Burger King leaves work experience scheme for jobless

A Burger King restaurant Burger King said it withdrew from the scheme following "recent concerns expressed by the public"

Related Stories

Fast-food chain Burger King has become the latest firm to pull out of the government's controversial work experience scheme for jobless people.

It said it had registered to take on youngsters at its Slough headquarters but withdrew due to "public concerns".

Critics say the project is a form of "slave labour" because people work for nothing, while keeping their benefits.

The government said those campaigning against it should think carefully about the consequences of their actions.

Burger King said it registered for the voluntary Get Britain Working programme six weeks ago, but had not recruited anyone since.

"Given the recent concerns expressed by the public we have decided to no longer have any involvement in the programme," it said in a statement.

'Some commitment'

Participants continue to receive jobseeker's allowance (JSA) and may receive a contribution to travel or childcare costs.

But anyone who cuts a placement short after more than a week may have their benefits stopped for two weeks.

Start Quote

It's not slave labour or anything like that”

End Quote George Eustice Conservative MP

Tesco has offered to pay people on the scheme and asked ministers to remove the threat of benefit sanctions.

Rival supermarket Sainsbury's said the small number of its stores that took part in the scheme had since ceased participation, as it was not company policy.

Fashion chain Matalan said it had suspended its involvement pending a review and book seller Waterstones and electrical retailer Maplin have already left.

But Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the scheme, saying half of those who joined had found a job, often with the company that placed them on work experience.

"All of the evidence we can see is that this does better than simply leaving people on JSA, it actually helps more young people get into work.

"I don't accept that the scale of the campaign is very large, it's a small number of activists who are deliberately targeting these companies and trying to destabilise them," he said.

Conservative MP George Eustice said companies considering leaving the scheme should not bow to public pressure.

"The truth is that the first step to getting a job and getting back into the jobs market is having some work experience and learning to work and turning up for work on time and being part of a relied on team," he said.

"And so I think this scheme's incredibly important. It's only for a few weeks. It's not slave labour or anything like that and I think that if it's to work... you do need them to show some commitment."

The programme is aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds unemployed for more than three months, but less than nine.

Participants have an unpaid placement for two to eight weeks, working 25 to 30 hours a week.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    People complain like hell about those who refuse to work, who sit around all day and live off state handouts, saying they are "scroungers".

    But, when the government has the idea of making those idle people work for their benefits then there's uproar about "slave labour".

    So, it's either "scroungers" or "slave labour". Either way, HMG can't win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Only an idiot would suggest there was no benefit for the individual or for society by getting long term unemployed back into a working environment.
    So the idea has merit. The problem is that it creates the opportunity for companies to replace paid staff with free temporary placements. Obviously the company gets a benefit - and it should for helping - but the loss of a real job cannot be justified.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    I agree with furbeast (24) - I have been out of work for 3 months and was keen on this but these companies make massive profits and are more than capable of taking these workers on trials. I just feel that the goverment have let my age group down - we deserve to be paid Equal Pay for Equal Work and right now i feel like we are being abandoned - surely there is something better than this policy

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    If these unemployed people were to be given work with charities or community projects with training, something that might actually be useful to them, useful to society and provide a real prospect of future employment, then it would be a credible scheme.

    Forcing them to stack shelves and serve burger & chips for multi £bn corporations is slave labour. Our gov't really does believe we're stupid!

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    So instead of paying the person that does 40 hours a week at tesco's £250-£300 PER WEEK, the goverment gives them £63.50 per week. And you dont think this is slave labour? Tesco's are laughing all the way to the bank. I wonder how many people they sacked or made redundant after christmas for this free labour???

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    If these companies have jobs to offer these young people after there placement, then why are they not being advertised for all the unemployed.This scheme is dead in the water and the Tory government also,roll on the general election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Why can't we pay our own people who agree to work at least a minimum wage if give billions to India, China, Pakistan, Africa for nothing ?!

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Because doing a few hours in order to retain what are frankly generous benefit payments is obviously 'slave labour'. The sensible opinion is that people should be working if they are capable and that this should become the rule rather than the exception. What we have at the moment are video game and cigarette addicts camping out in their bedrooms doing nothing for the economy. Go to WORK!

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    as usual, all the left wing do gooders have come out and destroyed a plan which was clearly a good thing especially in helping young people and those without training into the jobs market. Why on earth would anyone oppose the program?? Also note that work experience with Toyota training for nothing for a few weeks is a good thing yet a few weeks working at Tesco is a bad thing... give me a break

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    working for benifits!! its all very well until YOUR having to do the same!! remember that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Seems some people would prefer to see youngsters just drawing the dole than having a chance of a job. Why? It can only be political. How cynical.

    The scheme might persuade an employer to take on one more youngster than they really need on the basis of "giving it a try". That's the benefit, more to the young person than the employer but it might be someone who can prove their worth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I agree with the comment about it taking away paid jobs, if the jobs are there why aren't they employing people anyway. But WHY is slave labour being mentioned, surely it is only right you work for your living. These people are being paid in benefits, what is the difference. I would love to stay at home and get paid but it's just not going to happen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    If the government wants jobs then they need to INVEST in British industry, cut VAT and other costs for small businesses and stop cuts for the sake of cutting!
    We've lost so much of our manufacturing base we are in real danger of being held to ransom by firms in other countries in future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    All they have to do is pay the minimum wage,it really is that simple benefits +topup.

    The idea is sound but the application is rubbish.

    This year QE of 50Bn would have bought 10 aircraft carriers we allege we cant afford 1.

    Stop bailing out failed banks and we may have a chance.

    Trickle down is not working, trickle up will...........

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I don't know how this scheme operates. However, I did hear an interview on radio where a permanent part-time worker, at a well-known supermarket, was trying to increase their hours to 24h a week in order not to lose tax credits. This individual was told by the supermarket that additional hours to 24 were not available.

    It's tricky. We want young to have opportunities - this scheme seems opaque?

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The unemployed moan that without experience you can't get a job, and without a job you can't get experience.......
    These are the same people who bleat that they would gladly work without pay to show thay are capable of a job.....well here is yor chance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    With a vast majority of firms opting out of this shameful scheme, it is obvious the public think it is a scam. If, as Mr Grayling states, half of those who joined the scheme got jobs, it begs the question, why were these jobs not advertised before the scheme? Mr Cameron promised the private sector would create jobs, what he didn't mention was these jobs would be unpaid

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Burger King shamelessly panders to the Socialist Worker, what a joke!

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    well if u want to give theyoung a taste of work you dont pay them £2/hr - well below the minimum wage - which is what it amounts to? We live in a society where how much money you get IS important - look at the bankers bonuses. The work ethic the scheme recognses doesnt belong to this world. It is exploitaton.


Page 44 of 46


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.