Protestors march through Kingston town centre

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Protests started outside Tesco Express

By Ros Satar

Chanting protestors carried banners and marched through Kingston town centre as national Right to Work protests came to the borough last night.

The group of around 20 protestors started outside Tesco Express, before targeting McDonalds, Primark, Top Man, Boots and Wilkinson.

Organiser Richard Donnelly, from New Malden, said: “A number of companies have pulled out of the scheme recently, and that’s been a victory for the power of protest.

 “The crux of the issue is that people have been forced onto Workfare programmes, although the Government denies that they are compulsory.

“People will have to work for six months a year on community work which actually means retail stores and other low paid jobs.”

Kingston University student Jenny Watkins, 23, said: “The idea of work experience is that you’re gaining from it more than the employer.

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“I think people are forced to go to keep their benefits.”

GMB Trade Union Officer, Nadine Houghton, 27, was also supporting the protest.

“Work experience implies learning about a job, a degree of mentoring and is usually tied to a wider development programme.”

The protestors unfurled a banner in McDonalds as staff tried to ask them to leave the premises if they were not ordering food.

A number of companies are still listed in the Workfare scheme, ranging from retail stores, fast food outlets, and also includes charities.

Tesco announced that from now on any young person accepted for work experience will be offered a choice to participate in the Government scheme with protected benefits or be paid by Tesco with a guaranteed permanent job if the scheme is completed satisfactorily.

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