Letter: Fighting an Oppressive Mentality
Graduate Diploma Students Put Their Feet Down
We stand with over 30,000 students across Quebec who are presently on strike.
It is unfair for students to not to be remunerated for their work in an industry that is known to be competitive and demanding. Paying interns helps level the field for all students, regardless of their social or financial status.
For many students, adding unpaid work to an already demanding schedule of studying and earning a living is simply not feasible. Only the financially privileged are able to partake in unpaid internships, as they can afford to work without pay. Students who are financially-able get to learn invaluable skills, while others miss out.
We believe that all students should have equal access to internships. We believe that it is hypocritical for an industry that stands for the public good to not treat their interns with respect by offering them compensation for their work. We believe it is detrimental to our future to partake in unpaid labour, as it is opportunistic and oppressive.
In many parts of the world, it is mandatory that workplaces pay their interns. We consider these standards to be the exemplars of what we expect from all internship programs in Quebec.
We stand with over 30,000 students across Quebec who are presently on strike, demanding that all internships be remunerated. All interns should be paid at least minimum wage, and all interns should be protected under the Quebec labour code.
It is reasonable to ask that interns have the same rights and the same compensation as employees do when they are doing the same job. The idea that journalists should be willing to work for free starts with unpaid internships. This mentality contributes to a system where precarious working conditions have become the norm for young journalists. This is a toxic attitude in our profession which needs to end, and it begins with paying interns.