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Workfare: You're putting your customers off, Mr Manager

Sat, 19/05/2012 - 15:16

Picketing shops can reap some rich rewards when the cause is as uncontroversial as "this lot force people to work for free." The general crowd response is along the lines of "really, they do that? What a bunch of gits." 

That sort of response to a campaign makes a grey day shine for us and makes shop managers very, very angry.

So angry in fact that the Holland and Barrett manager on Mare Street in Hackney, where North London SolFed did its latest picket in the battle to stop Workfare today, insisted on standing in his own doorway to berate us and ended up putting off nearly as many customers as we did.

There were quite a few, Mr Manager. Disapproving faces, Mr Manager. Your bottom line, Mr Manager, walking away because your firm doesn't pay its staff, Mr Manager.

And typically of a man with no good arguments, within a few minutes he'd hit on his main point, which he then stuck to like a limpet. "Why can't you bother another shop, there's loads of us doing this." We have done, Mr Manager, lots and lots of Hollands and Barretts up and down the country.

And we will continue to, until your company and the others stop undercutting wages by taking advantage of the desperation of the unemployed and the strong arm of the state.

Your company is like that kid who bounces around behind the bully and grabs the leftover change from his victims - and the Solidarity Federation doesn't like bullies, or their sidekicks.

We'll be out there as long as we must, we'll tell your customers all about your nasty little tricks and ask them to take action on it too, until you get on the blower to your top dogs and push them to drop out of Workfare.

And with a little luck, we'll get your staff talking about this. About how your dodgy deals with the government are undercutting their wages, screwing around with their shift patterns and mucking up their work. About how, in a climate where you can't just jump in and out of a job any more, it might be worth getting together to make change, Mr Manager. 



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