New row erupts over unpaid work placements


The Government was today accused of "imposing" unpaid work placements on the unemployed ahead of a meeting over its controversial work experience scheme.

Employment Minister Chris Grayling will hold talks tomorrow with a number of firms who have offered placements to jobless youngsters since the scheme started a year ago.

Some firms have called on the Government to remove the threat of benefit sanctions against people who do not complete their placement.

Campaigners against the scheme have launched a series of demonstrations in recent weeks against firms involved in the scheme, including supermarket giant Tesco and restaurant chain McDonald's.

Law firm DBS, named in a recent Sunday Times top 100 firms to work for, criticised the Government for "imposing" work placements on jobless people, and of planning to water down employment rights.

Managing director Rob Bhol said: "We are worried that many companies will be taking a lead from the Government and relying on the economic situation to retain staff and increase productivity through fear and insecurity.

"This short term view is being encouraged by the Government's plan to weaken job protection laws."

The meeting with Mr Grayling is aimed at giving employers a chance to discuss any concerns and clear up "confusion" over the scheme.