A new unpaid employment scheme, in which out of work jobseekers work unpaid for large corporations, has been criticised as unfair by leftie union types.
The usual suspects - the Guardian, Unison, et al, have lined up to dismiss the programme, introduced recently by the Tory government, as 'morally wrong'.
The new government scheme - known as the Unpaid Ownership Programme, aims to get the unemployed back into work, by removing their rights to be classed as legal persons, but rather as property of executives working for multinational corporations. It is believed that by doing so, the unemployed will be able to pick up valuable skills such as carrying boxes from lorries to storerooms, and looking at clothes to see if they're dirty or have holes in.
"It's only by actually doing these things in a professional capacity that the unemployed will pick up skills," said Margaret Wynterbonn, Minister for Reintroducing the Eighteenth Century. "As a Tory, I know that a skill is only a skill if it earns someone money. But not the worker in this case, of course."
Business leaders are queueing up to praise the scheme, with Benjamin Wall, manager of Tesco Kettering and therefore perfectly placed to comment on a nationwide scheme of wide depth and variety, saying: "I personally see a huge transformation in workers on the scheme over the course of their placement. For instance, there was one young girl who was mouthing off at first, but a few weeks and she was a nice, compliant, efficient drone. Perfect for the workforce."
But, I asked, don't you think it morally wrong that the poor are subsidising the richest corporations? He did not. "Okay, we are in profit as a company, and yes, our annual profits grew on the previous year. But while our annual profits grew compared to last year, they grew by a smaller percentage. Tesco isn't nearly as well off as people think."
"The scheme is absolutely outrageous, and could only be introduced under a nasty Tory government" said Tim Lillybland, Labour's Leader of the Opposition. He was then asked about the Personell Development Scheme, an almost identical programme introduced when his party were in power. "It just goes to show," he flipped, "that Tories are incapable of original ideas and can only steal those of the Labour Party."
The assembled journalists did not pursue this further, as he was obviously too irrelevant to be worth the effort.
"The problem today is that people aren't willing to work for their money," said Calvin McKiller, tabloid columnist paid six figures a year to write a thousand words a week. "And if they've got no work ethic, they might has well be forced into slavery, as a disincentive for others. It's essentially the same logic as the death penality, which of course I'm also in favour of."
The scheme, despite it's controversial nature, will continue. Companies such as Asda, Primark and Burger King are committed to the principle of generously allowing the out of work to learn everyday skills within their companies.
And Margaret Wynterbonn is insistent that this is a scheme run for the good of the unemployed themselves. "These are people who've been out of work for a significant time - they have to have been out of work for at least ten days to be put on one of these programmes," she explained. "People talk as if those on the UOP scheme are forced onto it without a say in the matter. They have every right to opt out if they want - they can simply abandon all their worldly possessions and flee the life they've known. Everyone on UOP is there voluntarily."
Image by C41n on Wikimedia Commons