Monday, June 24, 2013

Free Labour

After all that LGM internship stuff, more internships:
Two former interns have filed complaints with government against Bell Mobility, alleging the telecom giant broke labour laws by not paying them for work they did for the company.

“It felt like I was sitting in an office as an employee, doing regular work. It didn’t feel like a sort of training program,” said Jainna Patel, 24, who was an unpaid intern with Bell for five weeks last year.

“They just squeezed out of you every hour they could get and never showed any intent of paying.”
Jainna Patel says her internship with Bell Mobility was no different from an entry-level job, plus overtime, except that she didn't get a paycheque.

She filed a complaint with federal authorities in May 2012, which has yet to be resolved.

Patel and others were "associates" in a Bell program that invites 280 post-secondary grads per year to work voluntarily in Bell’s Mississauga, Ont., complex, for three to four months at a time, on projects that are supposed to enhance their future careers.
Thankfully, it's CBC reportage so...
Toronto lawyer Andrew Langille has studied the laws regarding internships and has helped interns with claims against several Canadian companies.

Overall, he estimates up to 300,000 young people are now working as unpaid interns in Canada. He suggests the vast majority of those arrangements are illegal.

“My estimates are somewhere above 90 per cent should be paid and they are not being paid,” said Langille.


“We’ve seen explosive growth within intern culture in the last 10 years in Canada and particularly in the wake of the global financial crisis,” he said.
So interships weren't an integral part of higher education for ever and ever and ever?


mikey said...

I'm way outta my depth here, commenting on an issue I have never had any contact with and haven't thought deeply about. But two things occur to me. First, like so much, times have changed, in the manner of becoming less secure and more predatory. As in in earlier times, a college grad could live in a boarding house or maybe with a friend or relative, and be able to work for months without income, with suburban middle class parents providing the necessary subsidies. Now only the children of the top 10% can do that, closing of internships - along with so much in the way of opportunities - to all but the scions of the wealthy.

Second, though, I kind of have the same sense in a way I have with Manning and Snowdent - that the terms of the deal were not concealed from them before they signed up. Regardless of what you think of what they did, Manning and Snowden did break the law, KNEW they were breaking the law, and therefore must have been prepared to suffer the consequences of their actions. Interns, in the same way, must be acutely aware that the offer is for unpaid 'employment' of a fixed duration, and if you agree to that there should be no expectation later that there should be payment...

Substance McGravitas said...

Speaking as a former college student, I don't think it's a stretch to say that interns might be completely clueless. Apart from that, the nature of an internship is supposed to relate to learning. Your dad probably gave you the same lessons Bell Mobility did when he ordered you to mow the lawn.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Manning and Snowden did break the law, KNEW they were breaking the law, and therefore must have been prepared to suffer the consequences of their actions.

Like being tortured?

I did some internships in my collage days. At least they didn't torture us. One was for the Inter-American Development Bank, the other was the House Agriculture Committee.

P.S. On a more serious note, I do believe our big corporations are using the handy-dandy high unemployment rate as a lever to give less and less to the serfs.