Holland and Barrett are set to recruit 1000 people to work in their stores without pay over the next year under threat of benefits being removed (2).
Solidarity Federation (3) issued the call out and groups across the UK took part. They were joined by Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty, Boycott Workfare, Brighton Benefits Campaign, the Glasgow Crutch Collective and other grassroots claimant groups.
In South London a heavy security presence in Lewisham Shopping Centre was outwitted when protesters moved down the road to Catford where a noisy demonstration began outside the local Holland & Barrett. The store closed as hundreds of leaflets were given out. Many people passing supported the need to take action against forced labour, particularly in a borough which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Protesters vowed to keep coming back until Holland & Barrett reject workfare in all it’s insidious forms and pay their staff a proper wage.
Other reports from around the web:
Brighton – two Holland & Barretts picketed – more info at: http://brightonbenefitscampaign.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/day-of-action-against-workfare-targets-holland-barratt/ and followed by a successful march against anti-squatting laws.
Edinburgh – British Heart Foundation and Poundstretcher targetted: http://www.edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/74
Liverpool – ASDA then Holland & Barrett: http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=liverpool/combating-workfare-in-liverpool-3132012
Halifax – Started early with a picket of Holland & Barrett on Friday: http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=west-yorks/holland-and-barrett-picket-in-halifax
Bristol – Punk classics outside Holland & Barrett then a tour of the city’s other workfare exploiters: http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=bristol/bristol-abolish-workfare-demo-targets-holland-and-barrett
Wakefield – West Yorkshire Solfed and Anarchist federation link up: http://www.solfed.org.uk/?q=west-yorks/anti-workfare-poundland-picket-wakefield
Bournemouth – Wessex Solidarity picket two branches of Holland & Barrett whilst ukuncut do their thing in Vodafone: http://wessexsolidarity.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/holland-barrett-pickets/
Pickets and protests also took place in Kilburn, Glasgow, Hastings, Huddersfield, Inverness, Lincoln, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Stroud, Swindon, Truro and York.
There’s more action on Monday April 2nd, with a protest at the Communication Workers Union (CWU) Headquarters called by rank-and-file postal workers and Boycott Workfare (4) over the CWU’s apparent support for workfare.
pic from the Catford protest