FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER = International Interns Day |Fight for fair pay and conditions goes digital
I’m sure the International Interns Day has been marked in your calendar for some time already, but here’s a friendly reminder that it is coming up this Friday 10 November. Download this statement in PDF here.
International Interns Day - Friday 10 November 2017
Following the success of the Global Interns’ Strike, International Interns’ Day 2017 sees events in Belgrade, Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, Ljubljana, Montréal, Paris and Prague. This coordinated day of action is a rallying cry for young workers around the world who will no longer tolerate being exploited by un(der)paid, poor quality internships.
Alongside protests and conferences we are also launching Transparency at Work, an innovative new platform where young people can rate all their employment experiences (not just internships): closing the information gap in an often toxic youth job market.
The view from Brussels - progress and frustration
The IID is a chance to think about the progress we've already made on fair access to paid, quality internships in the Eurobubble and across Europe. The European External Action Service is finally about to start paying its interns, after losing a case at the EU Ombudsman. The EU’s Social Pillar could make a real difference, if MEPs’ bold demand to ban unpaid internships are included. And adverts for unpaid and illegal internships in Brussels are getting rarer thanks to www.justpay.be.
But we've got a long way to go.
In the European Parliament 1 in 10 MEP interns are unpaid, although the situation is slowly improving. The MEPs of the Youth Intergroup are fighting hard for a rule change that would ban unpaid internships in the parliament altogether. Their manifesto for fair internships was signed by over 140 MEP’s and President Tajani has announced that he is looking into the issue.
The European Commission also takes hundreds of unpaid interns per year. And many trade associations and NGOs use frankly questionable volunteer agreements to avoid paying their interns. Lots of internships are never publicly advertised, never registered and never evaluated - so it is almost impossible to ensure quality learning and good working conditions. Belgian authorities largely ignore the situation, even though they're being taken to court about it.
Unpaid internships are bankrupt. But too many employers still haven’t stopped. It’s time for young workers to shine a light on this dirty secret.
A message from Brando Benifei, Co-Chair of the European Parliament Youth Intergroup
‘Interns and Trainees need to learn, and to be economically independent and legally protected while doing so. If we postpone full adoption of quality and paid internships across the EU, we de facto endorse exploitation of young people and precariousness in the labour market. The European Union shall lead this battle and shall do it now. Young people’s trust in the European values, as well as in their own future, is at stake! We continue taking steps to ensure the European institutions, and in the first place our own house, offer quality internships. We are very grateful of the initiatives such as International Interns Day and Transparency at Work that NGO’s are undertaking!’
So what's happening on International Interns Day?
There are protests and events around the world, and a conference at the Commission, but the really exciting news is the launch of Transparency at Work - an EU-funded ratings platform for early career work experiences, created by a broad coalition of European NGOs and universities led by the European Youth Forum and social entrepreneurs InternGoPro.
Transparency at Work goes live on Friday, giving young people a space to anonymously rate their jobs, internships, apprenticeships, etc. This is about more than just internships. It’s built with a digital interface that can be embedded into other websites (newspapers, job listings, student unions), vastly increasing the scope for collecting and sharing job reviews.
In 6 months we will start making the ratings public and publishing rankings. Our aim? To empower young workers to make wise career choices, to embarrass employers who treat young workers badly or praise those who get it right, and to gather useful data about the reality of Europe's youth employment market.
Anything above this point in this email can be quoted as Bryn Watkins, managing member, Brussels Interns NGO asbl.
All the best,
Bryn Watkins, managing member, Brussels Interns NGO
0032 (0)489 888 003
Régis Pradal, CEO, InternsGoPro
0033 (0)631 23 40 80
Flavia Colonnese, policy officer, European Youth Forum
Wout Van Caimere, coordinator, European Parliament Youth Intergroup
0032 (0)496 69 60 83
The Brussels Interns NGO (Bingo) fights for fair access to paid, quality internships in Brussels, Belgium and Europe. A core member of the Global Intern Coalition, Bingo has a dual focus on the EU Institutions and the Belgian labour market.
Bingo’s campaign against unpaid internships in Brussels.
The European Parliament Youth Intergroup is a cross-party grouping of over 120 MEPs working for better youth policies in Europe . With their #fairinternships campaign they want to ban unpaid internships in the European Parliament and other EU institutions.
The European Youth Forum is a platform of youth organisations in Europe. Independent, democratic, youth-led, it represents 104 National Youth Councils and international youth organisations from across the continent. The Forum works to empower young people to participate actively in society to improve their own lives, by representing and advocating their needs and interests and those of their organisations towards the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
InternsGoPro is a social enterprise working internationally to support young people and employers in bridging the skills gap between education and employment.