Archive for the 'Campaigns' Category

Survey for Interns in Europe- DO IT!

The European Youth Forum is taking the initiative and trying to improve internships ACROSS EUROPE. To do this they need to get a handle on the problem- so y’all need to tell them about it! We like people who think big so please help them by filling in their survey if you have interned or are interning…

A survey “Interns Revealed” is circulating until July 7 to collect enough responses to back the advocacy work with the very much needed numbers and statistics. Any help from your side to spread it will be greatly appreciated.  We have 2000 responses so far, only 188 from UK so we would really need you help with this.

Two fantastic events for you people

1. Intimate bookshop talk exploring the culture of work… Ross Perlin is travelling all the way from the States to Clapton in East London to talk about his new book, ‘Intern Nation’ (see post below)

WHEN: Wednesday, June 1st, 2011 at 7pm

WHERE: Pages of Hackney bookshop, 70 Lower Clapton Road, Hackney, London, E5 0RN

COST: 3 QUID

CONTACT: 020 8525 1452

2. Ross Perlin, Ed Howker and Shiv Malik: The Betrayal of Britain’s Youth

Our favourite people Shiv Malik and Ed Howker, writers of Jilted Generation, step up to defend young people once again- and now with an American ally, Ross Perlin.

WHEN: Saturday, June 04, 2011 at 2.30pm

WHERE: Abney Public Hall, Stoke Newington Literary Festival

NUJ wins first victory for intern!

Sorry for sluggish post-rate of late but hopefully this will make up for it-

The NUJ has warned media employers to “pay interns or face the consequences” after union member Keri Hudson successfully sued TPG Web Publishing Ltd over her unpaid internship.

Keri Hudson, 21, was successful at a Central London employment tribunal today in proving she had a right to be paid for work carried out over several weeks at the My Village Website in late 2010. The tribunal heard that despite the fact she worked each day from 10am – 6pm and had been personally responsible for and in charge of a team of writers, for training and delegating tasks, collecting briefs, scheduling articles and even hiring new interns the company had told her she was not eligible for any pay because they considered her an intern.

In her evidence Keri Hudson said she had been asked when the site was taken over by TPG Web Publishing Ltd if she would stay on and work for the new company. She was assured her pay would be fixed. After 5 more weeks she was informed she would not now be receiving a payment for the work she carried out – she resigned and took out a grievance.

With the support of the NUJ and Thompsons lawyer Richard Williams, she took today’s proceedings.

The tribunal found she was a worker in law even though she didn’t have a written contract and was therefore entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage and holiday pay. NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said:

Today’s judgement sends a clear warning to all employers to pay their interns, abide by the law or face the consequences. It is unacceptable that full time staff are being sacked while unpaid interns are being exploited. This is the first case of its kind – if employers continue to break the law it will not be the last.

NUJ Legal Officer Roy Mincoff said:

This sends a clear message to media companies that if they treat interns like cheap labour, the NUJ will take you through the courts. If in reality interns are workers, they are entitled to National Minimum Wage and holiday pay and NUJ will fight for these rights to be enforced.

The NUJ has appealed to other interns who believe they should have been paid to contact the union at legal@nuj.org.uk

Think that deserves a glass of champagne!

Cheers!

Internships at the heart of new social mobility policy

We’re obviously excited. Nick Clegg’s social mobility policy is taking unpaid internships to task. Articles in The Telegraph and The Guardian, as well as a report on the Today programme have underlined the importance of making sure internships are available to all, not just those whose parents can afford to put them up or ‘whisper in the ear’ of their mate at the ‘tennis club’ (does anyone actually do that?)

From the BBC:

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he wants to stop people getting on in life purely because of “who they know”.

As he launches the government’s social mobility strategy, Mr Clegg said no-one should get an unfair advantage because their parents have “met somebody at the tennis club or the golf club”.

He is planning to end all informal work placements in Whitehall – and will encourage businesses to do the same.

From the Telegraph:

He urged firms to make internships – often a vital gateway to a chosen career – more transparent and financially viable to the less well-off.

That meant covering out-of-pocket expenses or offering a wage.

Companies are being asked to sign a new compact including a commitment to ensuring fair access to internships.

Whitehall is set to lead the way, with Civil Service internships advertised formally from 2012.

This is fantastic. For an Internship campaign group this is surely the equivalent of Christmas. But we weren’t called ‘admirably bolshie’ for nothing. The devil will be in the detail. If I was Harriet Harman – due to question Clegg on this at 12 – I would question and ask:

Most importantly, if you read the report, detail on NMW is hazey at best.

We will continue to encourage employers to open up their employment methods, and we are asking business to offer internships openly and transparently and provide financial support to ensure fair access. This financial support could consist of either payment of at least the appropriate national minimum wage rate, or alternatively payment of reasonable out of pocket expenses in compliance with national minimum wage laws.

We want to improve understanding of the application of national minimum wage legislation to internships and ensure that employers comply with it. Where an individual is entitled to the minimum wage they should recieve it and we take failure to do so very seriously. We are updating our guidance on payment of work experience including internships to ensure that employers and individuals are clear about their rights and responsibilities. We will ensure enforcement of the national minimum wage continues to be effective, and resources are focused where they will have maximum impact. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are currently considering targeted enforcement in sectors where internships are commonplace, with a view to carrying out enforcement activity in 2011/12. Young people who feel they have had their minimum wage rights abused are encouraged to contact our confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.

We hope this does not mean an update on guidance which allows employers to get out of paying interns minimum wage. The law as it stands is currently very clear. If you work set outs, doing set tasks then you are due minimum wage.

The Independent writes:

HM Revenue & Customs will launch a crackdown in professions such as law and journalism where work experience is commonplace, to ensure that people are paid the national minimum wage or receive out of pocket expenses.

Ironically – the Indy is currently being taken to court for not paying an intern. Crucially the or receive out of pocket expenses” offers an easy get out clause.

Anyway – lets not be picky just yet. Lets celebrate that internships are center stage in the news agenda for at least one day.

Lets not forget Nick Clegg has advertised for unpaid interns in the past…

Mapping Unpaid Interns

As part of a project on the exploitation of interns the fantastic Rebecca Hughes has been mapping every unpaid intern ad posted by an MP since January. The map speaks for itself, with every party, from every part of the country implicated. It’s a fantastic visual use of data.

Check out her website here.

View MPs and constituencies adverting for unpaid interns in a larger map

Daily Mail knocks Tory internships auction

From the Daily Mail:

David Cameron was accused of ‘gross insensitivity’ last night after it was revealed that internships with City hedge funds were sold to wealthy Tories’ children for thousands of pounds to raise cash for the party.

At the Conservatives’ Black and White Party, millionaire Tory supporters paid around £3,000 each for their children to have the golden chance of spending a week or two with a number of top finance companies and banks. If they do well and win a full-time job, they could join the ranks of City tycoons who earn multi-million pound bonuses.

But Labour claimed the auction was ‘grossly insensitive’ when tens of thousands of young people cannot obtain jobs.

More great publicity challenging the crime that is unpaid internships. With graduate unemployment getting higher and higher this issue is not going to go away.

I think its really interesting that the Mail is writing about this issue more consistently than any other paper. I know this is a issue about social justice and fair pay, but this is not just about poor kids versus rich kids. The vast majority of graduates are effected. You might term yourself middle class, and your parents might live in the nice house and have two cars. But that doesn’t mean they can support you working for free in London for 6 months.

Update:

Andrew Neil has blogged about the story.

Support Left Foot Forward’s Living Wage Appeal

Left Foot Forward have launched an appeal to pay their interns a London living wage through contributions from their readers. Anything that raises the issue of interns pay and ends up with interns paid for the work they do is fantastic in our opinion.

All progressives should pay their interns a fair wage and all those that care about youth unemployment and low pay should get behind this appeal.

You cannot claim to care about these crucial issues if you are ignoring inequality and injustice in your own office.

We all know the so called progressive organisations that don’t pay minimum wage… perhaps you could name them… I will kick off with the New Statesman!

Author of Jilted Generation (and friend of interns) Shiv Malik injured covering student protests

From Journalism.co.uk

Freelance journalist Shiv Malik has been injured while reporting for the Guardian at today’s student protests over university tuition fees in London.

Ed Howker, a journalist who writes for the Spectator and co-author with Malik of the book Jilted Generation, told Journalism.co.uk that Malik had been taken to hospital and was having his head stitched after allegedly being hit by a police baton.

According to a report by Malik published on the Guardian’s protest liveblog, he was wounded while caught between the police line and students in Parliament Square at the the junction with Victoria Street.

Shiv and Ed plugged our site in his book. It really is worth a read. We hope he gets better soon.

Did we ever post this funny intern vid from the TUC?

Some lessons I have learned

I have a BA Hons degree in International Politics, and a Masters degree in Chinese Politics. I have been trying to pursue work primarily as a researcher, though I’ve applied for other opportunities that only barely correspond with my line of study.

In the last year, I have interned at two separate companies with very different standings. One was a UK wide charity, and the other a political pressure group running a campaign in the lead up to the last election. Although both my jobs were very different in their day to day responsibilities, I have found that there are many parallels between my two experiences. Rather than bore anyone with tales of the particular ins and outs of the jobs I did, I feel it would be more appropriate to keep this brief and try and impart some of the lessons I learned.

In both instances, while I did the right thing and was polite and gracious and thankful for the opportunity, I should have been much more forthright. Stand up for yourself.

Never forget that the employer would not be taking you on if they weren’t getting something out of it. This is not work experience, they are taking you on for a reason. Be grateful, but don’t be fooled into thinking you’re a charity case.

Make sure and forewarn your employer at your internship that they are inevitably going to receive a lot of requests for references from every job you subsequently apply for. Don’t be embarrassed to use up your goodwill, you worked hard for pennies in order to earn that reference.

Where possible, try and choose the name of the job that you do yourself. I describe my two positions as ‘Research intern’ and ‘Campaigns intern’ which are deliberately broad so as to be applicable to the maximum number of positions in the future.

Do not let an employer overpromise and underdeliver. If they say they’re going to give you training, or teach you how to do something, make sure they do. Hold them to it; they owe you that at least. In one of my internships the ‘Media training’ I was often promised was eventually scheduled on the one day in an entire month that I had informed head office that I couldn’t do. I was furious, but there was nothing I could do about it.

You will be expected to do menial and mundane tasks – filing, data entry, this sort of thing – this is par for the course. Do a good job and show that you can follow instructions and be part of a team. However, don’t be taken advantage of. You need to be able to learn how to do more than the basic things for your internship to have any value.

Don’t be afraid to claim things on expenses. I was too shy to claim things – silly things, such as balloons for a campaign event, or bus tickets if staying late made you miss a train. Don’t take advantage of expenses but don’t get ripped off.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is unfortunately the grimmest one, and that is, don’t presume that your Internship will lead directly to a job, either with the employer, or elsewhere. Sadly in my experience I’ve found that two long unpaid internships has not increased my employment chances, at least in terms of job opportunities since. What you need to do, and what I should have done better, was focus on genuinely gaining tangible skills that you need to do work in your field. Try and gain the confidence from completing tasks that you wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do. Be as selfish as you can and remember that the only reason you took a job for no money was to come out of it at the other side with better employment chances.

Interns Anonymous needs you!

Interns, ex-interns, friends of interns, people with ideas and things to say- drop us a line. We want to keep hearing about your experiences, good, bad and ugly so email us at internsanonymous@gmail.com 


Interns Anonymous

We want this website to be a forum for interns to share their experiences and discuss the ethics of unpaid employment. Most importantly, we want this site to be a place where YOU can tell us your story.

Disclaimer

Interns Anonymous accept no responsibility for the contents of the blog, comments or any other content on this site that is posted or provided by third parties. This website is designed to act as a forum for interns to share experiences and opinions about their work, therefore, we will not censor opinions we do not agree with. The opinions stated in blog contributions do not represent those of Interns Anonymous. We disclaim all liability for such content to the fullest extent permitted by law. If you have any queries please email us.

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