The protest is called “Boycott Workfare”, and follows the storm over Tesco advertising a night shift job for those on Job Seekers’ Allowance, where the only payment on offer was travel expenses.
Campaigners are angry that the burden of the banking crisis continues to be carried by the poorest in society, in the form of mass unemployment, exploitative temporary jobs, extended unpaid internships and compulsory workfare schemes.
Alastair Stephens, the organiser of the protest, told Inside Croydon: “The list of Workfare ‘providers’ is as long as your arm and involves many High Street names and blue chip companies. They all continue to make profits for their shareholders and pay huge salaries to their directors.
“The moral responsibility for unemployment is being passed on to the unemployed, who are being made to work for nothing, and many of whom have never had the chance to work despite going to get the qualifications they were told they would need.
“Meanwhile, the leaders of the financial sector, who by nearly all accounts caused the crisis through reckless lending, actually continue to get richer. Injustice, if unchallenged, becomes normalised,” said Stephens.
As Inside Croydon reported recently, there has been a 110 per cent rise in long-term unemployment in the borough in the past year, and the prospect of worse jobless figures to come, with the imminent exit from the borough of Nestle and Bank of America, and the pending closure of Allders.
The distaste for bankers following the latest Barclays scandal suggests that Saturday’s protest may well get a sympathetic hearing from Croydon shoppers.
Stephens said: “Unemployment is caused by failed economic policies, not laziness or stupidity.
“The moral opprobrium for unemployment needs to passed back to those to whom it really belongs: the bankers who have distorted our whole economy and those who are taking advantage of the situation and would make profit out of unpaid work.”
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