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"The Sandwich demonstration"

Interns protest against unfair internship conditions in Brussels

Today Wednesday July 17, Brussels interns will protest in front of the European Parliament in Luxembourg Square from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

They wish to raise awareness of their poor working conditions and what they consider unfair remuneration, with certain interns being paid, others underpaid and some not receiving any compensation for their work.

The protest, created by BXL Intern, a group aiming to raise awareness about unfair internship conditions in Brussels, is organised through a Facebook page which states “Have you ever felt unpaid, underpaid or undervalued in an internship? When did you last have something else other than a sandwich for lunch?!

The protests organisers explain how the economic crisis should not lead to inappropriate conditions in the internship system which, they say, could cause young professionals to lose their passion. They believe that these poor conditions can create “a negative perception of the value of their work.”

The interns also wish to raise awareness on behalf of people who are unable to accept an unpaid or low-paid internship, as they do not have the financial means (such as parental support) to sustain themselves. The group claims this creates social inequality as talented people are forced to turn down potentially great, unpaid, offers.

These types of allegedly exploitative, unpaid internships are often justified by companies, saying interns gain experience and sometimes credits for courses at school. Although these benefits might sometimes occur, it is not always the case. Several websites have erupted, such as Intern Black List, where the creators of the site list internships which do not respect Belgium internship laws. A survey has also been created on the internship conditions within the European parliament by the Youth Intergroup.

Source: euronews

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