Work Experience Exploiters Named and Shamed by NUJ
Shocking Exploitations Revealed in Media Companies
The NUJ will today (27/02/07) deliver a letter to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) naming and shaming employers who exploit journalists on work experience.
The union, which is launching its Work Experience Guidelines simultaneously, is demanding that the government investigate breaches of the National Minimum Wage legislation and take action to force media companies to comply.
The NUJ's allegations are based on the results of a recent major survey of work placements which revealed shocking exploitation.
The union believes the survey shows that work experience is increasingly being used by employers to cover staff shortages - employing former students and young journalists to work for free - in breach of the NMW law.
The NUJ is asking all journalists who have had similar experiences to email the details so that the union can pass them to the department.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear, who handed in the letter in person this morning and met senior HMRC officials to discuss the issues, said: "As a result of the survey we have received numerous complaints in confidence about such practices across the media sector. We believe these are just the tip of the iceberg.
"A significant number of media companies - including some very big names - are acting in breach of the law. It is high time this shameful abuse of people wanting to enter our profession was stopped and we will be keeping the pressure on government to make sure action is taken."
Mr Dear stressed that as part of a properly recognised course work experience is an invaluable way to gain the hands-on experience required to secure that crucial first job, but that this should never mean months of unpaid exploitation at the hands of ruthless employers enjoying free or cheap labour.
An Early Day Motion (EDM 937) has been tabled in parliament welcoming the NUJ's research, supporting the NUJ's code of best practice for work experience placements and calling for action against those employers failing to pay the minimum wage.
More information on the NUJ website