End unpaid internships – Ní Riada

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has urged the Irish Government to end unpaid internships.

The Ireland South MEP was speaking after the EU Culture and Education Committee, of which she is a member, supported a number of similar amendments regarding EU Programmes.

The amendments addressed the issue of accessibility to EU Programmes and the cost of education and unpaid internships and apprenticeships.

“I am delighted that these amendments passed as they address a real and prevalent problem for young people, particularly those new to the workplace,” she said.

“All too often we see internship or apprenticeship programmes being used to take advantage of and exploit young people by making them work for free.

“Corporations have been known to take advantage of these programmes by letting paid staff go in order to replace them with staff who work without pay. Essentially, we see rolling internships as substitutes to full time employees.

“This is bad for current workers and bad for the young people being exploited.

“We remember the scandal that was Jobsbridge, where many young unemployed people were taken advantage of to the benefit of profitable companies.

“We do not want any EU Programmes to turn into a comparable, European style Jobsbridge and we will do everything we can to ensure that programmes being promoted under the banner of assisting young people, actually do assist young people.

“We will continue to insist that any internship or apprenticeship programme shall provide paid placements and will lead to long term meaningful and sustainable employment. This is an example the Irish Government should follow.”

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