Protestors today took part in action against ‘Prisonfare’ in Cardiff.
Right to Work activists took action against Becoming Green, a company based in Cardiff which has been using almost-free prison labour to staff its call centres.
Activists are angered and shocked by a story that appeared in the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday. The reporter Shiv Malik, who has also written extensively on government workfare schemes, found that:
- Up to 21 prisoners are being shipped in from HMP Prescoed, Monmouthshire and being paid as little as 40p an hour (£3 a day)
- Since December around 17 workers have lost their jobs at the company.
- This new pool of super-cheap prison labour makes up around 15% of Becoming Green’s call-centre employees, although under the arrangement with HMP Prescoed, this can be increased to 20%.
Trish, women’s officer of the National Union of Students’ LGBT campaign, joined the protest in the centre of Cardiff today. She said, “People argue that this is a second chance for prisoners but in reality it means a fair day’s work doesn’t equal a fair day’s pay.”
Joe, a youth worker, added “It’s an absolute outrage that while over 1 million people are unemployed in Britain, prisoners are being exploited to undercut wages and boost company profits. If they are fit for the job they should be paid the same as the ordinary workers”
Local anti-workfare activists are planning another protest action outside Becoming Green’s office in Eastgate House, Cardiff.
They will be demanding that Becoming Green stops taking part in the scheme with immediate effect.