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"

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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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    It is no surprise that our deficit is getting bigger, no job creation.news the other day we missed out on contracts to build OUR OWN navy tankers to South Korea, short sighted.It wouldve created jobs, apprenticeships, and benefited in the long term. Same with the trains last year, we are being taken for mugs more with each day,and the Gov is surprised when there is descent.What planet are they on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    To all those people saying benefit claimants should work for the community i.e. picking up litter and cleaning graffiti for their benefits, just remember the council workers who do this job for a living and will no longer be needed,.If you're so keen to have it done then do it yourself and be part of Cameron's 'Big Society'

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    My experience of work has been simple. You go to work and you get PAID.

    That is work experience but enforced work without pay = slavery. In addition, such slavery incorporated into mega businesses that have very large profits to begin with is frankly obscene.

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    Nice try,

    40 years ago the problem living on benefits was that any time my mother managed to get some work her benefits were savagely cut, with no allowance for the costs of working travel etc. part time work is often erratic in nature. but the Benefits agency always left her out of pocket. She tried to work to set us children an example. we went hungry.
    The Poor can't afford to be free labour

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    I really don't understand the problem here. Employers prefer to employ people with experience, (nothing wrong with that), so people without experience stay unemployed, jobcentre and employers team up to provide inexperienced unemployed people with experience to increase their chances of getting a paid job.....and it's wrong!. Can someone explain that to me please?

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    I don't see the problem in working 2 or 3 days for a bit of work experience. But 8 weeks unpaid work is a joke. Its shameless exploitation of the unemployed and clearly needs rethinking. If these private companies have desperate need for some new employees hire people and pay them a wage for their work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.

    I cannot help but wonder if the likes of Tesco and Burger King have dropped this as they are getting useless placements which simply create a personnel nightmare for them. I can imagine there being some tension between paid and unpaid workers

  • Comment number 137.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.

    120. Ivan Idea Large amounts of public money? You need to read something that has not been written by right wing Murdoch/Mail types. The minimum wage was brought in to stop employers exploiting workers. If you want someone to clean a park he/she should get the going rate. Would you work for £2.00 P/H? It is slave labour when you don't pay the person the going rate for that job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    the best experience you could have or give is a fair days pay for a fair days work, flipping burgers, mopping and stacking shelves doesnt reqire exp. if they learned skills to take away maybe a reduced wage.
    At the end of the day benefits are still being payed and no tax is generated by these workers
    40-50% gain employment at the end of it means nothing.The posts would need filled. new jobs=0

  • rate this

    Comment number 134.

    This 'profit is bad' thinking needs to be squashed, and soon.

    Burger King are not a bank - they (like most businesses), make their money honestly. If they make some money out of training an untrained workforce, that's good for the kids' CV's and the taxpayer. Our kids need workplace discipline - where are they going to get it if employers like Burger King don't offer it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.

    I confess I laughed when this scheme was classed as slave labour. When I was 16, admittedly 25yrs ago, I left school and went to work in an office under the YTS. I worked full time and earnt..wait for it...£25 a week, less than half what JSA pays per week. My employer topped this to £35. Youngsters have to realise they are never going to earn top bucks to start with, that comes with experience!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    If this government had has much effort in creating jobs as they helping their m8's in big multi-million companies,bankers & the city this joke of a scheme wouldn't be needed in the 1st place, instead robbing most low income families,poor,sick & disabled of benefits,help & standard of living.Not one this government flagship policies have got more 33% support from the public or professionals

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    it isnt just 18-24year olds on this work program, it includes upto pensioner age.. they could have worked for 40years non stop and they go onto this scheme because they need work experience?? i dont think so!

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Are burger king being sold a whopper?

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Too right if your on the dole/benefits and not actively looking for work you should do work, although I do not agree the work should be for private companies, it should be for public services, that they get to use just as much as people who work and pay taxes for etc. I not saying that for the young or unemployed it's hard getting work currently but why have people sitting around doing nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    As an employer we sometimes come across someone who impresses us so much that we create a new job for them that didn't exist before just so that we can keep that person within our business. We invest in them.

    If we hadn't met the person we wouldn't have created the job and a scheme that allows youngsters to get past the "First Impressions" stage which not all are good at improves their chances.

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    so when these people are compleating "voluntary work" when are they going to find the time to "seek" a normal paid job?? surley its in the title "job seekers allowance" not volunteers allowance!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.


    People should work for their Benefit money on community projects like cleaning graffiti, tending pensioner's gardens, and clearing waste ground."

    Fine, but are you prepared to pay the extra tax to cover the costs - tools, transport, supervision, inspection, management, insurance etc? Employing people, even just for their benefits, costs far more than those benefits.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Here's a simple solution, the youngster takes on the work, the employer pays the youngster double what they'd get on JSA (still cheap labour) the government doesn't pay JSA and pays the NI for the employer\employee. QED the work has a value and a benefit financially and experience wise. Childcare would need covering by the gov. and a % of travel expenses over a certain distance.


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