Bogus work placements break law, says union
MEDIA COMPANIES are breaking the law by using bogus work experience placements to cover full-time jobs. That’s the finding of an NUJ survey that exposed widespread exploitation of people trying to get into journalism.
The union says that many employers are infringing the law on the minimum wage. It is writing to the companies concerned warning that it will name those that refuse to take action.
The survey focused on the experiences of people who qualified as journalists in the last five years. It found more than 50 per cent did work experience placements after their studies, with most receiving little if any payment
- one in five did such work for three months or more
- of those who had material published or broadcast, 78 per cent received no payment
- one in four said the workplace they were in could not have functioned without people on work experience
The union believes that the “internship” culture effectively bars entry to journalism to those who can’t afford to work for free.
General Secretary Jeremy Dear, said: “This isn’t work experience, it’s exploitation. We’re all in favour of students getting a feel for life in a newsroom, but in many cases companies are just looking for free labour.
“Demanding that people put in months of work for free doesn’t help companies find the best journalists, it helps them find the ones that can afford to work without pay.”
The findings of the survey are at www.nuj.org.uk