Tag Archives: Intern Aware

Wages For Interns, Workfare For The Poor Says Jo Swinson MP

Jo_Swinson_QTLittle sums up the vile double standards at the heart of Britain’s class ridden society than a campaign against unpaid internships for graduates which ignores the massive expansion of unpaid work for everyone else.

So entrenched has this contemptible hypocrisy become that some MPs – like Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson – are only too happy to condemn unpaid work for their own little Tarquins and Jemimas whilst inflicting the exact same thing on those they judge the lower orders.

Jo Swinson has today been launching a campaign against unpaid interns and is threatening to name and shame companies which do not pay the minimum wage.  Yet, as spotted by @boycottworkfare, Swinson herself has been involved in promoting unpaid work in her constituency in a scheme she described as ‘fantastic’.

The latest campaign against unpaid work for the middle classes comes at a time that the coalition government is rolling out a huge extension of workfare.  The latest ‘Traineeships’ involve five months unpaid work and are not even designed to help people get a real job.  Instead the hope is that they will lead to people being given Apprenticeships – often at below the minimum wage.  Or they could just lead to more unpaid Work Experience on a different government scheme.  Young people are now to be expected to work for free or peanuts for not just months, but years in some cases.

These schemes are at least voluntary in theory, although whether they are voluntary in practice remains to be seen as Jobcentres are known to use benefit sanctions and other mandatory workfare schemes to bully claimants into unpaid work.  The latest programme aimed at the long term unemployed however is far from voluntary and will involve blocks of forced unpaid work for six months at a time under threat of benefits being removed completely.

Interns of all kinds should be paid just like any other worker, including young people without degrees starting out in their first job or those who are long term unemployed.  But the idea that there is some kind of inherent difference between unpaid work for the rich and workfare for the poor is as offensive as it is nonsense.  About the only real difference between unpaid internships and work experience schemes is that internships usually lead to well paid careers in popular sectors like fashion, the media or entertainment.  In contrast Work Experience generally leads back to the dole as grasping employers maintain a rolling stock of free workers instead of paying wages.

Swinson is not the only MPs who condemns unpaid work for the well off but actively supports workfare.  Labour MP Hazel Blears is guilty of the exact same hypocrisy.  It should tell us everything we need to know about the political class that MPs of all parties are now quite openly arguing that the middle classes – in other words their own children – should have different rights to those born without a silver spoon wedged down their over-privileged necks.

Swinson has so far ignored people challenging her about her grotesque double standards on twitter, you can tell her what you think at: @joswinson

In a further embarrassment, Sky News are reporting that despite Lib Dems MPs lining up to condemn unpaid work for graduates, the party is still recruiting unpaid interns.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

Wages For Interns, Workfare For The Poor Says Hazel Blears MP

blears-smugLabour MP Hazel Blears’ appalling workfare hypocrisy has been exposed this week after she jumped on the intern bandwagon to demand an end to unpaid work for middle class graduates.

Blears has been supporting the Intern Aware campaign, which rightly calls for internships – periods of work experience usually aimed at graduates beginning professional careers – to come with a salary.  Blears claims it is a “modern day scandal” that these jobs come without pay.

Yet astonishingly (as revealed by @boycottworkfare on twitter) Blears doesn’t just support unpaid work for young unemployed people, but she is actively involved in arranging workfare placements.  Blears runs the Kids Without Connections scheme, a ‘work experience’ programme linked to the Jobcentre and which doesn’t pay workers a penny.

Far from being a “modern day scandal” Blears claims it is “fantastic” that scores of young people have been sent to work unpaid for profit making companies like the multi-national Fujitsu.

Rarely has such naked class prejudice within the Labour Party been more exposed.  It is chilling that even a woman from a working class background like Blears appears to think that those who are poor should not have the same basic human right to a wage as everybody else.

Sadly even to Labour MPs the poor are a now seen as a barely human sub-class who can be kicked around at will as a warning to everyone else. In this context it is easy to understand why the increasing number of deaths linked to welfare reforms are glibly dismissed by politicians of all parties.  The suffering of the poor to these scum is nothing compared to the scandal that their own darling little Tarquins and Jemimas might have to work for a couple of months without pay before they begin their lucrative careers in politics, media, law or the arts.

And of course they should be paid, every worker deserves a wage, and Blears is right to say that companies using unpaid workers should be ‘named and shamed’.  So let’s start with @fujitsu_uk, @2ergo and @KeepmoatHomes who have all exploited young unemployed people as part of @HazelBlearsMP workfare scheme.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid