Support for more protection for freelancers and people on ‘work experience’ is being sought by the National Union of Journalists from the TUC Congress, which kicks off today in Brighton.
In particular, the union is hoping to garner support for a motion that calls for stricter enforcement of legislation against bogus work experience schemes.
Claims the NUJ: “Bogus work experience schemes – where people work for weeks or months for no pay and with no rights – are widespread across the media but particularly within print
It also claims it has presented Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – responsible for enforcing the minimum wage laws, working time regulations and employment laws – with evidence of law breaking but they have failed to act.
The union wants the Congress to back its motion calling for more rigorous enforcement to end exploitation, to name and shame persistent offenders, and to lobby the government for more and better enforcement of the law.
The NUJ also wants to see a legal loophole that denies freelancers bargaining rights closed and will be asking the TUC Congress to make this a top priority for lobbying and campaigning.
Says Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary: “It is shocking that so many people both at the very start of their career and as mature professionals [as many freelancers are] have so few rights and are so blatantly exploited. They are the shame of our profession, the unseen Cinderellas, whose plight must not be ignored.”
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