Tory peer at the heart of Jubilee workfare scandal
The 30 unemployed people made to sleep rough under
London Bridge before stewarding the Jubilee pageant
unpaid were supplied to security firm Close Protection UK
via a workfare provider run by Tory life-peer Baroness
Stedman-Scott. The Baroness, who was given a life
peerage in 2010, is the Chief Executive of Tomorrow‟s
People. The organisation is a registered charity engaged in
bidding for government contracts to supply unpaid work
The company proudly displays a list of companies it has
worked with on it‟s website, including Boots, Primark and
Sainsbury‟s who were targets of anti-workfare protests
earlier this year.
A spokesperson for Tomorrow‟s People defended the use
of unpaid labour and claimed they were „unable to verify the accuracy of the situation with the people
on work experience‟. However those that spoke to the Guardian about the incident did so under
condition of anonymity for fear of losing their benefits.
Unemployed people from Bristol reported that they were dumped off of coaches in London at 3am
before being told to sleep out on the street. Others came from Bath and Plymouth. One woman said,
“We followed them under London Bridge and that‟s where they told us to camp out for the night. It
was raining and freezing.”
Close Protection UK claimed that it had spent „considerable resources‟ on outfitting the unemployed
and wasn‟t exploiting them. They failed to mention that these „costs‟ were more than covered by the
thousands of pounds they saved in wages by using both the unpaid who worked 14-hour shifts and
some 50 people working for an apprentice rate of just £2.80 an hour.
Mark Dunk, unemployed activist with Right to Work said, “This goes to show that government
workfare schemes haven‟t gone away. Tory peers and Tory ministers are all in it together when it
comes to exploiting the unemployed.”
Michael Bradley said, “For young people to be shipped half way across the country to sleep under a
bridge shows just how little this government cares about the unemployed. Austerity is wrecking the
futures of young people all over Europe but the Tories want to keep on cutting rather than invest in
jobs and training.”
The TUC have posted the following comment on their website
Unpaid Jubilee stewards show government programmes
may be displacing proper jobs
Commenting on reports of poor working conditions faced by unpaid stewards of the Diamond Jubilee,
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
„The appalling treatment of staff working for free over the Diamond Jubilee weekend highlights the
damage that unpaid work experience risks causing people who are desperate to get back into proper
employment, as well as the exploitative treatment that they can face.
„The fact that unpaid job seekers were working alongside fully paid employees also suggests that
government programmes may be displacing proper jobs that pay at least the minimum wage.
„The main experience gained by staff appears to have been poor working conditions and exploitation.
Worse still, the government is encouraging more employers to treat staff poorly at work by stepping
up its attacks on basic employment rights.
„This case has attracted attention because of its link to the Diamond Jubilee. Sadly low-paid vulnerable
employment such as this occurs on a daily basis throughout the country. The number of involuntary
temporary workers is at a record high. These are not the jobs that will take Britain out of recession
and improve people‟s living standards.‟