无薪学生工作岗位应被取消

山姆·斯科特(Sam Scott)问道,大学的道德规范要求他们自己支付实习生的工资,但为什么他们让学生无薪工作数月

十二月 4, 2020
An intern sighs
Source: iStock

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在英国首相支持该国努力弥补允许人们长期无薪工作的漏洞后,无薪实习终于在英国得到了迫切需要的审查。

目前正在议会审议的《无薪工作(禁令)条例草案》(Unpaid Work Experience (Prohibition) Bill)试图将无薪工作限制在四个星期之内,理由是——正如2017年泰勒对现代工作实践的审查所指出的那样 ——“无薪实习是雇主滥用权力的体现并极大地损害了社会流动性”。

我衷心同意这一观点。但令我惊讶的是,学生的实习被排除在这项拟议的立法之外。

我当然不反对学生在大学期间获得工作经验,并且我接受长达一个月的无薪实习。但是,无论在英国还是在国外,都应始终支付长期的实习费用。我是作为工作实习模块的导师来发表看法的,负责监督长期实习(有时是无薪的)是我职责的一部分。

众所周知,剥削很难定义,正如我在写关于剥削的著作时发现的那样。但是,许多读者会意识到国际劳工组织的11种行之有效的强迫劳动指标。其中扣留工资、债务束缚和滥用脆弱性这3项可以适用于负债累累的、免费工作12个月的学生,而他们只是希望这能有助于在事业上有所建树。因此,未付薪水的实习似乎具有剥削性。

当然,英国学生在从事长期无薪工作经验的同时仍可以获取收入相关的维持贷款,但许多人仍在财务上陷入困境。例如,教育慈善机构萨顿信托基金会(Sutton Trust)估计,在伦敦接受无薪实习的花销为每月1093英镑;而在当前的学年中,学生最多可以借贷11672英镑的生活费。

此外,学生在入读大学期间仍需支付(尽管有所减少)费用。许多大学试图通过贫困基金提供部分助学金来缓解这种财务不稳定的状况:这是值得称赞的行动,但它却说明了更广泛的问题。

我没有看到令人信服的理由说明长期无偿工作是好事,除了认为学生应该自由选择承担义务的论点。但是,由于选择通常是在财务和个人情况有限的情况下做出的,这个观点不攻自破了。正如泰勒报告非常清楚地表明的那样,如果不是每个人都能负担得起的话,提供这种选择是不公平的。

有趣但也令人沮丧的是,我无法从国家学生联合会或学生办公室找到任何有关长期无薪学生实习的最新数据或意见文章。专注于工作的博客和期刊也没有太多话要说:也许此类情况就是这样在人们眼皮底下发生的?

大学有责任照顾学生;可以说,促进长期无偿实习会损害这一点。毕竟,出于道德原因,大学通常不会在自己的组织中提供长期的无薪工作岗位,并且他们经常在政策层面上警告这些组织。

特别是在史无前例的经济危机时期,存在这样一种危险,即更多的雇主将诉诸于要求学生免费工作,而其他人将随之而来。

重要的是,大学不要助长这样的竞赛,只有那些提供有偿职位的大学才能得到提拔和支持。同时,至少由于上述原因,必须要求那些提供长期无薪实习的公司重新考虑,或者更好的是,将这些公司集体排除在大学项目之外。

毕竟,由疫情引起的经济危机也将使政府升级议程的焦点更加突出,这完全是为了促进社会流动,特别是在贫困地区。在这种情况下,长期、无偿、无法负担的实习越来越显得过时了。现在是有目的地努力消除它们的时候了。

萨姆·斯科特(Sam Scott)是格罗斯特郡大学(University of Gloucestershire)人文地理学的高级讲师,也是《劳动剥削和基于工作的危害》的作者,该书于2017年由政治出版社(Polity Press)出版。

本文由张万琪为泰晤士高等教育翻译。

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Reader's comments (4)

"I have seen no convincing case for long-term periods of unpaid work beyond the argument that students should be free to choose undertake them." How about this? Forcing ALL placements to be paid might reduce the number of placement opportunities because not all employers can afford to pay them. Especially with all the economic crisis that the lockdown has produced. Giving students a choice makes better sense than a 'one size fits all' solution. It is also interesting to me that you think the duty of care of universities for students is all about money... it is not. If it were, all volunteer work would be exploitative too.
Nobody should be forced to work for free. But nobody is actually being forced to work for free. If somebody agrees to this, it's their own fault. When I was a student, I chose to do only a single internship - and negotiated that the employer would at least provide accommodation and a public transport pass for the duration of the internship, a deal that worked for both of us. What I don't get is why everybody seems to want to hold universities responsible for the bad choices their customers are making in relation to third-party businesses. Duty of care is a construct that shouldn't exist in the market for adult higher education.
"What I don't get is why everybody seems to want to hold universities responsible..." This is because they cannot blame the customer, can they? The customer is always right. This is true for politicians too, as these customers (and their nagging parents) are (future) potential voters. Add to that the widespread anti-intellectualism in the UK and beyond, and the ideological faultlines within HE (just think of the acticist academics who make it their mission to carry all the worlds' burdens upon their own shoulders), and you have in universities (and schools to some extent) an easy target and bogeyman for all sorts of systemic/structural problems that the press, politicians and public love to whack as an Ersatz activity.
*activist (please provide an edit function THE)