Thursday, 28 May 2009

Tories To Reintroduce Slavery - Official!

Fresh after claims for servants quarters, I've just received this email:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you about Reading East MP, Rob Wilson, who is currently seeking to recruit an unpaid worker for his office, in spite of the regulations that require all workers to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

In terms of this MP, the advert he has posted (copied below) makes it clear what he wants this intern to do; "Duties will include data entry, filing, answering telephone calls and general office assistance to Rob's Parliamentary Aide and Constituency Assistant". I am sure you are familiar with MP's use of interns as workers in this way, but maybe not so familiar with the fact that HMRC has significantly tightened its definition of volunteers recently, which has specific relevance to the use of interns in political office.

I have checked this situation with the DBERR helpline on the Minimum Wage, the only place for authoritative, official advice on this subject, with reference to the new guidance, and asked specifically about whether an intern who was expected to do work like this should be paid the Minimum Wage.

They say that firstly the term "intern" has no meaning in terms of the regulations and that the only exception for "work experience" is where it involves a full time student on a required placement for their course.They also told me, firmly and unequivocally, that for a volunteer to be exempted as unpaid they must not be expected to turn up at any specific time or do any specific work and also that "as soon as you give them work you expect them to do they could claim the Minimum Wage as it becomes an employee/employer relationship". This also accords with the newly published guidance on the regulations which was highlighted in the Low Pay Commission report on the National Minimum Wage and which is now widely available.

Please note that it makes no difference whether a person agrees to work unpaid or not - it is not permissible for an employer to conspire to avoid payment in this way.

This is also not about the use of volunteers who might drop in to an office and agree to take part in campaigning, all of which can legally be unpaid. There is however a quantifiable and legally observed difference between that, and taking someone on who has been recruited to do specific work like this individual.

I have asked Rob Wilson about this, via his assistant, but he is not prepared to address this or check the regulations. At a time when the probity of public figures is such a live issue, this is somewhat surprising. However if he will not do it, might I suggest that you find out if what I am saying is accurate or not? The Minimum Wage helpline (0845 6000 678) would be more than happy to advise on this. If you make an enquiry as an employer and place the circumstances outlined in front of them and ask them whether someone taken on in this capacity should be paid, you may discover something that you may, or may not, wish to enlighten Rob Wilson about.

If you need any more details, please feel free to ask.
Working for: Rob Wilson MP (Reading East)
Salary: Unpaid
Details: Applications are invited for this Intern position, based in the constituency office of Rob Wilson MP, in Caversham, Reading.

This is an ongoing, unpaid internship position. Duties will include data entry, filing, answering telephone calls and general office assistance to Rob's Parliamentary Aide and Constituency Assistant.

The role will be ideally suited to someone who is looking for a future career in politics or Government, but lacks the essential office skills required by many paid, permanent roles.
Please do not apply if you are hoping to work in Westminster as this job is solely based in the constituency and offers no scope for travel to Westminster.

Closes: Friday, 22 May 2009, although we may appoint before the closing date if a suitable candidate is found.

Contact: Please apply via e-mail, with a covering letter and CV, to Craig Morley at website


Anonymous said...

Oh dear Liberals hire interns too - shock horror!!!

Intern/Campaigning Voluteer

working for
Jo Crotty, Parliamentary Candidate for Warrington South

Expenses only

Jo Crotty, PPC for Warrington South is looking for enthusiastic, hard working interns to join his campaign team. The role is an excellent chance to get first-hand knowledge of a Liberal Democrat campaign to win a Parliamentary seat

Duties will include street surgeries, canvassing and delivery; writing of press releases, leaflets and target mailings; printing and all other aspects of campaigning.

Sympathy with the aims and values of the Liberal Democrats is a requirement for this post; party membership is not.

1st June 2009

Please send a CV and covering letter to Cllr Jo Crotty,



Joint parliamentary and Constituency intership [SIC.]

working for
Lynne Featherstone MP (Hornsey and Wood Green)

Voluntary, with reasonable travel and lunch expenses covered

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, is looking to recruit a driven, enthusiastic and committed intern to work in both her Parliamentary and constituency offices.
Based half of the time in her parliamentary office, the intern will get the opportunity to get insight into Lynne’s parliamentary duties, help out with policy research and help her correspond with constituents on a range of policy issues.

For the other half, the successful candidate will be supporting Lynne’s caseworkers in her Hornsey based constituency office. The regular administrative load will be more than matched by the dynamic, advocacy based casework we perform on a daily basis for local people. Direct interaction with members of the public, and ongoing correspondence with local authorities and government departments, will become an integral part of your role.

The successful candidate requires the following skills:

Strong organisational skills
Not afraid to take initiative and work independently
Excellent communication skills - a good GCSE English pass or equivalent is essential.
Excellent customer service skills
Sympathy with Liberal Democrat policies. You don’t have to be a member, but you will be expected to understand Lib Dem policies and sympathise with their aims,
Serious Approach – you should be good at time-keeping and not afraid of hard work.
We are sympathetic to people’s situation and availability, but to get the most out of this opportunity; we would hope that you would be available full time for a three month period.

Wednesday the 27th May 2009 at 16.00

Please send your CV and a cover letter addressing specifically the points raised in skills required to:
No CVs without cover letters please – they will be ignored.


Anonymous said...

Tory provides value for money. What a shocker.

Was said...

Just putting into the public domain an email that has been sent to all local councillors... including the Tory ones.

And as for getting value for money from a Tory... I am glad that you agreee that it would be a shocker. See my earlier post about councillors' casework.