls, Bella; he ended up with some truly splendid walls, but it looked a bit harsh seeing these youngsters working away in the rain on a welsh mountaintop... reminded me of the roads that were built during the Irish Famine by starving people.

    And speaking of Welsh mountains, thanks for the link, Gwynneth!