The NUJ has condemned the auctioning of work experience placements to raise funds for the Conservative Party, which was exposed by the Mail on Sunday at the weekend.
A fortnight's work experience on Tatler magazine was among a range of internships auctioned for £4,000 at the Conservative's fund raising Black and White Party.
NUJ deputy general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (top) said: “Internships should be open to all, not the preserve of a wealthy few. The fact that they are being auctioned to raise funds for a political party is obscene. Such a disgusting practice simply perpetuates privilege and inequality.
“Is this what is meant by the Big Society – only the wealthy need apply?”
The NUJ's London Freelance Branch is running a Cashback for Interns campaign to try and ensure that young people taking on work experience are not exploited, and are paid for their labour.
“The NUJ is playing its part in the campaign to bring exploitative employers to book," said Stanistreet. "We are using minimum wage legislation and other legal means to steadily change the internship culture from one of exploitation to one of genuine learning opportunities.”
- The Tory auction of work experience placements was also criticised by Andrew Neil on his BBC blog.