Burger King Pulls Out Of Government Work Experience Scheme
Burger King has pulled out of the government's controversial work experience scheme.
The fast food giant said it had decided to cease its involvement in the Get Britain Working programme because of recent concerns expressed by the public.
Criticisms were levelled at the scheme after a Tesco 'job' advert appeared online, listing the wages for a night shift as "JSA plus benefits."
Sunny Hundal, Guardian reporter and writer of Liberal Conspiracy blog wrote: "This is nothing less than modern slavery. Tesco should be ashamed of itself for exploiting workers like this."
A Twitter storm erupted over the job advert, which Tesco later claimed was an 'IT' mistake. However right-to-work protesters forced a Tesco store to close last Saturday, after a small demonstration, which was later broken up by police.
Burger King said it had intended to take on youngsters on work experience at its Slough headquarters but had not recruited anyone for the scheme.
It said in a statement: "Burger King United Kingdom Ltd registered for the voluntary Get Britain Working work experience programme six weeks ago, with the intention of providing work experience at our HQ in Slough.
"Since then we have not recruited anyone for this scheme. Given the recent concerns expressed by the public we have decided to no longer have any involvement in the programme."
Supermarket giant Tesco this week offered to pay people on the scheme and asked ministers to remove the threat of benefit sanctions against those not completing their work experience.
Retail giant Poundland has reportedly withdrawn from the scheme after voicing similar concerns about its mandatory element.
Cait Reilly, hit the headlines in November, after being "forced" to work at Poundland stacking shelves, and being threatened with losing her benefits if she refused to comply.
Reilly claimed she was "being used as free labour, especially in the run-up to Christmas," and told the Guardian that the "experience" was unhelpful in her job search "No one really knew what we were supposed to be doing. We were just put on the shop floor and told to tidy shelves."
The Birmingham University graduate launched legal action against the government in December, her lawyer claiming that the "forced labour" is against the European Convention on Human Rights.
Employment Minister Chris Grayling defended the scheme yesterday, saying that half of those who joined it after the launch 11 weeks ago had now found a job, often with companies which offered them work experience.
He added that offering youngsters work experience, with the chance of a job at the end, was better than "simply leaving them" on benefits.
The politician claimed that firms reportedly pulling out of the programme, including supermarket giant Sainsbury's, had never formally been involved in the government initiative because they ran their own scheme.
He said a lot of large companies were coming under pressure from right-to-work activists to withdraw from the scheme.
Ken McMeikan, chief executive of bakery chain Greggs has voiced concern over the scheme, saying he was not comfortable with young people potentially losing their benefits if they leave the initiative.
Take a look at how people reacted on social media below: