No Pay? No Way! is a group of ex- and current interns campaigning for decent remuneration of interns and in-office volunteers in the charity sector. We see unpaid internships as a structural problem (re-)creating inequality and injustice in society. They have to end now!
What is the problem?
Currently, some of the UK’s 162.008 charities are taking advantage of young people who are told that they must spend at least some time working for free if they ever want to have a career in the sector. To support this practice, entry-level positions normally require a minimum of one year work experience. But this unpaid work not only exploits the interns/ volunteers themselves but, even worse, excludes a large section of society from a career in the sector: those who cannot afford to work for free!
To make matters worse, unpaid internships are being used to replace actual jobs. Charities, facing the hardship of the economic crisis and austerity with a tighter budget and an increase in the need of their services, are being advised by the charity commission to use their volunteers more effectively to free up staff. In reality this means volunteers are replacing paid staff! Whilst volunteers are clearly essential to the work of many charities, this move ignores the duty of the sector to train its future workforce.
Why just the charity sector – aren’t those the good ones?
The charity sector can take advantage of an exception in employment law. While unpaid internships are illegal in the for profit sector they are legal in the voluntary sector. Often interns in the sector are put in the same category as volunteers – defined as people who flexibly donate time, rather then money, for a good cause – but in fact many are unpaid workers, who ultimately want a job in the charity sector. While No Pay? No Way! is not campaigning against volunteering, we are highlighting the exploitation behind this umbrella term.
What we are fighting for:
We are fighting for a decent wage for all workers in the charity sector. Interns or in-office volunteers should not be an exception. If charities are so concerned with justice they should treat their workers accordingly: pay interns/in-office volunteers the London Living Wage.