The breath-taking hypocrisy of both the Tory Party and the TUC was laid bare this week after an astonishing document emerged which advises Tory Party MPs on how to dodge minimum wage legislation by renaming interns as ‘volunteers’.
The leaflet, which was published on the Graduate Fog website, provides legal advice on minimum wage legislation along with a template letter that can be used to fob off any enquiries to MPs about their use of unpaid interns. This shoddy attempt to dodge the rules on paying workers comes in the same week that David Cameron announced in Parliament that his Government was naming and shaming firms which don’t pay minimum wage.
It is not just the Tory Party who are shameless hypocrites when it comes to unpaid work however. The TUC have been quick to criticise this document, with a press release claiming they are ‘disappointed that MPs are being advised on how to get round the minimum wage’.
Yet late last year the very same TUC were involved in the Week of Workfare, a DWP funded celebration of unpaid Work Experience. The TUC have also backed a Quality Standard award for work experience – even going as far as supporting a document which called for companies which use unpaid workers to be paid by the tax payer. This is despite the TUC claiming to be opposed to workfare, which is what the Government’s Work Experience scheme is. As pointed out by @boycottworkfare, last year’s vote at the TUC Conference to campaign against workfare seems to have been completely ignored.
It appears that the TUC leadership think unpaid work for largely middle class graduates wanting to work for the Tory Party is disappointing – but workfare for the poor is just fine. You might even question whose side they are on, because at the moment it doesn’t look much like it’s ours.
Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid