Trades unions and community groups have called on the Bournemouth and Poole College to withdraw its support for the government’s discredited Work Programme which seeks to coerce the unemployed into unpaid work, after it emerged the college was encouraging employers on their website to “Try before they buy” – describing the unemployed as expendable commodities. Whilst the phrase has now been removed, the Work Programme still enables unscrupulous employers to use staff for up to three months without offering them any pay, formal training or travel expenses. Amid widespread controversy, a number of high street names have withdrawn their backing for the scheme, but attention has now turned to the local college.
Neil Duncan-Jordan, President of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Trades Union Council said: “The Work Programme is the modern-day equivalent of slavery. Unemployed people are being used as a form of cheap labour, with no real chance of ever finding a proper job. It’s a shabby scheme that is exploiting those who are desperate to find work and the college should immediately withdraw its support for such a discredited programme.”
The local TUC and anti-cuts group, Bournemouth and Poole Anti Cuts Coalition (BPACC), plan to target the college with a wave of protests if it refuses to distance itself from the Work Programme.