Britain's jobless youth told to work without pay for profitable retailers or lose benefits

Young unemployed people in the UK are being told to work for up to 30 hours a week in low-skilled retail jobs for big, profitable firms, without any pay and without promise of any job when their "training" period is finished. Workers who refuse this are cut off their "Jobseekers" allowance (how they're supposed to seek a job while working nearly full-time without any pay is a mystery).

Under the government's work experience programme young jobseekers are exempted from national minimum wage laws for up to eight weeks and are being offered placements in Tesco, Poundland, Argos, Sainsbury's and a multitude of other big name businesses.

The Department for Work and Pensions says that if jobseekers "express an interest" in an offer of work experience they must continue to work without pay, after a one-week cooling-off period, or face having their benefits docked.

Young people have told the Guardian that they are doing up to 30 hours a week of unpaid labour and have to be available from 9am to 10pm.

Young jobseekers told to work without pay or lose unemployment benefits