All the contenders for the leadership of the Labour Party have agreed to back a fair deal for interns.

David and Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham and Ed Balls have all signed Intern Aware‘s pledge to end the current situation in which many interns are denied rights as short-term workers, including being paid the minimum wage.

Diane Abbott has tweeted to say that she too will put her name to the campaign.

The candidates’ signed promises read:

“I pledge that if I am elected leader of the Labour Party I will campaign for Labour’s Minimum Wage Act to be fully enforced so that employers must pay their interns what they are due.”

Ben Lyons, Co-Director of Intern Aware told Graduate Fog:

“In this time of high graduate unemployment we risk a lost generation of people who cannot afford to work for free.

“Too often, internships simply amount to graduates doing the same work their elder siblings would have received a salary for as an entry-level job. Unpaid internships are not just unjust; many of them could be illegal.

“Employment law confers rights on employees based on their conditions of work, not the label attached to their work by their employer.  Anyone who contributes to an organisation is entitled to be paid.

“Whoever is the next leader of the opposition, we can expect Labour to campaign for fairer internships. We have reached a milestone in creating an internship system which encourages, rather than hinders, social mobility.”

Graduate Fog is extremely pleased to see the Opposition taking this issue seriously at last – and congratulates Intern Aware on this enormous triumph.

(It’s not easy to get a politician to sign their name to something!)

Of course, I am acutely aware that these five politicians have zero power (!) – but they do have an opportunity to pressure their Coalition counterparts.

Let’s hope they stick to their word and get this issue on the political map.

Come on guys, put the squeeze on Willetts and Cable…

*Are you pleased to see Labour backing interns?
Will it be enough to make the Coalition take the issue seriously? Or do you fear that those in power will continue to prioritise their relationship with businesses above young people’s welfare?

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