David Anderson 0

No exploitation postings

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We, the undersigned, note our objection to some of the adverts directed at current students and graduates of the London Film School via the LFS electronic message board. Our concerns focus on the consistent posts on the board from businesses and individuals who seek to use students or graduates for corporate projects and employment with little or no fee. These posts do not relate to genuine opportunities, rather cost cutting ventures by individuals and companies who seek to benefit from free or cheap labour. Frequently we find “opportunities” for corporate videos which provide little or no fee and even advertised "internships" which do not even offer expenses. We feel further investigation is necessary in these and other instances to clarify if labour laws are being contravened. As skilled students and graduates we feel that if we are doing work that’s of value to an employer, then we have the right to a minimum wage and the other entitlements which go with it. Whilst we recognise that students and graduates are often keen to build on their experience and add to their CV’s we feel that they should be protected from any exploitation. Young people will often accept unpaid work with the expectation that paid work will follow; many of the posts on our discussion board are for fixed short-term periods or one-off projects, which we feel are unlikely to lead to further employment. We believe that many of these companies contact The London Film School because of the reputation that the school has in producing highly skilled professionals and we should protect this by acknowledging that our students should be valued for the work they do. No student invests time and money in education to work for nothing. Moreover, many of us are excluded from these “opportunities” because we are not in a position where we can afford to work for free. Therefore such postings are not inclusive of all students and we consider the trend to exclude students because of their financial situation as unacceptable. The tendency of employers seeking to benefit from the labour of skilled individuals is unfair and unsustainable. Individually our opposition to these approaches is weak but together we are stronger and can defend our interests. We appeal to students' and trainees from other institutions to join us and set up a system of monitoring and cataloguing potential abuses. At the same time we wish to highlight that our objections are not aimed at struggling artists who wish to involve students in genuine projects where no fee or expenses may be forthcoming. Nor do we wish to discourage opportunities for genuine collaboration and encourage the continue facilitation of the LFS message board as a mechanism to generate contact. We believe that a more vigorous monitoring system must be implemented rather than allowing any posting on our message board. This goes hand in hand with seeking to clarify if laws are being contravened and we appeal to BECTU and other unions including the NUS to assist us in this work.

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