Exploiting the dream

IF THE work "is good enough to be published then the journalist is good enough to be paid." That's the message of the NUJ's new guidelines on work experience, Work Experience: exploiting the dream. At a very manageable six pages long, it's available to download at the NUJ website.

It cites a recent survey of current and former members who underwent work experience, which found that "of 72 students promised a paid position once they had completed a period of work experience, only half" actually got one. The survey also detected a "bias towards people who have relatives who work in the industry."

There are links to the TUC's app that helps current and former "workies" figure out how much they are legally owed for their unwaged labour. There are also details of how to confidentially report employers that are not paying interns to the HMRC, because - in most cases - unwaged work is illegal under the Minimum Wage Act. HMRC will go after the employers for the income tax and NI contributions that should have been deducted and - almost as an afterthought - make the employer pay Minimum Wage to the "workie" for their hours worked.