British party criticised for hiring unpaid interns

May 31st, 2011 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 31 (IANS) British political party Liberal Democrats has been criticised for its policy to hire unpaid interns. The volunteers only get a small reimbursement for travel and an allowance of five pounds for lunch, a media report said.

An advertisement on the jobs section of the party website says that the posts at the Lib Dem head office in London do not come with a salary, The Telegraph reported.

In return for their free labour, the interns get “the opportunity to gain experience of the practical and professional side of party politics… and experience life at the heart of Westminster”, says the ad.

Campaign group Intern Aware has said the ad for the three and four-month internships was “hypocritical” because the volunteers also needed to be able to afford to live in London to do the job.

“This job advertisement is clearly for an unpaid internship. You can maybe buy a sandwich for five pounds a day but you can’t buy a bed to sleep in. That means these internships will only be available to a small minority,” a spokesman said.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched a national internship scheme. He said such placements should be “properly remunerated” and conform with the minimum wage.

“If Nick Clegg is really serious about this, he’ll sort his own house out first,” Intern Aware said.

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