Interns being used as ‘slave labour’

Interns being used as ‘slave labour’

A report approved by the European Parliament called for a quality framework to be set up for internships, as one of a series of measures to boost job creation.

Labour MEP Emer Costello said the practice of taking on young people to work unpaid for a period of time as a means of gaining professional experience is sometimes exploited by companies, who treat their interns as “slave labour”.

“I’ve heard from young people who are on their fourth or fifth internship working for nothing, sometimes just doing a different job for the same company. That is never what the internship was set up to achieve,” said Ms Costello.

MEPs pinpointed poor working conditions, little-or-no financial remuneration and the lack of a full time job upon completion of an internship as the basic problems with the internship system. They said interns should be given a minimum payment level and that their internship should be of limited duration.

“We need EU regulation so that internships are a social contract that mutually beneficial for both the employer and the trainee, allowing the young person to up skill and boost their job prospects,” said the Labour MEP.

She suggested that Ireland’s Job Bridge internship scheme could provide a model for other member states so that a consistent standard would be applied throughout the EU.

Full Eurolink in this week’s Tipperary Star.