The Private Sector Moves In

Well it was only a matter of time. After all, if politicians and policy units and think tanks and newspapers can take advantage of people’s willingness – and need – to work for free, why shouldn’t private companies? After all, ability to pay interns never put MPs off making them work for free, so why should it bother profit-driven corporations?

I mean, it’s the logical progression for a capitalist society. Why pay your labour slave wages when you can pay your slaves no wages!

If you check out w4mp.org, you will find UNPAID internships being offered with, amongst others,

Redwood Consulting

- “Redwood Consulting is one of the leading communications consultancies in the property and corporate sectors with a specialist department dedicated to pre planning political and stakeholder communications.”

And

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

No need to quote from their advert to give you an idea of what kind of organisation they are. They offer £500 expenses a month. Try living in London on £500 a month. I bet there’s no chartered accountants who do or could.

And

The British Property Federation

who claim “The level of on the job training you will get will more than balance out the unfortunately ‘unpaid’ nature of this role.” Which is a little bit rich, really. I mean, if you are a working class graduate from Glasgow, how exactly are you going to finance your unpaid internship in London which will yield this wonderful experience?

And so forth.

What with the recession and all, I guess they need all the cheap labour they can get. So fuck those people who have just graduated with a pile of debt and need a job but get told “sorry, you just don’t have the experience…maybe if you worked for free for 6 months then we’d reconsider!”

And don’t go thinking it’s just politics and public policy and media groups and private companies connected to those areas which use unpaid intern labour. An old friend from school is doing an unpaid internship in…fashion production. My flatmate is doing an unpaid 3-month internship in…furniture design.

Let’s be clear, this is exploitation – and exploitation should be illegal. So why isn’t it?

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1 Response to “The Private Sector Moves In”


  1. 1 Pat 04/08/2009 at 1:22 pm

    Oh it is illegal alright. Almost every single one of these “internships” are actually illegal unpaid work, work that should be paid at least at the rate of the National Minimum Wage. The problem has been, and is, that people are unable to complain or take it any further as they fear retribution from the employer. And when the employer is an MP who should now better, that’s doubly revolting.

    Each and every one of these companies is relying on the fact that you won’t take your complaint further and that is how they get away with it.

    When I was at school, that was called bullying…


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